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OUTDOORS Walk of the month – Lough Lannagh

Outdoor Living
Lough Lannagh map

A country escape in our county town

Cathleen Fergus

Lough Lannagh
Total Distance: 1km   
Estimated Time: 20 mins to 1hr
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Trail Surface: Walking path
Minimum Gear: Runners, shoes/raingear
Directions: Follow signs for Lough Lannagh/Lough Lannagh Holiday Village

The Lough Lannagh Loop in Castlebar is more than just a walk. It’s a small-scale bronze sculpture trail revealing Castlebar’s recent and distant past. It’s also a trail that is designed to plays tricks with the mind: Look through any of the four onsite installations dotted along the loop, and on a quiet day when you think you’re alone, think again. You may just stumble across a teddy bear’s picnic, be brought back to the 1920s or wander onto a fashion show.
It’s also a wonderful public amenity rich in wildlife, habitat and diversity and to savour it all, one can walk, jog, Nordic walk or run on a top-class trail surface that’s also buggy friendly.
The loop can be accessed through Lough Lannagh Holiday village. Park up and head down past the conference centre on your left and you are on the trail. Take a left and continue across the pedestrian bridge that makes this loop possible. Then enter a land of outdoor gym equipment for those hardy souls who want more of a workout. Alternatively, park at Aldi and go from there.
The trail meanders back around the lake and can be done in 20 minutes or an hour, depending on the weather and your mood!

Scenic bridge

Plans are afoot to link Lough Lannagh to Islandeady and eventually onto the Westport Cycle Network and the Great Western Greenway. During the summer, the government announced that a €12.5 million National Outdoor Pursuits Academy would be built in the area, which would see Lough Lannagh become a centre of excellence in outdoor pursuit’s education and training.
The activities include kayaking, canoeing, orienteering, flat-water slalom and wheelchair-accessible fishing. It’s beginning to look like the lake is finally getting the attention it deserves..

Cathleen Fergus works for South West Mayo Development Company as Rural Recreation Officer. Her job includes the design, development and promotion of walking and cycling trails. She can be contacted at living@mayonews.ie.