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2004-01-27 Long Beach walks

One of the finest soul-refreshing views in Sligo can be inhaled from the 13th Tee on Rosses Point Golf Course. From Wrynne Point, one can see all of Sligo Bay from Lissadell past Raughley across to the Lighthouse and back to Deadman's.

 

Of course you will be very unpopular if you trespass on the golf course itself, so be sure to admire Wrynne Point Greens spectacular view from well inside the rough.

 

Two of my favourite longer walks in our county almost circumnavigate the two Links courses near the town. Since as far back as I can remember I have enjoyed walks down by the Back Rosses. I have witnessed the coastline change dramatically over the years, and I believe I may still be around to take a walk through what may become continuous sandhills stretching from the Back Strand to Lissadell.


 

If visiting for the first time, the Back Strand is a little tricky to find. Once past Cregg House, take a left turn, drive a mile or so, and then it is probably best to ask a local for the turn off to the right which brings you to the expansive Back Rosses. On arrival, the first panorama before you extends beyond Drumcliffe to Glencar Valley, taking in all of the Kings Mountain. The remnants of Billy Boyers fences are still at the Back Rosses since my fathers time, and what a stunning back-drop Billy must have had as he exercised his race-horses here. Today, this sandy grassy expanse is a favourite area to exercise dogs, or for kite and model airplane enthusiasts, and for those who simply want a brief break from the trials of daily life.


 

From here, one can walk either on the strand, or high above through the sandhills following the coastline to Wrynne Point, and then down to the rocks which meet the second strand at Rosses Point. From here, most of us ought to know the walk back to the Rosses Point carpark, and so, at Wrynne Point you have two choices, either ask your walking companion to return for the car and meet you at the Point carpark, or else return together.

At the other side of the town is an even longer walk, which also almost circumnavigates a Links course, and offers a different but equally spectacular vista. Walking from Strandhill around to Culleenamore offers an unrivalled view of the South Sligo coastline from Aughris across to the other side of the Lighthouse. Both walks boast commanding views of Sligos two trademark mountains. When the tide is out at Strandhill one can see clearly the indents and hollows in the sand, reminding us that extreme care needs to be taken when swimming there. From Mussel Point, it is only a short distance across to Portavaud and Dromard.

The sandhills at Strandhill cover a vast acreage, and are some of the most impressively expansive in the county. I remember hiding and seeking for hours here in my youth and dying dramatically, having been fatally shot repeatedly by cowboys. This is a longer walk than the one from the Back Strand to the Point, and due to it being more exposed, the seascape can often be very dramatic, and the walk can be bracing. Once around the corner, one can see tranquil Culleenamore in the distance. This is where again you need to convince your walking companion to go back for the car and bring it around to Culleenamore. I always preferred this more colourful view of Knocknarea, the forested side with the rock faces and scree slopes, and Maeves nipple just out of sight. The sand from here to Culleenamore can be a little soft underfoot, so probably best that your walk takes you closer to the shoreline. If you are lucky enough to have a dog, this is his/her chance to go a bit wild and have a great free run. Just watch for pony-trekkers and again, do not trespass on the golf-course here either. I remember trekking from McGarrys Riding School in Carrowmore down to Culleenamore beach on an old grey called Major, and on another occasion on Tanya (a brunette, as I remember).

I know everyone in Sligo knows Rosses Point and Strandhill intimately, but some of you may not be aware of these longer walks.

So, New Year&on your marks&healthy lifestyle&get set&two long spectacular fat-burning walks on your doorstep&Go!