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Quality Walk

Craignamaddy Circuit

Craignamaddy Circuit travels through a particularly scenic part of the Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural Beatuty. The route offers stunning views of Glenelly and the Owenkillew Valley. With heather clad hills, tranquil valleys and a rich cultural heritage the Sperrin Mountains await your discovery.




12.8 miles

OS Map

Sheet 13

Nearest Town

Plumbridge and Gortin

Route Shape


Route Type



Minor roads and off road tracks

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

Barnes (Gap) Glenelly and Vinegar Hill

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Route Description

Start from Barnes car park in Glenelly and follow the finger post across the road, taking the second road on the right and proceeding uphill. At the next t-junction turn right, leading to the top of the Gap. Just over the brow of the hill a left turn leads to a track that contours Mullaghbolig.

Continue on this track and descend into the Owenkillew Valley via a farmyard below Vinegar Hill. From the farmyard turn right towards Scotch Town then follow the marker going right uphill for about 1km.

On meeting the Magherabrack Road turn right again, a short distance on the marker points left to a track contouring Mullaghbane.

The route then meanders on for some 5km amd turns right just past Glentrina Bridge on to a hill track. This track climbs Craignamaddy Hill and gives magniicent views of the Owenkillew Valley and Glenelly. The 1.5 km descent from the crest leads down to Glenelly and the Landahussy Road turn right at the marker post. Follow the markers ahead for another 2.5km to finish the circuit at Barnes.

Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Translink - journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

Getting to the Start (by Car)

Barnes is signposted 2.5 miles from Plumbridge on the B47 road to Draperstown.

Barnes is also signposted 2 miles from Gortin on the B46.

Accessibility Grade

Grade 5


Shops and accommodation available in both Plumbridge and Gortin.



Publication Availability


Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
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Ratings and Comments

P.K. Master Walker 3 March, 2019 @ 20:35

Enjoyed the walk. Could not find the parking therefore decided to park beside the road. At the end, while approaching my car, realised that the parking is just on front of me; unmarked.

Took my dog with me; if your dog is well behaved as mine, most of the time there is no need of keeping him/her on the leash. The very first 30 minutes or so we so loads of sheep, therefore leash was a necessity, afterwords, as it was Sunday’s dead traffic - Leash was off.

The trails is pretty well marked, besides maybe one spot where I was wondering about direction. If uncertain - just ask locals, which are very helpful and friendly. Took me about 4h to complete the entire trail. Beautiful country scenery.

Peter Barr 26 February, 2018 @ 21:17

Good walk. Hard work if your unfit. Great scenery and fantastic views. Beautiful part of the north of Ireland that I've never seen before. Happy I went. There's a landslide across the path 2-3 mile from the start/finish which fun to navigate :-). I 'll go back to the Sperrins again this year.

Stewart Ramsey 17 December, 2016 @ 20:54

Did this walk, less the Vinegar Hill loop, 9 1/2 miles, with six friends on Dec 1st. 2012. This is a super walk, particularly suited for winter as the underfoot conditions, good tracks and minor roads are, to a large extent, weather proof. The views throughout are excellent. One minor criticism is that some of the route signs could easily be missed and some of them were missing the circular metal plaques containing the route information.

Tess 6 November, 2015 @ 18:19

Great walk but signs missing from part of course so we missed alot of walk and done a 6 mile circuit which we still enjoy given the wet eeather

Rob 29 May, 2015 @ 09:44

We did this walk on a blustery day. Great views. Great walk. Thanks to one of the comments here we were able to cut off the Vinegar Hill loop but still enjoyed the Craignamaddy circuit. To do the cut-off, simply follow the Ulster Way straight on when the Vinegar hill loop cuts left at the second intersection. Stick with the Ulster Way until the Craignamaddy loop rejoins it a mile or so along. It's obvious why this is a top-rated walk in Ireland.

Mike 15 July, 2014 @ 17:17

Excellent walk though some stunning countryside, plenty to see throughout and as others have said good mixture of roads and tracks. I tried to follow the Central Sperrin Way back over Craignamaddy but soon gave up and retraced my steps as the track becomes too wet to walk comfortably.

Tom 27 August, 2013 @ 18:48

Superb walk. Very quiet and peaceful bit of countryside. We saw birds of prey, grouse and rabbits, along with endless smaller birds. I measured the walk with a gps device and it seemed a littler longer than stated on this website. A lot of the walk is on smaller roads. Awesome scenery down a few of the valleys. No massive need for waterproof boots on this one. Very good quailty tracks and roads. Well signposted as well

Moira Burns & Nigel Kelly 31 July, 2013 @ 21:09

Would highly recommend this walk. Stunning views, a great variety of terrain. A sign at the crossroads after leaving the farmyard would verify the correct route. A very pleasant farmer hopped out of his tractor cab to point out the route on our map. We loved every step, did not see a soul, the peace, serenity and beauty of the landscape made it one of the loveliest walks I have done.

Denis and Nigel 11 June, 2013 @ 08:05

Did this walk on Sunday last in beautiful sunshine. From the moment you step out of the car to the end of the walk there is a real sense of being in very unspoiled pastoral countryside. Very easy underfoot and well signed. A really enjoyable walk, highly recommended.

Martin McAlinden 25 February, 2013 @ 12:42

This is a walk I'd been meaning to do for some time, and finally got round to yesterday. I cut out the Vinegar Hill loop portion of the walk, which is a good idea if you don't fancy tackling the entrie route but still starting and finishing at Barnes car park. Lovely scenery throughoutt he walk, you barely notice the time or distance. I especially enjoyed the glimpses of the Bluestack Mountains in Donegal on the section leading to Glentrina Bridge, and the views across to the high Sperrins and down to the Glenelly Valley on the hillside of Craignamaddy itself. This is also the most remote part of the walk. Much of the walk is on minor roads but they're so quiet you'd barely see a car. The final section of the walk back to the car park is a bit tiring but still has pleasing views across the valley, incuding the pretty Badoney Church. One of the best walks in the Sperrins.

Rachel Mcmichael 13 July, 2012 @ 20:16

I did this walk today and luckily I got amazing weather. The views over the sperrins were amazing and the path was very well maintained. Easy on the feet. Loved it.

Darren GIddins 9 July, 2012 @ 09:48

This is the best walk I have yet done in Northern Ireland. I agree completely about way-marking at the crossroads. I went straight ahead and therefore incurred another mile or so extra, although it was still beautiful walking through Gorticashel lower.

The views throughout the whole walk are stunning. I did not see one person apart from a friendly farmer. The highlight must be the view across the Owenkillew valley and what appeared to be the Blue stack mountains in the distance of Donegal and the 'wild' ponies feeding on the land either side of Glentrina bridge.

david 25 September, 2010 @ 16:47

It is 2.5miles to the sign for Barnes from Plumbridge not 1.5miles. More signage especially when you leave the farmyard and at the next cross roads would be helpful. Great walk and brillant views

Chris and Samantha 15 July, 2010 @ 14:56

Great walk through pretty scenery. The circuit is well signposted for the most part, though it's worth noting that the first time you get stuck at a crossroads, you need to take a right. That's at the top of the first hill you climb but the route as described here doesn't take it into account.

Other than that there are working farms throughout with friendly animals and good views, though sadly we weren't lucky enough to get a clear day. The final descent is quite steep and may be rough on gammy knees and suchlike. We'd also guess that it is a shade further than the 12.5 miles advertised here.

Overall, a lovely walk which we fully recommend.

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