Each day there is a 10km and a 20km road walk. These walks are non-competitive and appeal to groups and individuals. Route maps are shown here on the left.Arrows in the colour of the day (Thursday – Pink | Friday – Yellow | Saturday – Green | Sunday – Orange) are painted along the routes to guide the walkers and there are control points and drinks provided on each walk.
Although these routes are on Castlebar's country roads and "boreens" we have to be ever mindful of road safety. High visibility vests are provided for each walker at the starting point and these vests must be worn until the walker returns and checks back in at the Registration Desk.
Disclaimer: Walkers participate in this event entirely at their own risk. No responsibility can be accepted by landowners or the event organisers for any loss, damage or injury sustained during the Castlebar International 4 Days' Walks.
While we all love our 4-legged friends, no dogs are allowed on the 4 Days' Walks!
Thursday’s two walks (10km and 20km) are dominated by the historical events of 1798. In that year General Humbert, a French Officer, landed with a 1,000 men in Kilcummin in North Mayo. The routes retrace the footsteps of these men as they moved through the mountainous terrain on a night that was remembered for its heavy rains and lightening flashes that lit up the surrounding countryside. As the grey dawn was breaking on the plains beneath them it was the morning of their most famous battle – The Races of Castlebar.
On a clear day on the 10km and 20km walk the walker is rewarded with a spectacular view of Croagh Patrick, known locally as ‘The Reek’. This is Ireland’s holy mountain where St. Patrick spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting on the summit. On the last Sunday in July thousands of people follow the Pilgrim Path to the tiny chapel at the top. The mountain is also associated with the much-waked Tochar Phadraig, another pilgrim path from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick that dates back to pre-Christian times.
Both these routes (10km and 20km) follow the Turlough Road out of Castlebar. The 10km walk turns left after 1.8km, passing Tucker’s Lake. When the water levels fall, the remains of a crannog are clearly visible. This indicates early habitation. The crannog was an artificial island dwelling, built by early settlers. Its purpose was protective and the lake provided a natural moat.
At the heart of these two walks (10km and 20km) is Derrynadivva (Oak wood of the cow). Today the bos is windswept and bare, but pollen analysis studies have revealed that in a warm stage during the ice age the area was heavily forested. Fir, spruce and pine all grew there with an understory of Rhododendron and various Mediterranean heather species, most of which are rare in Ireland today. Leaving the bog behind, the track follows the edge of Lough Rusheen – a mirror-like lake that reflects a private landscape. It is distinguished by its lonely setting, tall buff reeds which grow along the edge, and swans, sacred to Irish mythology.