Five Routes to Run in Westport
If you fancy a quick 5k on an even surface, the Westport Greenway is just perfect. The route is also lit up at nighttime, which is a great plus.
Also known as The Old Railway Line Walk, the beautiful tree-lined Westport Greenway is 2.5km long – by doubling back to your starting point you’ll achieve your 5k. It runs between Westport’s two urban areas, the town centre and The Quay – which means that you can always choose to break up your run with a coffee and a cheeky slice of cake… Sure, won’t you be running off the calories on your way back?
Click here for a map of this popular route, which starts at Altamont Street in the town: http://www.westportsmartertrav...
For those who’d like a longer run of around 8k, start at the end of the Westport Greenway at The Quay and take the road to the left (the L5840). This route will take you alongside the sea and through one of Westport’s poshest neighbourhoods. Gasp at the majestic Clew Bay to your right, wonder at Clare Island straight ahead and ooh and aah at the lovely homes and gardens you’ll see along the way.
Jog passed the Sheebeen pub (or nip in for a restorative coffee), and after ka ilometre or so the road will veer sharply to the left, away from the coast, and fork. Take the right fork, and follow it up to the main R335 coast road. Here, you can choose to follow the road back the way you came to the Quay, or take a left and head back to town along the main road. If you choose the latter, remember totake care on this busy road, which you’ll be on for around 3.5k. On reaching the top of the R335, you can jump onto Western Greenway (at the skate park) and run back down to where you started at the Quay, to make a loop.
Nothing quite beats the beach for a run – and a serious work out. Unless you’re a real glutton for punishment though, you’ll want to hit the sand when it’s firmer, so do check the tides before you head off, and aim for low tide.
Old Head near Louisburgh is perfect for pounding the sand – just head right along the strand from the car park and start running towards Croagh Patrick! At the end of the beach, do a lap around the big rock for luck, then head back towards the car park with the sea keeping you company on your right.
Closer-to-home Bertra Beach offers sure-footed runners the option of a stunning workout that takes in a fabulous silver strand (when the tide is out) as well as more-challenging machair dunes. This picturesque peninsula shoots straight out to sea with Croagh Patrick as its dramatic backdrop. Mind that it doesn’t take your breath away.
A lovely 4k loop where runners can breath in the oxygen-rich air of the forest while admiring one of the largest remaining examples of the ancient woodland that once blanketed much of Ireland. The sounds of this unique forest cancel out the need for headphones … tune into the babbling of the Owenwee River and the singing of the birds instead. Bliss. And hey, if you need some motivation to go faster, just pretend you’re Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham is on your tail.
To find Brackloon woods, head 7km south of Westport, out the Leenane Road (N59). Take the turn marked Owenwee Kennels and keep right at the fork. Pass Brackloon National School school, and keep following the road as it curves to the right. Soon the entrance to Brackloon will pop up on your right – look out for the wooden gates.
For those who like a social element to their run, why not try Westport’s Parkrun? Every Saturday morning at 9.30am, this friendly open group gathers to run 5k on the above-mentioned Westport Greenway.
While it’s free to take part, runners who want to keep track of their times need to register with Parkrun first and get a barcode. This is not a competitive thing though, as everyone takes part for their own enjoyment only, and all are welcome, no matter what their pace or fitness level. The run is entirely organised by volunteers – to find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org. After each run, everyone is invited to grab a post-Parkrun coffee in a local café. A great way to meet the locals!