West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Hikers prepare for Sperrins Challenge

Published: 21 April, 2012

Republicans are preparing to scale the highest peaks of Counties Derry and Tyrone in a 12 mile trek over the Sperrin Mountains on Saturday 5th May to mark the 25th anniversary of the Loughgall ambush. On 8th May 1987, 8 IRA men and a civilian were killed in an SAS ambush in the Co. Armagh village.

The mountain hike is being organized by the Sinn Féin as part of a programme of events to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Loughgall Martyrs. The other events include a memorial lecture in the Ryandale, Moy on 7th May at 8pm and a commemoration at the Republican monument in Cappagh on 8th May at 7pm.

One of those taking part is Strabane Councillor, Jay Mc Cauley:
'This is the second year of the Sperrins Challenge. Last year we dedicated it to the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strikers so it is fitting that this year's event will take place on the anniversary of Bobby Sands.

'The path chosen consists of 9 peaks, in memory of the 9 men who lost their lives on that fateful evening at Loughgall. The peaks include Sawel (678 mtrs) which is the highest point in Co. Derry and Mullaghclogha (635 mtrs) which is the highest point in Co. Tyrone. Participants can opt out at a 5 mile staging post, or continue the 12 mile hike back to Aughabrack.

'I took part in the climb last year and found it an amazing experience and although exhausted, all of the participants had a glowing sense of satisfaction. The walkers consisted of young, old, experienced and inexperienced but everyone did it at their own pace and everyone was united in a strong sense of camaraderie and friendship.

Another participant in last year's challenge was Glenelly Cllr Dan Kelly: 'The route straddles in and out of counties Tyrone and Derry.

'On a fine day and given the high altitude, walkers can see as far as Derry city, East Tyrone, County Armagh and across Lough Neagh, the city of Belfast is visible.

'From reading about the lives and likes of the men who were killed at Loughgall, all of them were self disciplined and had a deep appreciation of our beautiful country and its people.

'As such, this is a very fitting way to combine a health and fitness challenge with an event to commemorate the sacrifice of the Loughgall Martyrs as we approach the 25th anniversary of their deaths'.

People can register on-line to do the challenge and on the morning of the event participants are required to check in at Aughabrack (mid way between Plumbridge and Dunamanagh) between 8am and 10am and from there they will be transported to the starting point.

For exact details of the terrain and to register, log on to www.sperrinschallenge.com.