Flagstaff to Carlingford (c)

Flagstaff to Carlingford (c)

Race 5 in the NIMRA Championship
Category: Medium
Distance: 11 miles
Climbing: 3000 feet

Race Route

The race follows the ridge of the Cooley mountains to Slieve Foye and hence Carlingford. The route is about 11 miles long, with 3000 feet of climb and takes from 1hr 30 min to 4 hours.

Start: about 150 metres up the road from the track entrance GR 112194
Anglesey Mt 104176
Clermont 099171
Black Mountain 099158
Carnavaddy Mountain(Cairn) 113139
Windy Gap 131136
Slieve Foye 169120
Carlingford (lane into main street) 188116


1. All entries will be taken at the car park in Carlingford from 9am until departure of the bus at 10.30am. (No entries will be accepted at the start)

2. The entry fee is £10. There is no extra charge for the bus. Food will be provided at the finish in the local Hall.

3. All entrants must satisfy the organisers that they are properly equipped for the race ie., Map*/compass and whistle must be carried. Protective clothing (top/bottoms minimum) must be carried. Emergency food eg., bar of chocolate/raisons/nuts etc must be carried. * Maps will be available at £1 each.

4. There will be a strictly enforced cut-off time at the Windy Gap. This has been set at 1 hour 45 minutes after the start.

5. Runners abandoning the race must report to the organisers or forfeit the right ever to run in the race again.

6. Advice given by stewards must be heeded at all times.

Archaeological monuments

If you are pre-viewing the route you may be interested in the following:

Along the route of the Flagstaff to Carlingford Mountain Race The most famous monument in the area is Clontygora Court Tomb, Grid Ref 098 194, over 6000 years old) situated near the Flagstaff view point which is not that far from where the race originally started in 1980. Unlike a lot of other ancient monuments, Clontygora Court Tomb hasn’t been completely destroyed by stone robbers and builders although many of it’s stones were removed to build the lock on the Newry Canal.

Checkpoint 3 on the summit of Black Mountain – grid reference 098 157 – is called Clermont Cairn after a local 19th Century landlord of fairly ill repute but the correct name is Carn na breid naire – the heap of shamed stones. It’s a much ruined passage tomb over 4500 years old. There are lots of other sites of interest near this cairn including Lissachiggel (the fort of the rye) which is an old circular stone – built village enclosure containing foundations of stone huts. Then there is the Cadgers’ Road a path along which herring fishermen from Omeath more than 100 years ago carried creels of fish loaded on donkeys.

Checkpoint 4 on Carnavaddy Mountain – grid reference 113 138 – is another 4500 year old tomb named after the burial place of Finn’s dog Bran – Carnavaddy translates as the Hound’s Cairn.

Checkpoint 5 is near ‘the Long woman’s grave’ and the site of another destroyed court cairn – it was destroyed during road building operations when the stones were used as road foundations. There is a very romantic but sad story about this site associated with Lorcan O’Hanlon one of the O’Hanlon sept of South Armagh who married a Spanish lady of high position. When O’Hanlon brought her to the Windy Gap to show her his vast estates of which he had boasted she fainted and died from the shock at the sight of the barren bogs and mountains all around.

Of course the finish of the race is in Carlingford which is full of Norman remains including the 13th Century Castle dating from 1210 popularly known as King John’s Castle but built originally by Hugh De Lacy sometime before the arrival of King John. However Carlingford has many more historic monuments dating from this period and later and of course there is a local tradition that St Patrick landed here on his 2nd visit to Ireland and also went from here to preach on the Isle of Man.

Note: The forest path halfway around will be out of bounds this year. Those who use it know the path I am talking about. This will be announced at the race briefing.

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