On Monday the plan was to make the journey from Kilmacrennan Station to Barnes Halt. The day was good and we progressed to the end of the Bridge over the road in Barnes.
My fellow walker was Dermot Kelly, a grandson of the late Dr JP Mc Ginley - the doctor at the scene of the Owencarrow Viaduct Disaster in 1925. He stressed the great potential the abandoned track would have for tourists and locals alike for walking or cycling.
Grassroutes an electric bike hire facility based at the Craoibhin Community and Enterprise Centre in Termon, is harnessing that potential. Grassroutes aim is to enable tourists to explore the beautiful landscapes of County Donegal on bicycle. Grassroutes provide both Electric and Hybrid bikes so tourists can go at their own pace through designated trails and experience the wonderful scenery within this county for themselves.
The designated routes on offer include the Glenveagh National Park Trail, Errigal and Derryveagh Mountain Trail, Fanad Head Trail, Glendowan Trail and Downings Trail.
The business started on 1 June 2013 with 15 bikes in Glenveagh National Park, and has since grown to 100 bikes. With funding from Leader through DLDC, a total of 35 electric bikes and 70 hybrid bikes are now available to hire for an hour , a day or a week.
Besides all of the above staff at Grassroutes are also working with local councillors and T.D., Joe McHugh to get funding to reopen the railway track from Letterkenny to Burtonport as a walking cycling track, along the lines of the Greenway in Mayo.
Many local people have a wealth of knowledge of what happened at such places as the Derryveagh evictions site, and tourists love to hear all the stories, and to take time to soak up the area. A young local lad recalled every so often a train would steam past with five or six red carriages that would be full of pilgrims from Derry making the excursion trip to Kilmacrennan. Derry folk travelled the 74-mile return journey to pray at Doon Well.