Ulster Way

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Ulster Way
Ulster Way, August 2009.JPG
Ulster Way sign near Strangford, August 2009.
Length 625 miles (1,006 kilometres)[1]
Location Northern Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Trailheads Belfast
Use Hiking
Hiking details
Season Any
Sights Mourne Mountains, Fermanagh lakeland, Sperrin Mountains, Giant's Causeway
Surface Mountain, field and cliff paths; roads.
Website www.walkni.com/ulsterway/

The Ulster Way is a series of walking routes which encircle the Irish province of Ulster. It was founded in the 1970s by Wilfrid Merydith Capper,[2][3] who was inspired by Tom Stephenson's Pennine Way.[4][5] The route was relaunched in 2009 by the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland).

Most of the trail lies within Northern Ireland, the remainder being in the Republic of Ireland. The path visits many places of interest including the Mourne Mountains, Giant's Causeway, Cavehill and the Sperrins. Most of the sections are clearly sign-posted.


Signing on the shore of Belfast Lough in Holywood.

Wilfrid Capper developed the idea for the Ulster Way in 1946, as a waymarked trail that would pass through the six counties of Northern Ireland, linking 15 youth hostels which were in place at the time.[3] Once implemented, this original route stretched for 665 miles.[3]

Towards the end of the 20th century, large sections of the trail fell into disrepair or were "lost" due to increased car traffic on some of the road sections, and ambiguity of ownership and land access rights.[6]

In April 2003, Environment Minister Angela Smith MP announced a project to improve and maintain the Ulster Way.[7] A new route was agreed in early 2009.[3] The new route was officially opened on 16 September 2009. This revised route is 625 miles;[5][8] the first people to hike the entire revised route are thought to be schoolboys Matthew Hoper and Simon Harris, who completed it between 28 June and 4 August 2010.[9]


  1. ^ "The Ulster Way". Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland). Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Wilfrid Merydith Capper (1905 - 1998): Countryside Campaigner". Dictionary of Ulster Biography. Ulster History Circle. Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d "History of the Ulster Way - From Concept to Realisation". Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland. Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Presenter: Clare Balding (2007-03-02). "The Ulster Way". Ramblings. BBC Radio 4. 
  5. ^ a b "New Province-wide walking route launched". The News Letter. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  6. ^ "The end of the road for NI walkway?". BBC News. 2002-03-20. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  7. ^ "Ulster Way update at May 2009". Northern Ireland Environment Agency. May 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  8. ^ Stewart, Linda (2009-09-16). "Get your boots on, the Ulster Way is back on the map". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  9. ^ "Boys back from 625 mile 'dander' round Ulster". Carrick Times. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

Several books have been published as a guide to walking the route. Including:

  • The Ulster Way, Paddy Dillon, The O'Brien Press, 1999, ISBN 0-86278-589-8
  • Walking the Ulster Way, Alan Warner, Appletree Press, 1989, ISBN 0-86281-227-5
  • Beyond Belfast: a 560-mile walk across Northern Ireland on sore feet, Will Ferguson, Penguin Group (Canada), 2009, ISBN 978-0-14-317062-4. A travel memoir / novel with many side stories and pieces of background information.

Coordinates: 55°15′00″N 6°29′06″W / 55.250°N 6.485°W / 55.250; -6.485