For its easy access, well marked path, beauty and being just the right length, The Spinc and Glenealo Valley trail in Glendalough, County Wicklow, has to be one of my favourite ‘Sunday Walks’ and probably one of the best walks in Leinster.
Pros, hikers and other extreme walking creatures will tell you there are plenty of routes and beauty spots to be discovered in the Wicklow Mountains without the crowds of popular Glendalough, but beware: maps of the routes and other useful (and essential) details on the terrain for us amateurs is scarce. Google searching for maps is enough to put you off walking altogether if you are having a good day, enough to drive you insane if you are having a bad one.
Glendalough’s trails, on the other hand, are almost ‘idiot-proof’, easily explained and classified according to levels and manageable for walkers of all types.
There are three trails involving the ‘Spinc’ - all circuit walks:
Heading up the Spinc and then linking up with the famous Wicklow Way (there is a dedicated website www.Wicklow way.com)but lacks the detail of the trails at Glenda Lough, if you are not a ‘hardcore walker’ you will not find much useful information for you, which is a shame). 11km (4 hours approx.)
Spinc and Glenealo Valley. 9 km (3 hours and a half walk approx.)
Shorter version cutting through the forest. 5 km (2 hours approx.)
The White Trail takes you up to the Spinc (or ‘pointed hill’) overlooking the Upper Lake of Glendalough, around the boggy Glenealy Valley and down back to the car park along the Miners’ Trail. Starting the walk from the left hand side of the lake will allow you to get the sharpest climb of the walk out of the way at the beginning, which tends to be an easier approach. After conquering the 600+ steps that take you to the top of the Spinc, the route becomes much easier.
A boardwalk takes you along the ridge (with some photo spots on the way) and down to the valley, where the path eventually becomes a rough stoney track (but who cares? we are going downhill now…). Overall, it is a very enjoyable circuit with amazing views of the valley of Glendalough, perfect for a Sunday outing and long enough to get you some fresh air and renewed energy to start the week...
-The Best of Walking in Glendalough:
Very well marked paths and trails, explaining difficulty and type of terrain.
-The Worst of Walking in Glendalough:
It is ALWAYS crowded. The best time to go is probably January, when some hotels are closed. The higher level of the walk, the smaller amount of people you will encounter though. Definitely avoid Bank Holiday weekends.
You can find a listing of all trails at:
How to get there- if you don‘t have a car:
http://www.glendaloughbus.com/ (from Dublin city and Bray)