Christian Aid's annual Sheep's Head Hike celebrates it's tenth anniversary

Five reasons to take a hike this September

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Christian Aid’s Sheep’s Head Hike and we are inviting you to join us in exploring one of Ireland’s best-loved walking routes.

The hike, which takes place on Saturday 1st September, is a fundraising effort in support of those in need around the world. Year on year, support for the hike has grown, and in recent years we welcomed up to 200 walkers.

During a trip to Haiti in 2009, our Church and Community Officer, Andrew Coleman, was struck by the abject poverty he witnessed. The image of young children on the side of a mountain, having to trek across hilly terrain to get to school, was etched on his mind, when he returned home to Cork. Andrew was inspired to set up this Irish Camino to remember people who struggle every day, but who persevere in the face of extreme hardship.

Need convincing to take part?

1. The views

The Sheep’s Head peninsula on the Wild Atlantic Way boasts some of the most stunning views on the west coast of Ireland. In 2009, this unspoilt peninsula was awarded European Destination of Excellence for Sustainable Tourism. West Cork also enjoys the mildest climate in Ireland, so the Sheep’s Head trail offers walkers the chance to relax and unwind, while taking in the beauty of this spectacular landscape.

Sheep's Head view

2. Tea and craic

With so many hikers taking part, you’re bound to meet a few new faces and connect with like-minded people. Afterwards, you’ll be treated to a true Cork original - a cup of Barry’s tea awaits you on your return to Kilcrohane.

And by taking part in our fundraising events, you can become part of the Christian Aid family and develop a tangible link to those we are trying to help.

Sheep's Head Family

3. Challenge your body and relax your mind

With two walks to choose from, 10km or 6km, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re an experienced hiker with all the gear, or a novice, this hike is for you. Getting out into the fresh air will lift your spirits and boost your energy levels.

Hiking is also a fun way to keep fit. You can put on a pair of hiking boots and discover somewhere that will take your breath away.

The hike is not a race, there are no prizes for getting back to Kilcrohane first – well, except to get to the best sandwiches. But you can use this opportunity to challenge yourself. Or if you prefer a more leisurely pace, the Sheep’s Head Hike offers a chance to take time out and reflect.

4. History and wildlife

All along the trail you will be transported back in time to see relics from Ireland’s ancient past. Members of the Sheep’s Head Way committee will be on hand to explain the history, flora and fauna of the area. An event like this often gives us time to honour our past, while looking towards our future and remaining grounded in the present.

Sheep's Head flora and fauna

5. Helping our global neighbours

The Sheep’s Head Hike allows you to help those in most need. It can be hard to just sit and watch on TV the devastation caused by famines, droughts and conflicts and to feel helpless. By taking part in our Sheep’s Head hike, you can support Christian Aid’s work to tackle poverty and global injustice.

The money raised on the hike will help people living in poverty to transform their lives and their communities. In Haiti, for example, your money has helped to build stable hurricane-proof houses and in countries like Ethiopia, your donations go a long way towards supporting women like Aster, who was able to set up and run a shop with other women in her village, bringing in vital money for their families. The women in the village are strong and resilient, and now they have the means to earn a reliable income.

Aster Argo, 29, and her children (L to R) Agar Gezahegu, 11, Hinit Gezahegu, 9, Dibora.

Aster Argo, 29, and her children (L to R) Agar Gezahegu, 11, Hinit Gezahegu, 9, Dibora. Aster used to walk for miles every day collecting firewood. But now her key source of light is through her solar lamp.

Photo: Christian Aid / Matt Gonzalez-Noda

Together we’re powerful. And together, we can create a world where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty.   

The Sheep’s Head Hike is organised by a wonderful local committee in Cork and would not be possible without the support of many volunteers and supporters, from group leaders to bus drivers and catering. Thank you to everyone who makes this possible each year.

To take part in the Sheep’s Head hike, register here or contact Andrew Coleman on email at acoleman@christian-aid.org or phone: +353 87 243 92 80.