Registration is now open for the 2024 Donegal Camino, a seven-day walking festival at the beginning of September that raises vital funds for Cancer Care West. 

The 2024 Camino will take place from September 1-7, featuring seven scenic walks across Donegal, including loop walks, coastal walks, island walks, and a climb to the summit of the majestic Sliabh Liag sea cliffs. 

This year's Camino begins on Malin Head with a walk through the Inishowen Peninsula. The opening walk will set off from Lagg Church with plenty of fanfare and music and offers walkers spectacular views of Lough Swilly, Five Finger Strand, and Bamba's Crown. 

Walkers will then take in the beautiful Ards Forest Park on Day 2 of the Camino before climbing to the summit of Errigal, Donegal's highest peak, on Day 3. 

The Camino then heads for the beautiful Gaeltacht island of Cruit on Day 4. The island, which is shaped like a traditional Irish harp or cruit, is linked to the Donegal mainland by a bridge built during the Second World War. 

Next up is the Gay Byrne Trail on Day 5, which takes in the trail along Maghery in the Rosses. Iconic Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne loved this walk for its majestic views of the Donegal coastline. 

On the penultimate day of the Camino, walkers will hike through the Bluestack Mountains, following a picturesque mountain, forest, and road trail. The walk will conclude in the newly refurbished Diamond of Donegal Town, allowing walkers to join in the festivities as Donegal Town celebrates its 550th anniversary. 

As always, the Camino will finish with a climb to the summit of the majestic Sliabh Liag sea cliffs. The highest sea cliffs in Europe, Sliabh Liag is reached by a hike along the Pilgrim's Path, which offers spectacular views of Donegal's countryside and coastline. 

Launched in 2021 by Inishowen native Peggy Stringer, the Camino has grown astronomically over the past four years.

Organizers hope that the 2024 Camino will raise €100,000 for Cancer Care West after last year's Camino raised over €82,000. 

Noel Cunningham, chairperson of the 2024 Camino, said the Camino helps to raise funds for a "worthy" charity while also highlighting the spectacular beauty of Donegal. 

"We’re beyond excited to get out and walk the 2024 Donegal Camino and raise much-needed funds for our chosen charity. We’re growing year on year in every way and we’re keen to share our beloved Donegal and our Camino with new and familiar walkers and friends and invite Donegal businesses to join us and support our worthy cause this September," Cunningham said. 

Stringer, meanwhile, described the upcoming route as "stunning" and said she was blown away by the continued support for the Camino. 

"It’s another stunning route for 2024, along which there will be many surprises for our walkers.  We’re blown away by the growing support for this wonderful 7-day walking festival and of course our chosen charity, Cancer Care West. We’re very grateful to all who get involved," Stringer said. 

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Any interested in walking the 2024 Donegal Camino can choose to walk a day, two days, three days, or all seven days of the route. They can also dip in and out as the week progresses. 

Registration costs €35 per walker per day, which covers a variety of operational costs, including insurance, safety cars, and expert guides. 

Walkers are encouraged to raise around €100 for each walk that they undertake. 

Richard Flaherty CEO of Cancer Care West, said the annual Donegal Camino is the "flagship" fundraising event for the charity's support center in Letterkenny. 

"Our center provides a range of individual, and group supports to cancer patients and their families. All the services at the center are offered free of charge, and we rely heavily on this event to ensure we continue to provide these crucial supports to those who need them," Flaherty said.

"Last year alone, the center supported over 350 people affected by cancer. Given the increasing numbers of people accessing our center year-on-year, it will be imperative that we increase our services in the future to meet this demand. The success of the Donegal Camino enables us to do this." 

To find out more about the upcoming Camino, click here.