Seven Sisters Skyline - Ireland.  

50km - 4,000m vertical ascent - Saturday August 15th 2020 7am

27km - 2,100m vertical ascent - Saturday August 15th 2020 12.30pm

Dunlewey, Co. Donegal. Ireland. 

Excel Sports are hosts to Ireland’s premier Skyline event, and are delighted to be part of the Skyrunner UK-Ireland 2020 National series. 

The event is being held in Donegal, the most Northerly county on the island of Ireland…. But still only 3 hours from Dublin, and 2 hours from Belfast. Donegal is a mystical, magical place, which boasts wild rugged unspoilt landscapes, and an incredible coastline with some of the most spectacular views in Europe. Donegal was voted ‘Coolest place on the planet’ by National Geographic in 2017, and for good reason…. 

Journeying Northwest along sleepy roads that cut and curve through the Gaeltacht, an area where the Donegal Irish dialect still flourishes, brings you to the village of Dunlewey, host of the Seven Sisters Skyline 2019. Dunlewey is a small Gaeltacht village in the Gweedore area of Donegal, situated at the foot of Mount Errigal, which is the highest mountain in Donegal. Also known as the Derryveagh Mountains, the 7 sisters frame a valley that wouldn’t be out of place in JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”!! 

The Derryveagh mountains are the major mountain range in Donegal. Commonly known as the “Seven Sisters”, each of the seven mountains have their own gaelic names of Errigal (751 m), Mackoght a.k.a. Little Errigal (555 m), Aghla More (584 m), Ardloughnabrackbaddy (603 m), Aghla Beg (564 m), Crocknalaragagh (471 m) and Muckish (666 m). What these mountains may lack in Altitude, I guarantee you they more than make up with their Attitude !!

2020 will see competitors gather in picturesque Dunlewey, Co. Donegal, where they will take in magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean, and surrounding Counties for the Seven Sisters Skyline 50k. 

Race director Eunan Quinn created the Seven Sisters Mountain Marathon in 2018, an event which he felt needed to be added to the Endurance Calendar in Ireland, and the event didn’t dissapoint !! Regarded as one of the toughest runs in Ireland by competitors, with a winning time of 6 hrs for male winner, 7 hrs 41 for female winner it tested the strength, endurance and characters of all who participated.  


“TOUGH, TOUGH course (and I only did the half) in a stunningly beautiful part of the world. This event is not for the faint hearted and not to be entered lightly. Superbly organised with a tricky course immaculately signposted. Eunan and his team have thought of everything in the planning and execution of the event, and really allow you to relax and focus on surviving the sufferfest!!! ~ John Peto 

“Thanks to Eunan and all who organised such a brilliant event. The marathon had a bit of everything from rocky parts, boggy trails, with tough climbs and rough descents. An absolutely great open mountain race with a wonderful downhillfinish. LOVED IT!!!!” ~ Nicola Cleary  

“Highly recommended but not for casual runners. Rough, tough route but really enjoyed it as i’m a bit mad anyway!! Preparation from the organisers was first class as were the check points. Will definitely be back !!! ~ Brian Rodgers 

“ By far the toughest event I have ever done!!! I really thought going up Errigal that I wouldn’t make it to the finish line. From the start of the race it was a challenge as visibility on the day was only a few feet, which made this challenging both physically and mentally, but the course was superbly marked with red flags. Looking forward to next year, where hopefully the weather will allow us to experience the amazing views” ~ Gillian Wasson - 2018 Seven Sisters Female Champion.  

Seven Sisters Skyline 50km / Sky Challenge 27km Route / Course details. 

The 50k Skyline is an out and back course doing all peaks twice, except for the mighty Errigal. The course is unique in that there is little or no defined path for most of the course - just wild open mountain, soft boggy heathery ground, and rock and scree on the technical sections. The route begins at the foot of Errigal. A short run on heathery ground to the first small technical section to Mackoght, which will give competitors a taste of what’s to come later on the course on this rocky scrambling section. A descent off Mackoght and onto a track for a fast section to drop down to Altan castle, and a short run across the beach at Lough Altan. 

The first big test awaits competitors as they will ascend 450m in 2k to Aghla More, a grass / heather steep wall to the summit, then across to Aghla Beag on soft bog, and once on top of Aghla Beag a steep descent into the valley. A running section until competitors drop down to a 1k road section at the base of Muckish, across ‘the bridge of tears’ into Muckish quarry and the first big technical test on the course. A tough scramble to top of Muckish, and hairy descent on the miner’s path to turnaround checkpoint. Competitors will ascend the miners path, descend Muckish on the traditional route, cross the road and back into the wilds toward the Aghlas. Here competitors will be totally isolated, with no one except fellow runners for the next 12km. On approaching the Aghla’s competitors will face locally known as ‘heart attack hill’ a grass wall, and this is where the top competitors will know they are in a race. Across the Aghla’s, a steep descent off Aghla More and onto Mackoght. A steep technical descent off Mackoght, around to the North side of Errigal for a massive technical climb to summit Donegal’s highest mountain and last peak. Down the south side of Errigal, crossing the road toward Dunlewey estate, and a final push around the lake toward the finish line.

Sky Challenge 27km.

Starts at the Miners path at Muckish. It starts by ascending the Miners path, follows the Skyline course to Errigal, and ascends Errigal the normal route, and finishes in Dunlewey.

The finish area will be in the village of Dunlewey, leaving the event 27km, with 2,100m of ascent. This event is less extreme and vetting is not required. The route will be fully marked with no navigational experience required. This route can be used in all weather conditions. Time Limit will be 8 hrs.  

It’s truly an EPIC course that will test all competitors to their limits both physically and mentally.  

Since announcing the Seven Sisters as a Skyline event for 2019, interest has peaked both nationally and internationally, with competitors from various countries already having signed up. This is an event not to be missed !! Join us on August 15 to earn the accolade of saying you competed in Ireland’s Skyline event in “the coolest place on the planet”. 

2019 Winners - Course record holders.  

Seven sisters skyline 50k.  

Damien Gielty Scotland - 6hr 32m 56s Kasia Osipowicz Poland - 8hr 42m 47s  

Sky Challenge 27k.  

Eamon Mc Gee - Ireland (Rosses) 3hr 56m 07s Catherine McLaughlin - Ireland 5hr 03m 37s

Event Format.  

Dates & Schedule (TBC).  

Registration will take place at Dunlewey Community Hall - adjacent to Hostel.  

Friday 14 August 2020.  

16.00 - 19.00 Sky Challenge / Seven Sisters Skyline. Registration open  

19.30 - Skyline 50km Competitiors Race Briefing (Mandatory)  

20.00 - Registration open  

20.30 - Registration closes  

Saturday 15 July 2020.  

06.20 - Bus from Dunlewey to Skyline 50k Race Start (Errigal Carpark) Bag drop at Errigal car park.  

06.50 - Skyline 50k. Participants to be assembled for race start  

07.00 - Skyline 50k. RACE START.  

08.00 - Sky Challenge 27k. Registration open - Dunlewey Hall.  

10.00 - Sky Challenge 27k. Registration Closes  

10.45 - Sky Challenge 27k - Buses to Start  

12.20 - Sky Challenge 27k. Race Briefing  

12.30 - Sky Challenge 27k RACE START.  

13.00 - Finish Line Open.  

20.30 - Finish line Closes.  

21.30 - Prize Ceremonies 50k / 27k. Chuirt Hotel.  

Race Headquarters. The event will be managed from the Dunlewey Community Hall, adjacent to Errigal Hostel.This is directly across the road from the finish line. Competitors and spectators will find parking here also for the event. Registration will take place in the Hall, along with mandatory race briefings, and will act as media centre for the event. The hostel will be the race team headquarters.  



The Errigal hostel (finish area) will have accommodation for competitors. They currently have 4 six bed dorms, and 5 four bed dorms available. These are 20 euro per person per night, or 120 euro / 80 euro per night if you want them for yourself. These are offline, and can be booked at: errigal@anoige.ie  

Our partner Hotel is the Chuirt Hotel, Gweedore located close to Dunlewey (5 min drive). We have acquired an offer for Race participants under Excel Sports.  

Accommodation rates based on bed and breakfast only: One night - €135 Two Nights - €125 per night Three Nights - €119 per night Single room would be €69.00 per night bed and breakfast.  

There will be an EARLY breakfast available for 50k participants.  

An Chúirt Hotel & S&a, Telephone: 074 9532900 Email: info@gweedorecourthotel.com  

When booking ask for Excel Sport rate and they will avail of rates quoted  

The above rates are based on two adults sharing. If there are any children aged between 4-14 years old they will be charged an extra €15.00 per child, per night. Any additional adults will be charged €40.00 per night.  


There are numerous Bed and Breakfasts in the local area. I will have a list of these in coming weeks.  

The Wild Atlantic Camp in Creeslough (20 mins from Dunlewey, 10 mins from 27km start) has a great range of options - pods, glamping villas, bell tents, motorhome bays, tent pitching. Contact 00353 74 9138400. Mention the event. http://www.wildatlanticcamp.ie  


Parking. Parking for competitors and spectators at the event is in the designated parking areas only. The local community are very supportive of the event, and will assist with parking, and other aspects of the event over the weekend.  

Registration. This will take place in the community hall, adjacent to race headquarters (Errigal hostel). This is where registration, kit check, distribution of gps trackers (timing), T-shirts etc will take place.

The Route.  

Sky Challenge 27km - Starts at Muckish Mtn, 30 min drive from Dunlewey. Competitors will park at Dunlewey (race headquarters) and be bused to the start area. They will start and proceed over the course the same as last year; This includes 7 peaks, and a 5k run to the finish in Dunlewey.  

Seven Sisters Skyline 50km - Starts at car park at base of Errigal Mtn. Competitors will park at Dunlewey (race headquarters) and be driven, or bused to start (3km from Dunlewey). On the outward leg competitors will ascend 6 peaks, check into the checkpoint area at the base of Muckisk mtn, and 7 peaks on the return leg. The course will be the same as this year.  


Checkpoints There will be checkpoints / aid stations on the route where competitors can avail of water and food. 5 for 50k; 3 for 27k.  

Timed Checkpoints will be set up so that competitors will have to get to in order to proceed within pre - determined time limits.  

For the long race Skyline 50k the first timed checkpoint will be at the base of Muckish mountain (miners path). Here we will have first aid, food, drinks, toilets, and where competitors can access a drop bag. This is around 20km into the race. Skyline 50k competitors must reach here by 12pm to be allowed to continue. The next checkpoint is the grotto at Muckish. 50k participants must reach here by 1.30pm. Mackoght checkpoint - You must reach here by 5pm. Failure to do so means you will be redirected on the Shortcourse, and not allowed to do the Errigal section (follow course straight to Dunlewey).  

Sky Challenge 27km participants must reach the Mackoght checkpoint by 5.30pm (5hrs) to be allowed to do Errigal ascent. Failure to do so means you will be redirected on the Shortcourse, and not allowed to do the Errigal section (follow course straight to Dunlewey).  

Spectators will be able to spectate anywhere on the route including the mountains.  

Cut - Offs Predetermined times will be set at cut off points - Muckisk (miners path), Muckish (Grotto), Mackoght turn, and Errigal car park. Cut offs will be strictly enforced as competitors will not finish the course in the time allocated. Runners will be retired by event staff if they appear to be in trouble, or have no realistic chance of finishing before the Course Closure Time at 13hrs for Skyline 50k; and 8hrs for 27k. All athletes will have Live GPS trackers, and allows staff to monitor competitors.  

Mandatory KIt. Mandatory kit will be required by all competitors which includes trail / mountain running shoes; Waterproof jacket; spare warm top; hat / gloves; survival blanket; 2 water bottles; food; whistle and map provided by race.  

Seven Sisters Skyline 50k / Sky Challenge 27k.  

Mandatory Kit.  

Mandatory kit will be required by all competitors which includes:  

Pack destined to transport obligatory equipment throughout the race. Mobile/cell phone with international roaming allowing for its use in Ireland (load into its memory the organisation's security numbers, keep the phone on, don't mask your number and don't forget to leave with the battery fully charged) GPS tracker issued by race organisers. Supply of water of 1 litre minimum Survival blanket (foil blanket) of 1.40m x 2m minimum Whistle Self adhesive elasticated bandage which can serve as a bandage or strapping (minimum 100 cm x 6 cm) Food reserve Recommendation : 800kcal (2 gels + 2 energising bars each of 65g )  

Jacket with hood which will withstand bad weather in the mountains and made with a waterproof* and breathable** membrane (eg. Outdry) *minimum recommended 10 000 Schmerber  

Long-legged trousers or race leggings OR a combination of legging and socks which cover the legs completely Cap or bandana or Buff® Additional warm second layer : a warm second layer top with long sleeves (cotton excluded) of a weight of a minimum of 180g (men's size medium (M) ) OR the combination of a warm long sleeved underwear (first or second layer,cotton exclude) of a minimum weight of 110g (men's size medium (M) ) and a durable water repellant (DWR protection) windproof jacket* *the wind-proof jacket does not replace the obligatory waterproof jacket, and vice versa Hat Warm and water-proof gloves Waterproof over trousers ID – passport/ID card  

NB: Kit will be checked at registration and on the morning of the event. If you are found to be missing required kit, you will not be able to start the race.  

Prize Giving. All competitors upon finishing will receive a finishers medal. Prize giving will take place on Saturday night at the Chuirt Hotel at 9.30pm for both events. There will be food, drinks, refreshments for all competitors at finish area.  

Getting to Dunlewey from Abroad.  

Fly to:  

Dublin Airport - 270km to Dunlewey, Donegal.  

Here you can rent a car. 3.5hr drive.  

Donegal Airport offer a service flying from Dublin to Donegal (35 min flight). This is 15 mins from Dunlewey (race headquarters). Here you can rent a car, or get local transport to Dunlewey.  

They also offer a service from Glasgow to Donegal on a limited basis.  

Details at: www.donegalairport.ie  

Belfast International Airport - 160km to Dunlewey.  

Here you can rent a car - 2.5 hr drive.  

There is no direct bus to Donegal. You can get a bus to Belfast City, then to Letterkenny, Donegal and get a connection to Dunlewey.  

If you are messaging local providors (Donegal) mention the Seven Sisters mountain running event in Dunlewey Aug 15.  

If we can be of assistance, just message  

eunanquinnsport@gmail.com et a bus directly to Dunlewey - John Mc Ginley buses (27euro return) The bus will take you to Gortahork, and then to Dunlewey. www.johnmcginley.com info@johnmcginley.com  


You Can Register Here Now!


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