65km (40 miles) E to W along the Derry-Tyrone border

Southeast of Derry, the Sperrin Mountains rise up out of County Tyrone, reaching their highest point at Sawel, from which you can see as far as the Foyle Estuary and across the Northern Ireland countryside to Lough Neagh and the Mournes. This is splendid, wide-open, walking country, home to golden plover, red grouse, and thousands upon thousands of fluffy white sheep.

In the Sperrins, you won't be likely to find the tallest, oldest, or most famous anything. Even the highest peak in the range -- Sawel, at 661m (2,168 ft.) -- is an easy climb. This is Ireland in a minor key. It is a corner of Ireland largely unsung, but also unspoiled. You'll see mostly wildflowers here, rather than formal gardens, and cottages rather than castles. All the same, gold has been found in these mountains. Poetry, too. The Nobel-winning poet Seamus Heaney grew up on the edge of the Sperrins and found words to suit their subtle splendor.

Unless you come to farm, chances are you'll spend your time exploring the dark-russet blanket bogs and purple heathland, the gorse-covered hillsides, and the forest parks, whether on foot, cycle, or horseback. There are salmon and trout to be fished from Foyle. There are also a few historical museums. As for minor destinations for a morning walk or an afternoon drive, there's no shortage of standing stones (about 1,000 have been counted), high crosses, dolmens, and hill forts -- more reminders that every last bit of bog on this island has its own slew of stories, if only we could hear them told.