Mountain Pursuit Challenge – Connaught 2010

OS Map: Sheet 37 1:50000

Dates: 17th – 19th September

The Twelve Bens are situated in western Galway and form the centre of the Connemara National Park. They are
famed for their rugged peaks and good walking. Nine of the summits are over 2000 feet.

How to get there;

From Galway take the Clifden road. After you pass through Maam Cross and Recess continue along the road
passing Ben Lettery Youth Hostel. The turn off point is about 2.5 km further along the road. Take the right hand
turn just past the church and follow the road along till it crosses the river. The car park is just on the other side
of the bridge at (L744 513). Check in with staff and prepare for a gear check.

Friday Night;

Car park (744 513) To Base Camp (766 527)

The route for Friday night takes us along the forestry track till it reaches the ford on the river at (755 519). You
need to climb up onto the bank on the left-hand side and follow along between the forest edge and the river.
Continue along the riverbank towards base camp. You will need to cross a number of streams along the way.
The points will be marked with Flags/Flashers. The best points to cross are very close to the main river where
the streams are and shallow. You may also be able to jump a number of the narrower streams, but be careful
when doing so. Check in with staff and find a spot to pitch your tent.

Saturday Hike;

The Saturday hike is designed as a standing camp so day bags will be only needed.

Base Camp (766 527) to Stream Bend (774 532)

Follow the river upstream. Be careful crossing the feeding streams, as you do not wish to get wet this early.

Stream Bend (774 532) to Col (788 531)

Keep following the stream up hill. Take plenty of rests, as it is a gruelling trod. Your last chance to get water is
just before the crest of the col.

Col (788 531) to Ben Baun (786 539)

From the col Ben Baun looks daunting. A steep grassy slopes lead up to a narrow band of rock. You will have to
do a little route finding through this obstacle, it’s not too difficult. Once you’re through, it is an easy walk up a
grassy ridge to reach the stony summit, marked by a trig point and cairn. This is the highest point in Co. Galway
and views range across the mountains and countryside of Connemara.

Ben Baun (786 539) to Benfree (778 544)

A ridge of rock and scree descending from Ben Baun becomes grassy as it leads down to the col. A short walk

up hill leads to the summit of Benfree.

Benfree (778 544) to Muckanagh (768 541)

A steep grassy slope leads down from Benfree to a peaty col. Another steep and grassy slope then leads uphill
from the Col, becoming rockier towards the top of the mountain. There is a cairn on the summit.

Muckanagh (768 541) to Bencullagh (756 537)

A gentle slope leads down from the summit to the Col, and the uphill walk isn’t too steep either. The vegetation
changes from grass to heather, but the top of Bencullagh is stony.

Bencullagh (756 537) to Col (752 539)

From Bencullagh you descend into a narrow col. From the col there is a fence that runs down to the valley. Be
careful when descending into the valley as you might be tempted to follow the fence the whole way down to the
valley which means you have to climb back up to high camp.

Col (752 539) to High Camp (766 527)

As described above be careful when descending from the col and pay particular attention to your map and also
the contour lines.

Sunday Hike;

High Camp (766 527) to Car Park (744 513)

Retrace your steps from Friday night, again being careful when crossing rivers.