30th Sept to 2nd Oct
Glendahurk Circuit, Nephin Mountains, Co. Mayo
The Nephin Beg Mountain range of North West Mayo is one of Ireland's last great wilderness areas. The mountains are surrounded to the north by a vast area of trackless bog - the largest blanket bog in Ireland. The mountains are formed from quartzite and are around 600 million years old. This MPC offers the opportunity to enjoy the remote heights of the Nephins and also the splendid views of Croagh Patrick, Clare Island and Clew Bay to the south, the mountains of Achill Island to the west and the great bogs of north-west Mayo.
Maps used: Ordnance Survey Sheets 30 & 31 (Discovery Series)
From Castlebar or Westport head out to Newport which is on the main route to Achill. Continue past Newport towards Mulrany (also referred to as Mallaranny on some maps including the 1:50,000 map). Approximately 2km before Mulrany town, you will cross a bridge marked Mulrany Bridge (grid ref. 857 965). Check-in will take place in the small car park here. Please note that car parking is limited and we may have to park cars down in Mulrany and shuttle drivers back up to the check-in. This road is quite busy so please be careful. Check-in is from 7.00pm onwards.
Check-in (857 965) to Track Junction (862 971)
Having checked out follow the good track northwards which after ¼km swings north eastwards. There are a number of isolated farmhouses so please keep noise to a minimum. The good track begins to deteriorate and you will meet a fence where the track meets the old narrow gauge railway line to Achill.
Track Junction (862 971) to Base Camp (877 976)
Follow the track eastwards for approx. 2km to the spot height at 877 976. Camping will be nearby so check in and make camp.
Have a good breakfast and strike camp. Please ensure that you leave no papers or rubbish on the site. Because the proposed hike route is quite demanding you will not be carrying full pack on the route. However we will be moving to a new campsite at the bottom of the Glendahurk valley. So you will be required to move to the new campsite first and after re-pitching the tents you will proceed out onto the hike route carrying day packs (please see the enclosed day pack equipment lists).
Base Camp (877 976) to Glendahurk Bridge (912 978)
Leave the campsite and continue eastwards along the track to the bridge at 912 978. Advanced basecamp will be in the fields beside the river on the southern side of the bridge. A staff member will check you in and show you where to camp. Pitch your tents and prepare your daypacks.
The main route
Please note that all hike routes are subject to change, mainly because of weather conditions and therefore it is vital that you study your maps carefully before the event. The hike route below is described in a clockwise direction but depending on wind and also to help stagger the departure of teams, you may be required to travel in an anti-clockwise direction. Therefore I request that each team prepare two route cards for this hike one in each direction. If nothing else - it's good practice.
If weather conditions are too bad to go up high the alternative route (carrying full packs) will most likely be Glenthomas Valley circuit. You may wish to prepare a route card for this as well.
Glendahurk Bridge (912 978) to Spot Height 899 013
Having been checked out by a staff member, follow the track uphill from the bridge in a north west direction. The track goes further then is indicated on the map but you should try to turn off the track onto the ridge once you have gained the high point of the track on the ridge (about 904 986). Leave the track and begin to climb up through heather covered ground. Try to keep to the centre of the ridge and you will soon arrive at the first spot height (901 008). The are great view down into the forest filled valley below. Continue along the ridge passing a number of rock formations and you will arrive at the spot height (899 013).
Spot Height (899 013) to Corranabinnia South Top (894 026)
Continue up the ridge in the same northerly direction. The ground begins to steepen and the climb becomes harder. Keep to the centre of the ridge away from the steep ground on your right. The ridge appears to end quite abruptly with a steep drop into Corranabinnia Lough which is over a 1,000 feet below. Head along the grassy ridge in an easterly direction towards the summit of the south top is marked by a small cairn. (The point marked on the map appears to be in the wrong place).
Corranabinnia South Top (894 026) to Col (899 029)
Leaving the summit in a northerly direction you quickly meet a very narrow, rocky ridge (called an Arete) which descends to the col. Extreme care should be exercised by all teams along this ridge. Please follow any instructions given by staff. Many of the fangs of rock can be by-passed though the use of hands will be required to steady yourself. There are tremendous views into the bouldery coum (a glaciated valley) to your left. You should also be able to see the two lakes at Corryloughaphuill. This is one of the most spectacular knife-edge ridges in the country and is a highlight of the hike.
Col (899 029) to Corranabinnia (903 032)
From the bottom of the rocky ridge an easy ascent up a grassy ridge gradually becoming more rocky, leads you to the rocky summit of Corranabinnia (903 032). The summit is marked by a trig. point. This is the highest point on the hike at 2,343ft. There are great views all around. To the north Glennamong & Nephin Beg, to the east you may see Nephin - the second highest mountain in Connaught.
Corranabinnia (903 032) to Spot Height (911 030)
Leave the summit in an easterly direction, travelling across rocky, stony ground. You begin to lose height very quickly and it is important to take care on this descent. Zig-zag down through the rocks and the slope flattens out as you approach the spot height (911 030).
Spot Height (911 030) to Col (922 021)
Another sharp descent leads down into a col (915 028). The ground is becoming more grassy but there are still large slabs of rock around Still heading eastwards a slight climb leads to the Spot Height at (918 026). Ahead you can see Bengorm, the final peak on the hike. There are fine views into the valleys on each side of you. The ridge begins to turn to the south and following the ridge a short descent leads you down to the col at (922 021).
Col (922 021) to Bengorm(928 013)
Leaving the col begin the steep ascent of Bengorm. The climb gets more rocky as you ascend. Keep to the right-hand side of the mountain to have the best approach to the summit. The grassy summit is marked by a cairn. There are good views towards Newport and as far as Castlebar. To the east you can also see Lough Feagh and Buckoogh & Bireencorragh mountains.
Bengorm(928 013) to Glendahurk Bridge (912 978)
Depart from the summit in a southerly direction. The descent is initially gentle and the ground is heather covered peat. After about 1km begin to turn westwards in towards the Glendahurk valley. The descent gradually becomes steeper as you approach the valley floor. Pick the driest route across the valley floor to the river and follow the southern side of the river back to the advanced base camp. On arrival check-in. Get changed, get the dinner on and a have a cup of tea!
SUNDAY 2nd October
Advanced Base Camp (912 013) Track Junction (919 967)
Have a good breakfast and strike camp. Again, please ensure that you leave no papers or rubbish on the site. A staff member will check your site and following check-out follow the good track from the bridge in a south easterly direction. After about 1km the track crosses the dismantled railway at (919 967).
(1) Track Junction (919 967) to Carrowsallagh Bridge (933 962)
Follow the route of the old railway back eastwards for approx 1km until it meets another good bog road at (931 968). Turn onto this track and head in a southerly direction towards the main road. Continue along the track until you reach the main road. Keep off this road as it is quite busy. We will try to arrange a shuttle service back to pick up the cars. People who have travelled by bus will be able to be picked up here.
You've made it - Well Done!
Hope you enjoyed the MPC adventure