Posts tagged with: 'hillwalking'

Poland Birdwatching & Wildlife Tour, May 2021

I’m delighted to announce my Poland Birdwatching & Wildlife Tour, for May 2021, to the truly magnificent National Parks of Biebrza and Bialowieza, in eastern Poland.

Provisional Dates : May 8 – 15, 2021 (dependent on flight schedules, as yet unannounced)
Price : Euro 895 pps full board in shared rooms (excluding flights)
Interested ? Email info[at]tourismpurewalking.com or call 086-8318748

Poland birdwatching & wildlife tour
Crane at Biebrza National Park

These two wonderful National Parks boast magnificent wildlife, much of which we will see, while some of which, like Wolf and Lynx, is just too elusive. The range of birds is stunning, including Golden Oriole, Great Grey Shrike, Hen, Marsh & Montagu’s Harriers, Ortolan Bunting, etc, all in beautiful landscapes. Wildlife observation here is a truly magical delight, in a part of Europe that remains deeply rural and beautiful.

Our rough itinerary, subject to change,  is as follows :

Day 1 : Fly Dublin to Warsaw and transfer to Biebrza National Park.

Poland wildlife tour - Elk
Elk in Biebrza National Park

Days 2, 3, 4, 5 : Birds and wildlife spotting in Biebrza NP. The Park is home to Elk, Red Deer, Beaver, Wolf, Lynx and birds, such as Lesser Spotted Eagle, Crane, Black and White Stork, Woodpeckers, Hoopoe, Penduline Tit, Honey Buzzard and so much more. Biebrza (‘beaver’ in Polish) NP is based around the river basin of the same name and is a spectacular area of river marsh and wetland woodlands. Beautiful forest tracks are perfect for exploring the woodland and marsh areas. We’ll go on an evening river boat trip to look for Beaver!

Transfer to Bialowieza NP.

Day 6, 7 : Wildlife spotting in Bialowieza NP, home to Bison, Deer, Wolf, Lynx, various species of Woodpecker and many other fabulous birds, including Pygmy Owl. Bialowieza NP is based around the primeval forest of the same name – one of the very last tracts of such beautiful and serene forest in central and eastern Europe. An iconic location for lovers of nature and Europe’s exceptional biodiversity, memories of your visit to Bialowieza will never leave you.

Day 8 : Return to Ireland.

Poland wildlife tour
Biebrza NP, Poland

We stay in shared rooms in lovely traditional Polish ‘pensions’ (sort of B&Bs). Meals, transport within Poland and full guiding with our wonderful local expert are all included. The flights are not included and should not be booked until the group is confirmed. Instead, please indicate your interest in travelling by emailing me on info [at] tourismpurewalking.com.

The cost of this great Poland birdwatching & wildlife trip, based on per person sharing, is Euro 895. This does not include your flights.

I cannot recommend this trip highly enough. Our local guide is so good, he’s written the guide book to the nature and biodiversity of Biebrza National Park. We are accompanied throughout both by our principal guide and additional guides as required.

Poland wildlife tour Biebrza
Wildlife spotting in Poland

There is very little walking during this trip and what there is is easy, on forest tracks, with no hills of any note. This is a bird watching and wildlife spotting trip, rather than a walking trip. It is a very lovely and relaxing discovery of the vast nature of Poland, mostly in glorious native woodlands. Throughout the week, we pause to observe so much fascinating wildlife all around.

And don’t worry, there’s beer spotting to be enjoyed in the evenings!

See pictures of this trip in previous years, by visiting here.

Watch a YouTube slideshow of a past group, set to music by Poland’s great composer, Chopin, here.

Poland Birdwatching & Wildlife Tour Reviewed on “Mooney Goes Wild” :

Listen back to what Éanna Ní Lamhna and Richard Collins from “Mooney Goes Wild” on RTÉ Radio 1 had to say about this trip.

This relatively small, lowland lake holds around 8 White-tailed Eagles

Poland Birdwatching & Wildlife Tour, May 2021

If you would like to join our small group for this delightful Poland wildlife tour during May 2021, please get in touch, via e-mail to info [at] tourismpurewalking.com or phone, on 086-8318748, and reserve your place. Note that travel insurance is a prerequisite for this trip, as my walking guide insurance does not cover overseas birdwatching trips. Also, accommodation is in shared double or twin rooms, with a supplement due for those who would prefer a single room (where available).

Email me on info[at]tourismpurewalking.com

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Hillwalking on Achill Island

Achill Island, off Mayo’s west coast, offers excellent hillwalking, with fantastic ocean views all around. First, however, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way, so we can concentrate on what is magnificent about Achill.

Hillwalking Achill Mayo Ireland


The island has suffered badly from the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period, with numerous hideous developments – both finished and unfinished – blighting its otherwise fabulous landscape. There are the incomprehensible holiday home parks on the slopes of both Slievemore and Croaghaun, with the latter taking the biscuit for inappropriateness. There is the black hole that was (apparently) to be a hotel in Keel village. Then there’s Achillhenge …

However, the hillwalking is truly wonderful.

From the top of Slievemore (671 m), you have superb views of the Mullet peninsula beyond, with the Iniskea and Duvillaun islands to its south and west. A long and rewarding walk westwards brings you past the Napoleonic tower and towards Annagh, one of the most extraordinary places in Ireland, with its lake perched perilously above the ocean, waiting to be one day consumed by the crashing waves.

Hillwalking on Slievemore can be combined with a visit to the famous deserted village below.

A loop walk to the summit of Croaghaun, with Ireland’s tallest cliffs at 688m, takes in both Acorrymore Lake and the stunning corrie lake that is Lough Bunnafreva West, with superb views out to Saddle Head beyond. This is really great hillwalking, where the slightly lower SW top of Croaghaun steals the show, thanks to its sheer smooth rock wall and views along the spine of Achill Head.

Hillwalking Ireland Mayo Achill

Looking towards Croaghaun SW Top, with Achill Head beyond.

Indeed, just hillwalking from Keem Bay out to Achill Head along the cliffs at Benmore and descending down into the valley with its abandoned booley houses, without ever reaching the dizzy heights of Croaghaun’s cliffs, is a rewarding hike in itself.

The lovely cliff-top walk from Minaun down towards Dooega, hidden away on the island’s south coast, can be combined with a vist to promontory forts further along this rock strewn part of the island’s shoreline. From the top, by the booster station, enjoy lovely views over Keel strand directly below and of Slievemore and Croaghaun in the distance.

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Walking Holidays in Ireland

There are many great reasons for taking walking holidays in Ireland. Of course, we have the beautiful landscapes, particularly here in the west. We have the nice and relaxed pace of life along our west coast. We have the great craic in our rural pubs. But, of course, most of all we have the people. You’ve heard the phrase, “strangers are but friends waiting to be met”.

Walking holidays in Ireland

Discovering Ireland's Lakes

Walking holidays in the west of Ireland are about discovering our huge Atlantic blanket bogs, our exciting cliff-top trails and our offshore islands. They are about our mountains, although low at only up to 1,000 m, majestic and with spectacular views over the coastline all around. They are about our inland lakes and our tiny little villages, full of charm. They are about our pubs and the melodic sound of Irish traditional music that fills the best of them. They are about our lovely hosts in their special B&Bs and the effort they make to make all my guests feel special.

But walking holidays in Ireland are also about learning of our rural culture, our history and our tremendous Irish legends. They are about stories of battles, chieftains, churches and castles, about the land, The Great Famine and the struggle for independence. For many from the UK and USA, they are about learning of how their forefathers lived. For our continental visitors, they are about hearing and learning more of this fabled land that is Ireland. But most of all, it’s about the expereience of getting to spend time in our lovely land and meeting our people.

You’d be welcome.

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First Hillwalking of New Year

I got out hillwalking at the weekend for the first time since the holidays. Not 100% successful, I must admit!

Walking in Connemara and Mayo

Devilsmother from the northern Maumturks

On Saturday, I met up with a mate and we decided to take on the northern end of the Maumturks. Standing watch over Leenane, the Maumturks are nice mountains with great views over Killary Harbour (Ireland’s only true fjord), Mweelrea, Ben Gorm, Devilsmother and other summits all around. They’re not very high by any means, but it just wasn’t going to happen on this occasion. The wind was too strong and I could hardly stand up against it. The fierce wind was rushing up the fjord, coming around the corner of the hills and hitting me on my right hand side. Maybe if I had brought some extra ballast in my pockets or lead in my boots. Having been knocked over one time too many, it was time to admit defeat and descend.

So descend we did. We drove on over to Glencullin Lough, beyond Doo Lough on the truly stunning road over towards Louisburgh (and back in Mayo), where we could admire the magnificent cliffs of the steep-walled corrie between Ben Bury and Lugmore. We spent the late afternoon and into the dark refreshing our night navigation skills, heading home after 6.30 pm. There’s definitely something extra lovely about hiking around after dark. As long as you have batteries for your head torch, a map and compass, that is.

Hillwalking in Mayo

Glencullin Lough

On Sunday morning, I travelled back down south to take on Devilsmother. A serious slog gets you up onto what is possibly Ireland’s best true plateau. In strong wind again, I nevertheless completed a loop hike that also took in the highest point of the plateau, Maumtrasna, at 702 m.

A good weekend of hillwalking in south Mayo and north Galway.

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New Year Walking Weekend 2014

Rejuvenate yourself with this New Year walking weekend in Westport.

Event Dates :

Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th of January 2014

Event Location :

Westport, Co. Mayo

Event Details :

This New Year walking weekend, based in lovely Westport, will be filled with a series of short to medium length walks around the hills, forests, bogs and coast of west Mayo. The weekend will be about shaking loose the cobwebs from the end of year festivities and getting out and about again.

New Year walking weekend

Croagh Patrick in Winter

Walks will be low level – no high hillwalks on this mid-winter weekend! We will stay in a nice, cosy B&B, with hot dinner included each evening (Fri and Sat).

Friday, January 3, 2014 :

Arrive in Westport Friday evening. Why not  take the train ? No need to bring the car to Mayo. Jump on a train from Hueston at 12.45, relax and arrive in Westport at 15.55.

We will enjoy a nice evening stroll of 2 hours under cover of dark, before heading in to town. I’ll be encouraging you to sample one of our local West Mayo Brewery craft beers.

Saturday, January 4, 2014 :

We will walk below Mayo’s most famous mountain, Croagh Patrick and out along the beach. There will be two separate walks, with a hot lunch in between. We will not be tackling the summit of The Reek, just rambling up to its shoulder and down the other side.

Sunday, January 5, 2014 :

An invigorating dawn walk will be followed by a midday stroll through a lovely forest, before departure on the 15.45 train that gets in to Dublin at 19.10.

Get in touch if you would like to join our small group on this relaxed, slow-paced guided walking weekend. Kick off your New Year with some activity out in the crisp, fresh West of Ireland winter.

New Year Walking Weekend Prices & Reservation :

Full Board B&B Accommodation in a twin or double room (price for one person)
Date :
€ 199
Full Board B&B Accommodation in a single room (total price for one person)
Date :
€ 219

Having hit the ” Book Now!” button, please proceed to the shop in the right-hand column of the website to checkout.

Please Note : This guided new year walking weekend is not suitable to people under the age of 18, or those with limited or restricted mobility. Access transport (including by train) is not included in the price.

Learn more about the town of Westport on Westport Tourism’s website.

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Hill Walking in Mayo

Mayo is a great destination for moderate level hill walking in Ireland. With mountains to no more than 820 m, many with fabulous sea views, this place gives the walker fantastic panorama views of the wild West of Ireland coastline and its vast internal blanket bogs. We enjoy large areas of upland and bog, not spoiled by roads cutting through them. We have nice moderate mountain peaks, perfect for hill walking over 5 to 8-hour days.

Spots like Achill, Clew Bay and around Leenane boast some of the finest hill walking in Ireland. Lesser known high points like Corrannabinnia, Barrclashcame and Maumtrasna offer so much more than the overused Croagh Patrick. Standing on top of Croaghaun, boasting some of Europe’s highest cliffs, is a real treat not to be missed.

Down below, lovely West Mayo villages and small towns, like Newport, Mulranny, Westport and Belmullet will entertain you during the evenings. Not to forget Cong, the prettiest village in Ireland, standing beneath the mountains of South Mayo and North Galway.

So far this year the hill walking has been great. The severe lack of rain in the first several months of the year, following the incredible big freeze over the New Year period, has left the ground quite dry. Even the recent June rain has done little to make the upland bogs as wet as they normally would be.

I had a big group up The Bangor Trail last weekend and, while there was of course surface water, there was not the usual energy sapping trudge through the peat covered hills. This walk brings you to no more than 320 m altitude, a low level example of what is on offer.

Here is a selection of photos of hill walking in Mayo. Enjoy. If ou’d like to conme hill walking in Ireland, do get in touch and we’ll organise something for you and your group of walkers.

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