Posts tagged with: 'Mullet'

Loop Walks – A Vision for the Mullet Peninsula

The very remote Mullet Peninsula in northwest Mayo already boasts a few short loop walks. Measuring around 25 km from north (at the Erris Head loop walk) to south (Blacksod) and a maximum of 14 km from west (Annagh Head) to east (Ballyglass), the Mullet is stunning. Imagine what a coastal loop walk the whole way around this wonderful place would be like.

Loop walks Ireland

The Mullet Peninsula, Mayo, Ireland

This is spectacular and varied oceanic country. To the north, beautiful cliffs rise to a height of 90m from the surrounding blanket bog. Great views abound out over the Atlantic and offshore rocks and islands, like Pigeon Rock or Eagle Island. Remains of promontory forts dot the cliff-tops. Further south, past blow holes and heavily indented coastline, these cliffs give way to sandy beaches and dunes. In the south, the granite outcrop of Tarmon Hill down by Fál Mór rises to afford superb ocean views in all directions. Indeed, its western coast includes Annagh Head, formed of some of the oldest rocks in Ireland.

On its eastern, more sheltered side, greater vegetation variety is to be found in marshes and along the shoreline of Blacksod Bay. Expansive bays, like Elly and Feorinyeeo, contrast sharply with the wild western beaches. Lovely wildflowers, such as Sea Holly, Yellow Iris and Sea Campion, add to the beauty and enjoyment of a walk around these parts. Belmullet town, tucked in between Blacksod and Broadhaven Bays, guarding the narrow isthmus between the peninsula and the ‘mainland’, would be the main accommodation centre for the loop, ably complemented by small-scale providers at quaint outposts like Ballyglass, Aughleam and Corclough.

Loop walks Mayo Ireland

The Mullet Peninsula, northern end

To be of international interest, loop walks should offer not just variety of scenery, vistas and a distance that would take even the avid walker several days to complete, but also culture and heritage. Along the Mullet’s shoreline are wonderful early Christian sites like Cross Abbey and Teampall Deirbhile, but also 19th Century ruins and World War II remains. There are stories to go with all of them.

What is great is that all these “things to see” are nicely spaced along the way and not clustered together at one point on the peninsula. This is equally true of the offshore islands and four lighthouses that accompany the walker. Superb birding sites, like Termoncarragh Lake and Annagh Marsh add to the attraction of the area. All of these can be considered as staging posts to reach by the walker, pulling him along from one to the next over the entire loop walk.

Loop walks, Mullet, Mayo

Mullet Peninsula, southern end

I estimate an entirely off-road loop walk of the whole peninsula, hugging the shoreline or close enough to it, would be around 140 km long. It would certainly become one of the greatest Irish loop walks of all.

Learn about my August bank holiday guided walking weekend on The Mullet Peninsula.

Visit the local tourism development agency, Erris Beo.

Loop Walks – further posts

Read my 2011 post on a 100km walking loop I’d like to see developed in the Nephin Beg mountains of Mayo.

Read my 2011 post on a whopping 350 km loop of County Mayo that would include walking on old railway tracks from Charlestown to Ballinrobe.

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August Walking Weekend 2012

A favourite walking weekend of my own is my Western Ocean Walking Weekend that takes place up around Belmullet and the Mullet peninsula over the August bank holiday weekend.

Northwest Mayo boasts fantastic cliff-top trails, low lying hills and offshore islands. There are no steep trails here, just beautiful vistas all around Blacksod and Broadhaven bays, great white strands that go on and on, with the mountains and cliffs of Achill Island beyond as a dramatic backdrop to this lovely walking weekend.

Join us, from August 3 thru 6, for a relaxing and fun short walking holiday in Mayo.

I was delighted that the Irish Times featured this weekend’s walking event in their recent article on “100 Great Irish Breaks”. See below.

To book, please visit here.

Mayo walking weekend

Irish Times article

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Walking Tours Season Begins – Off We Go Again !

And so another walking tours season kicks off ! Today sees the arrival of my first walking group of 2012. I’m bringing them up to the wild and majestic northwest corner of Mayo – to the Mullet peninsula and its fabulous cliff-top walks. I’m sure they’ll enjoy themselves, even in this early March weather.

Walking tours Ireland

Majestic Mayo

I know this is going to be a great year. The entire month of August is already booked out with walking tours, as is the first half of June. Days are being blocked in July and all looks good from here.

We in Ireland’s western regions need to put our very best foot forward when competing for a slice of the international walking (and general outdoor activities) market. We’re competing with destinations that can boast dry, warm weather, more or less all year round. What a pity it was, then, when I overheard a lady from Kerry tell some potential tourists to Ireland last week that travelling north of Galway was “not interesting”. How misinformed and disingenuous. Yes, we have fewer tourists in this part of the country than down in the better-known southwest, but perhaps our offer is all the better for that.

So here’s my simple proposal. Come here to the wilds of the true West – Connemara and Mayo. Sample one of our guided walking tours of this wonderful part of Ireland. You’ll meet far fewer tourists and enjoy real interaction with the locals in this lesser-known region of the West. Then, if you wish, go home and tell your friends and relatives it was “not interesting”. I doubt it.

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The Mullet Peninsula, Mayo

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Great Mayo Walking This Weekend

I am really looking forward to this coming bank holiday weekend’s walking in Mayo. While hill walking it is not, Western Ocean Walking Weekend offers fantastic off-road walking in the wonderful north-west corner of Mayo.

Two spectacular cliff-top walks take place on Saturday, offering great views out over the North Atlantic. Each walk is filled with stories and legends of this part of Ireland.

On Sunday, we jump in a boat out to the abandoned offshore island of Iniskea. Hear about how the islanders lived, of whaling, piracy and more.

On Monday, we stroll the southern Mullet peninsula, with its lovely hills and sandy beaches, giving beautiful 360 degree views.

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Come to Mayo in 2011

Walking holidays, Tourism Pure Walking Holidays, Mayo, Ireland

This is Mayo

I’d like to wish you all a very happy 2011 and hope that you will make it over to wonderful, wild Mayo this year.

Apart from my own guided walking holidays and one-day hiking event options, I would encourage you to come visit Mayo for the great outdoors, whatever your taste may be. Having slumbered for years as a tourist destination, this county has really woken up over the last while.

Mayo is home to the huge annual event that is GaelForce West –

Westport held its first Get Out There adventure festival in 2010 –

But Mayo is also home to wonderful outdoors activity providers, such as these guys –

And don’t forget – 2011 will see the extension of the Cycleway / Greenway all the way up to Achill and back to Westport, giving Mayo a best-of-breed 42 km entirely off-road linear trail for cycling and walking.

So whether it’s walking / hiking, kayaking, cycling or other outdoor pursuits you are into, make Mayo your destination in 2011. You’ll be welcome.

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