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Nephin : A Mountain and a Lost Ship

Steve came hillwalking last March and wrote the following article about the day, which he has kindly permitted me to reproduce here. We climbed Nephin – at 806 m, Connacht’s second highest mountain.

 

Nephin

Hiking Nephin in March

” A Mountain and a Lost Ship

Barry Murphy met us outside the post office in the village of Lahardane, County Mayo. He was our guide for a hike up Nephin Mór – the second highest mountain in Connacht. With introductions made, our small group set off.

As we approached the trail, Barry introduced us to the local history of the parish of Addergoole. A ruined house had once been the home of a victim of the sinking of the Titanic. A total of fourteen parishioners had sailed on the ill starred voyage; only three survived. The loss is reputed to be the greatest in Europe from a single small locality.

Catherine McGowan is credited with putting the ‘Addergoole Fourteen’ together. She had spent several years in America and had originally returned home to bring her niece out to the States. Others decided to join her and their dream of a new life ended in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. Catherine perished, but her niece, 17 year old Annie McGowan, was rescued. She lived to the grand age of 95 and is buried in Illinois.

Each year, the tragedy of 1912 is commemorated by the ringing of a lone church bell at 2.20am on 15th April; the moment when the great liner slipped beneath the waves. There is a thriving Titanic Society, and relatives of the passengers still live in the area. A centenary programme is planned for 2012.

We now began our ascent of the mountain. A fine Irish drizzle closed in;  it seemed our efforts would not be rewarded with a spectacular view. Boots crunched in deep snow as we neared the summit. Then, right on cue, the mist lifted and all was revealed in sunlight. Directly below us was the anglers’ paradise of Lough Conn. On the horizon, the conical outline of the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick. To the west, the grandeur of Achill Island and the very Atlantic Ocean that had taken such a toll.

Poses were struck, and cameras clicked as we enjoyed our good fortune.

 

Nephin summit

At the summit of Nephin Mór

With hike over, we returned to our hotel where Barry joined us for a pint and the swapping of tales. We much enjoyed his account of hitching through a divided Germany. An East German policeman inspected his belongings. Barry’s meagre rations had consisted of a Mars bar and a hard boiled egg. ‘Crack ze egg’, insisted this paragon of suspicion.

A fine evening was rounded off by a Guinness fuelled screening of the Ireland v England rugby international. I awoke next morning with a heavy head, but a light heart. On checking out, I reminded the receptionist of my heroics in scaling Nephin Mór. I suggested that perhaps they would consider renaming the peak after me. She smiled as she lied that she would ask someone to look into it… “

Many thanks to Steve for this guest blogpost. Read the Addergoole Titanic Society’s website.

Hiking Nephin Mór

Nephin may be hiked from several spots, but I always choose to climb it along the rim of the great northern corrie. Find my next guided hike up. Up and down in a loop usually takes around 5 hours.

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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 – http://www.gaelforceevents.com/west/

Westport held its first Get Out There adventure festival in 2010 –http://westportadventurefestival.com/

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

http://www.irelandwestseakayaking.com/

http://www.clewbayoutdoors.com/

http://www.electricescapes.ie/

http://www.elementskitesurfing.com/

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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Wild Mayo in May

Friday May 15 thru Sunday May 17 :

Join us on three wonderful days walking in Wild Mayo in Ireland’s West.

Forest track, Sheskin, Mayo

Forest track, Sheskin, Mayo

Friday – A five hour hike through the largest area of land in Ireland with no through road. Discover the vast bogs and enormous conifer plantations of Sheskin, Central Mayo. Try your hand at some red deer tracking, maybe spot some elusive otters or red grouse, stand in total silence and take in the sheer scale of the place.

 

 

Wild weather, Iniskea Islands, Mayo

Wild weather, Iniskea Islands, Mayo

Saturday – Take the boat out to the South Iniskea Island off the west coast of Mayo and Europe and stroll around for the day, taking in the wildlife and seascapes of this beautiful island. Observe the varied marine bird species of this uninhabited spot. Wander around the deserted houses long since abandoned.

 

 

The Mullet Peninsula, Mayo - a great place for walking

The Mullet Peninsula, Mayo - a great place for walking

Sunday – Some nice relaxing walks around the Mullet peninsula, west of Belmullet town, Coastal Mayo, including on the beaches looking west over the wild Atlantic.

Stay two nights in an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast out on the Mullet, heated by geothermal renewable energy and solar panels.

 

This long weekend will bring you back to a place of peace in these turbulent times.

You will need some stamina for the long walks, a genuine sense of adventure and deep love of the outdoors. Bring good hiking boots and layers of clothing for the ever changing weather of Ireland’s West coast. Enjoy. It’ll be great.

Price : Euro 285 per person. Accommodation is in twin bedrooms. Price includes all accommodation, breakfast and full dinner, packed lunches on each day, transport to and from Castlebar, boat to and from islands, full guiding throughout. You just get yourself to Castlebar by 10.00 on Friday, May 15th.

Places are strictly limited to first 11 only.

Call or contact me for further details.

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