Twelve Bens

Posts tagged with: 'Twelve Bens'

Maumturks & Bens Weekend

Join our small group hiking the Maumturk and Twelve Bens mountains of Connemara this May bank holiday weekend.

The Inagh Valley in Connemara is a wonderful spot for hiking, with the Maumturk mountains to one side and the Twelve Bens to the other. Beautiful Lough Inagh dominates the valley between these quartzite ranges. The Western Way traces its way along the valley floor on its way to Killary fjord and Leenane village to the north.

Maumturks walking weekend

Maumturk mountains of Connemara

Our small group will spend three nights in a lovely B&B, with evening dinners in a nearby hotel.

Friday, Apr 29, 2016 : Guests should arrive at our B&B around 7 pm, for dinner together at 8 pm.

Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 : Maumturks and Máméan pilgrimage site. We will be walking for 5 – 6 hours, with a total ascent of approx 800m. Level : Moderate / tough.

Sunday, May 1, 2016 : The Western Way and Killary Fjord. We will be walking for 6 – 7 hours, with a total ascent of 300m. Level : Easy.

Monday, May 2, 2016 : Derryclare and Bencorr in the Twelve Bens. We will be walking for 6 – 7 hours, with a total ascent of 900m. Level : Moderate / tough.

Please note that walking times are approximate and depend on the level of the group. Our route on Monday may be altered in function of the ability of the group, as will have been gauged on Saturday.

Price :

Euro 325 pps.

This package includes the following –

3 nights B&B accommodation in shared rooms

3 evening dinners in hotel (3 course meals, plus tea/coffee)

3 packed lunches

3 days guided hill walking

This package does not include the following –

Getting to Inagh valley.

Beverages and other miscellaneous spend.

What you need to bring :

Good waterproof ankle-protecting hiking boots.

Hiking wear (including layers, rainproof top and legs).

Sunglasses, sun cream, insect repellent.

Enthusiasm for three days of outdoor fun in the mountains of the West of Ireland.

Please do not bring :

Jeans, ponchos or umbrellas on the walks.

Maumturk and Twelve Ben Mountains of Connemara

The Maumturks culminate at Binn Idir an Dá Log, at 702 m, while across the valley, the Twelve Bens have their highest point at Benbaun (729 m).

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Twelve Bens – Walking the Gleninagh Circuit

What I like about the Twelve Bens is that lots of them boast proper conical or pointed peaks.  Moreover, most of them are rocky on top. Coming from Mayo and our almost universally turf-topped mountains, they make for a nice change. This earlier post names which Mayo mountains have rocky summits.

Twelve Bens, Walking in West of Ireland

Looking towards Bencorrbeg from Benbaun

The Bens offer the hiker five very fine long horseshoe hillwalking days (plus a further two shorter loops), with the Glencoaghan (Benlettery) Circuit on the south side of the range the most celebrated. On this bright spring day, however, I decided to tackle the wonderful Gleninagh (Benbaun) Circuit, on the east side.

Climbing SW up Knockpasheemore from the R344, I would swing slightly S to the summit of Benbaun, the highest Ben of all at 729 m, before turning SE to Bencollaghduff, then E to Binn an tSaighdiúra, returning to the low ground in the valley from Bencorrbeg and following the Gleninagh and Tooreenaconna Rivers to rejoin the road.

It was a ridiculously fine and dry day for early March. I left Castlebar at 07.30 and began my hike at 8.40. The pull up Knockpasheemore is a drag, but relatively easy. A tougher stretch awaits, as we ascend the side of Benbaun. The flat, peat-covered top of Knockpasheemore gives a 3 km long chance to recover from the initial climb. (As an aside, the northern peaks of the Twelve Bens, such as Muckanaght, tend to be peat-covered).

Twelve Bens, guided walking Ireland


While the pull up to the highest point of the range is nice, through scree fields and rocks, Benbaun is, nevertheless, overshadowed by its brother to the southeast, Bencollaghduff. Unquestionably the highlight of the Twelve Bens, this peak (696 m) boasts a fabulous approach from Maumina col, a nice (though not particularly narrow) ridge and great cliffs falling away northwards. You’ll need to scramble at various stages, making it a great stretch.

The approach to Binn an tSaighdiúra is another tough climb from Mám an bhFonsaí col. Bencorrbeg, beyond, attracts you northeastward before easing you down into the valley below. There’s more scrambling to be done on the way down. Walking along the riverbank below is a nice ending to a great day’s walking.

A small range, in the classic West of Ireland style, the Twelve Bens offers excellent hiking over rocky scree and boulders, with fabulous views in all directions. Lacking in sheer bulk and measuring just 9 km x 9 km at most, with those five valleys cut deep into its sides, there simply isn’t a large enough mountain ‘footprint’ (no more than 42 km2 of ‘upland’) to get in the way of your views. You can truly appreciate the indented, irregularly shaped Connemara coastline. Not to mention the innumerable lakes and bog pools that encompass the mountains.

Twelve Bens – Gleninagh Circuit

I walked 15.4 km, with a total positive climb of 1,305 m, in 8.5 hours.

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