I've just had a great weekend at the Leenane Walking Festival which ran over the May bank holiday just past. On the Saturday I took the long Ben Baun walk, highest point in Co. Galway, which started out in the Gleninagh valley. After getting to the top of Ben Baun we headed onto Luggatarriff, down to the saddle between Luggatarriff and Muckanaght and headed over to top Benbrack. From there we made our way to the saddle with Knockbrack then headed down towards the road near Kylemore Abbey. The weather, besides one good shower at the top of Gleninagh, was fantastic! I think it took us 6 hours 45 minutes, but, there were two groups with 61 people in total so we were moving at the pace of the slowest member which is the right thing to do. Tea and scones from the Nuns before the buses picked us us.
Looking towards Baranoraun.
Looking down over Gleninagh, Lough Inagh overlooked by the Maamturks.
Errisbeg hill in the distance, Roundstone bog and out towards Ballyconneely on the right.
Coming off Ben Baun top going towards Luggatarriff.
Muckanaght which we bypassed, it'll have to keep for another time.
Kylemore Abbey coming off Ben Brack.
The Diamond, Letter Hill, Kylemore Abbey with Doughruagh over looking it.
Achill head and Croaghaun, on Achill island, in the distance, Kylemore Abbey bottom right.
On the Sunday It was time to do the long Mweelrea walk. We started out on the Delphi side of Doo Lough. The ascent there I found, being a newbie, fairly steep. It was also wet and a bit slippery underfoot. Once we had finished the ascent it was easy going for the most part. Going from Benburyl, I was told the final climb up to Mweelrea top itself was hard enough, I found it quite easy. It's a long slope, but not steep and the ground underfoot is great. From Mweelrea top the plan was to descend towards Killary Harbour, then turn towards 495 and down on towards Bunnaglass. Just off the top there's quite a narrow ridge that you have to take, as one guy said coming up is optional, getting down in mandatory. It's single file with a fair old drop to the left and a very very steep grassy slope to the right. Not a place I'd like something to happen. The going was steep enough in places and wet in spots, some long heather along the route we took. But, everyone took their time and got down grand. The festival had organised RIB's (a great and necessary touch) to pick us up from the shore and up Killary Harbour, tea and scones again and then we were bussed back to Leenane.
Mweelrea photos next post.
Then it was into the pub for a pint, have the craic until the BBQ and Ceili that night. I have to say I had a fantastic time and would recommend it to anyone without hesitation!
Just a bit of local info but if Michael Gibbons is leading any walk next year, do go. He's a local Archaeologist and you will not be bored I guarantee you. He lectures on my course and I've heard him speak before. Unfortunately due to work and the Ben Baun walk Saturday I couldn't make his lecture Friday night or go on the Glencroft walk Saturday!
Information about this years festival can be found on http://www.leenanevillage.com/
Many thanks to the organisers and guides who made is such a great event.