Dates Change – Western Ocean Walking Weekend

Please note the slight change in dates for my next Western Ocean Walking Weekend.

The dates are now from Thursday, August 12, thru Sunday, August 15. Come and enjoy a great weekend of walking on cliff-top walks (much higher than the Cliffs of Moher, by the way), on a stunning once-inhabited island and on lovely beaches and low-lying hills on perhaps Ireland’s most interesting peninsula, The Mullet of NW Mayo.

You can be picked up from and dropped back to Castlebar train station.

Just Get Out There

Last evening’s RTE programme Tracks and Trails was a nice ad for Mayo outdoor and active holiday breaks. It’s a pity, however, that they didn’t cover just a little bit more of the terrain than the Cycleway. And did you notice the ridiculous and unattractive fencing along the track, immediately on both sides ? Not exactly pretty.

Anyway, Mayo has what it takes to pass some wonderful outdoors days. Getting out into the fresh (yes, often wet) air does wonders for your mind and body.

Get Out There in Mayo - Clew Bay & Nephin Beg Mountains

Get Out There in Mayo - Clew Bay & Nephin Beg Mountains

If you’re in the area, join me for a guided walk on waymarked ways, hills, cliff-tops and so on. I will show you a Mayo that is off the beaten track. We’ll venture into the remote Nephin Beg Mountains or skip along high ocean cliffs. The important thing is to get out into our wild spots and breathe in that unique Mayo air.

You’ll enjoy the break and re-charge the batteries.                                                                             

But also, check out these local providers of outdoor pursuits and great Mayo fun.

Saoirse na Mara sea kayaking –

Call Ali and book a day out on Clew Bay.

http://www.irelandwestseakayaking.com/

Electric Escapes electric bike hire –

Call Paul. http://www.electricescapes.ie/

Clew Bay Bike Hire –

Call Travis. http://www.clewbayoutdoors.com/

All Play wind surfing –

Call Cathal. http://www.allplay.ie/

So, whichever activity you fancy, come to west Mayo for your fix of guided or self-guided walking, cycling, sea kayaking, wind surfing and others like horse riding, sailing, sea fishing, etc.

Up the Mountains with Eleven

I had a gas day last week in the Nephin Begs, with a lovely group of 11.

We left our cars at 10.30 am, I in the knowledge that the walk would take somewhere between 6 and 8 hours, but knowing that we had plenty of time, even if it turned out to be longer.

My fastest time doing the circuit in question was 6 hr 20 and even that time I was dawdling, as it was in the middle of Orchid season. I had been stopping every couple of metres to look at specimen. On the other hand, I had once brought a group of okay, but a little slow, walkers and it had taken 8 hr 30.

Anyway, this lovely group did the horseshoe in 8 hr 10. But the fun we had with the weather !

We enjoyed brilliant sunshine and warm winds from the east / southeast, mixed with loud thunder over our heads and accompanying fork lightning. The man with the camera had a classic West of Ireland opportunity to take pictures of a sky entirely black on the one side and clear blue alongside to the west.

We peeled off layers, only to pull them back on five minutes later. This is the great attraction of hill walking in Ireland’s west. If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes.

We saw Frogs, Hares, Meadow Pipits, just one singing Skylark, but no Wheatears, Foxes or Grey Herons, which might ordinarily be encountered.

But it was a day to remember for its truly dramatic weather. Clare Island, off to the west, would appear clearly, then disappear entirely soon after. We even had two occasions where the walking had to stop and the group come in close together, as visibility shrunk to 10 metres.

That’s walking in Mayo – brilliant.

A Great Weekend in West Mayo

Last weekend was excellent fun. I led guided walks on The Mullet on Saturday and Sunday, treated myself to the Ceathrú Thaidgh cliff-top walk on Sunday and completed the wonderful Glendahurk Horseshoe in the Nephin Begs on Monday.

You’d never know, but the fabulous weather we’ve been having to date might just as quickly come to a shuddering halt in an Irish summer, so better to take full advantage while it’s going !

Floral highlights of the weekend included the many orchids now in bloom, the strange Ragged Robin, St. Patrick’s Cabbage at 700 m altitude and the stunningly beautiful Common Mallow.

Fauna of the weekend included one Fox, several Hares, fantastically aerobatic Ravens and one solitary Golden Plover. Unfortunately, no Seals were spotted at Erris Head, but you can’t always be lucky.

Erris Head – A guided walk of Erris Head (with another guide, not me) takes place, as part of Féile Erris Beo, on Sunday, June 20th. Contact Erris Tourism, on 097 – 82292.

Ceathrú Thaidgh – I will guide a walk of this cliff-top trail, also as part of Féile Erris Beo, on Thursday, June 17th, beginning at 6 pm. Again, call Erris Tourism, on 097 – 82292.

Comórtas Peil na Gaeltachta 2010

The annual Gaelic Football competition for teams from Gaeltacht areas rumbles into Belmullet this coming weekend. With it come a lot of footballers and football followers. The craic should be good.

An Clár Oifigiúil is here, if you’d like to take a look : Clár Oifigiúil

As part of what you might call the “off festival”, I will be leading walks on both Saturday and Sunday. So come along, if you fancy a stroll. Good comfortable runners will suffice for both walks, but, as always, I would advise hiking boots anyway.

Saturday :

Erris Head / Ceann Iorrais. Meet at the small carpark at Glenlara / An Gleann Lara, at 11 am. This beautiful cliff-top walk is around 2 – 3 hours and entirely off-road.

Sunday :

Aughleam & Falmore / Each Léim agus An Fáil Mhór. Meet at the graveyard in Falmore, at 12 midday. This walk is mostly on-road, but quiet roads they are certainly. Various possible loops allow you to leave when you like. The maximum length, should you join for the walk’s entirety, will be around 3 hours.

Hopefully, we’ll have the weather.

The Colour of Erris

This is a really wonderful time of year. There are so many flowers in bloom right now and the weather this year is ridiculously good. Too good, perhaps.

Among the places I found myself this week was a plantation forest in Erris, where, honestly, you could easily think you were in southern France. The ground is so dry and the brown leaves underfoot make so much noise when stood on, you’d nearly expect a snake to wander across the track at some point.

But apart from there, I was also on coastal grassland, where I took the pictures below. While I could get the photos of the still flowers, the same could not be said of the six magnificent Irish Hares I saw, or the various birds, including Wheatear, Ringed Plover, Fulmar, Cormorant, Great Black Backed Gull, Skylark, Twite, etc.

10HD – A Full Day Out in West Mayo

Just four weeks to go to a lovely Ten Hour Day out in wild west Mayo.

Join us at Newport on Saturday June 26th for a 90-minutes cycle into the hills, then a 6-hour hike up Nephin Beg mountain, then a 90-minute cycle back to Newport. This is NOT a race. This is NOT a competitive event. It’s a day out in fabulous country, with great views over lakes, mountains, bog and out to the coast, with Achill, Blacksod and the Reek in the distance.

If you like your outdoors, take a look at the event poster, by clicking below, to learn more.

10HD poster