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.

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

10HD – Mayo Outdoors Event

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10HD is an active day out, combining cycling and walking, pencilled in for Saturday, June 26.

Based out of the lovely little village of Newport, west County Mayo, 10HD will have you on a bicycle or your feet for the whole day – more or less 10 hours.

10HD is most definitely not a race.

This is a relaxed event to see some of the wonderful views Mayo has to offer. Get on your bike in Newport and ramble towards the Nephin Beg mountains, which stretch out above the northern shore of Clew Bay. Take in Loughs Furnace and Feeagh. After around 90 minutes, dismount and hike part of The Bangor Trail, surely Ireland’s most isolated waymarked walking trail. Then hill walk up Nephin Beag itself, at 627 m, to get great views out over the vast blanket bogs and scenic coastline of North Mayo, towards Croagh Patrick, Clew Bay, Achill Island, Blacksod Bay, The Mullet peninsula and the Iniskea Islands beyond (extent of views is weather and visibility dependant).

10HD comprises approx. 90 minutes on the bike, followed by 6 hours hiking, followed by another 90 minutes return to Newport via a different route on the bike, with breaks along the way.

The cost of this10 Hour Day active day out is Euro 50 each and the number of places is strictly limited. Packed lunch, bike hire and full guiding throughout are included. We leave Newport at 9 am sharp and will be back at around 7 pm. Newport offers various accommodation alternatives, should you wish to overnight.

On the Newport Mulranny Cycleway

This morning, I enjoyed a cycle on the old rail line from Mulranny towards Newport with Paul Harman of Harman-e-Bikes. Paul has quality battery power-assisted electric cycles for hire out of his base near Westport, with a drop-off and pick-up service available.

The new cycleway is by no means perfect, nor as good as it could have been, but is certainly a welcome addition to the West Mayo outdoors tourism product. Its best quality is that it is off-road and you can’t argue with that, in a country which boasts very few off-road cycling opportunities.

Cycling is a logical and attractive complimentary product to my guided walking tours, especially in and around the Nephin Beg mountain range. So why not consider coming to West Mayo and combining cycling, walking and, indeed, sea kayaking and wind surfing, for example.

Clew Bay, County Mayo

Clew Bay is a well sheltered glacier-formed mass of water between Louisburgh and Corraun, in west Mayo. Famed for its ‘365’ islands (there are closer to 85 in reality), it is a quiet spot, with its best parts hidden from general view, west of the Westport to Newport road.

Clare Island stands at Clew Bay’s mouth and, with her many drumlin island friends, she keeps the bay’s waters remarkably calm for the West of Ireland. Well, most of the time anyway.

Boasting great placenames, like Rosmoney, Rosmindle, Roscahill, Rostoohy, Rosnakilly, Rosdogaun, Rosbeg, Roslaher, Rossow, Rossantubble, Rossanrubble, Rosgibbileen and Rosclave, how could you not want to visit ?

And while you’re there, go in for a pint to Fitz’s Buckfield Inn.

Cycleway from Newport to Mulranny

I took a trip out yesterday to check on the progress of the cycleway / walkway from Newport to Mulranny that is currently under construction. The route follows the old Achill railway line for the most part, with only very short stretches not on the disused line.

Its total length is something like 18 km, with hopes that it can be further developed in both directions in the years to come, forward towards Achill and back towards Westport.

The track will be a truly great additon to Mayo’s tourism offer.

The track will take us through the Atlantic blanket bogs of West Mayo, affording stunning views of both Clew Bay’s many little quiet inlets to the West and The Nephin Beg mountains and its lakes to the East. The first stage of the track ends just beyond Mulranny village, at the junction between the roads to Ballycroy and to Achill.

Here are just some photos I took yesterday to give you an idea of what this wonderful new amenity will offer. I’ll be walking its full length before the end of the year and will add new photos here as I do so.