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Western Derryveagh Mountains

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Twelve Bens Area   E: Glencorbet Subarea
Rating graphic.
Benbaun Mountain An Bhinn Bhán A name in Irish (Ir. An Bhinn Bhán [], 'white peak') County Highpoint of Galway in Connacht Province, in County Highpoint, Arderin, Vandeleur-Lynam, Irish Highest Hundred Lists, Pale quartzites, grits, graphitic Bedrock

Height: 729m OS 1:50k Mapsheet: 37 Grid Reference: L78558 53903
Place visited by 633 members. Recently by: Magic, Prem, Carolineswalsh, JordanF1, MarionP, Hikerjjl, edowling, Tuigamala, Padraigin, Lyner, Moirabourke, Nailer1967, abptraining, JohnHoare, GoldCircle
I have visited this place: NO (You need to be a logged-in member to change this.)

Longitude: -9.831791, Latitude: 53.521228 , Easting: 78558, Northing: 253903 Prominence: 684m,  Isolation: 0.9km,   Has trig pillar
ITM: 478532 753923,   GPS IDs, 6 char: Bnbn, 10 char: Benbaun
Bedrock type: Pale quartzites, grits, graphitic, (Bennabeola Quartzite Formation)

An Bihnn Bhán means 'the white peak' and is the highest mountain in Galway. You could say it is the Mont Blanc of Connemara. There is a lot of white rock here, mainly quartz, though this is more a feature of Benbrack. An odd thing about the Twelve Bens of Connemara is that nobody seems to know exactly which are the twelve peaks in question. There are at least 20 peaks with names in binn in this area. However, the notion of twelve peaks goes back at least to the time of Roderic O'Flaherty, who wrote in 1684 of the twelve high mountaines of Bennabeola, though he did not enumerate them (O'Flaherty, 106). In Irish the question doesn't even arise: there is no number, they are just na Beanna Beola, 'the peaks of Beola'. Beola was a giant and chieftain of the Fir Bolg, whose name also features in the village Tuaim Beola (Toombeola).   An Bhinn Bhán is the highest mountain in the Twelve Bens area and the 89th highest in Ireland. An Bhinn Bhán is the highest point in county Galway.

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12 Bens quartzite highpoint amidst magnificent pe .. by group   (Show all for Benbaun (An Bhinn Bhán)) Picture about mountain Benbaun (<i>An Bhinn Bhán</i>) in area Twelve Bens, Ireland
Picture: Steep learning curve
The hedgehog awakes
by wicklore  21 Sep 2022
Hedgehogs emerging from hibernation feel unsure of themselves. They feel aches & pains from long unused muscles & joints. They need time to reorient & learn how to navigate through previously familiar territory. Indeed, as one article puts it “Hedgehogs coming out of hibernation are wobbly and confused, and even more likely than usual to stumble into trouble.”

And so it was, on a recent September morning, I emerged from a year-long hibernation. Like a bleary-eyed, freshly-woken hedgehog I gazed about me, overwhelmed & struggling to know how to start. The mountains of the Owenglin valley loomed about me, and I stared agog at the vast bulk of Benbaun. It appeared……big, and……menacing, and……big. And the valley floor before me looked….difficult, and ……wet and, ……difficult. My eyes slowly scanned north & west of Benbaun, taking in Benfree, Muckanaght, Bencullagh & finally Maumonght. This was the route for the day. I trembled before such a sight. My knees wobbled as I espied distant sheep clinging precariously to impossible ledges, below cliffs & rocky crags that had no sympathy for the faint hearted. Impossibly steep slopes led up to impossibly high summits.

There was so much to consider. Were my boots laced and tied correctly? Did I have enough water? Was I wearing enough layers, or did I have too much on? What if it rained? What if my walking poles snapped in half? What if my rucksack blew away or there was an earthquake or a flood or what if....…and so it was that a series of doubts & uncertainties cycled through my mind. Having not had a proper hike in over a year, I had clearly lost the plot completely. “Pull yourself together man” I told myself, “you have hiked all of these summits before. Hiking is something you have done countless times, in all weather and conditions. You are Wicklore, Walker of Hills, Explorer of Places, Finder of Things,”

“What did you say”, enquired a youthful voice, “were you talking to us?” Ah yes, I had forgotten in my momentary paralysis. I was leading a group of scouts on the annual Connaught Mountain Pursuit Challenge event. I turned to see several pairs of eager eyes watching me, waiting for the signal to leave camp and begin our gruelling hike for the day. “And why do you look like a frightened hedgehog?” one astute scout asked.

And so I learned once again how to navigate wet grass and high heather. I learned how to zig zag up steep scree slopes and descend to boggy cols. I learned how to breathe, how to stretch, how to manage a heart rate of 120, how not to fall over cliffs, and how not to stumble like a fool on perfectly flat and even ground. I learned how to suffer and I learned how to cope. And I learned how to lace and tie my boots.

Above all, as I descended to camp at the end of a tiring and joyful day, I learned how to once again gaze appraisingly at distant hills through eyes of chipped granite. The hedgehog was out of hibernation. Linkback:
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White it is ... .. by yambox   (Show all for Benbaun (An Bhinn Bhán))
Benbaun August 2013: On The Second Attempt .. by jimhol53   (Show all for Benbaun (An Bhinn Bhán))
Driving along the R344 I noticed that there is ne .. by murphysw   (Show all for Benbaun (An Bhinn Bhán))
This visualisation shows the main twelve bens fro .. by simon3   (Show all for Benbaun (An Bhinn Bhán))
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British summit data courtesy:
Database of British & Irish Hills
(Creative Commons Licence), a Hill-walking Website for the island of Ireland. 2400 Summiteers, 1480 Contributors, maintainer of lists: Arderins, Vandeleur-Lynams, Highest Hundred, County Highpoints etc