This challenging route (the actual ascent is circa 1700 metres) includes a dozen MV tops, of which eight are Arderins; but quality parallels quantity for no less than half the tops are MV 100 Best Rated. The Benbaun Ben Lettery spine is Siamese twinned with Glencoaghan, a less ardous and perhaps more spectacular circuit- arguably one of Ireland's finest. Therefore, expect Owenglin to be less travelled, with summiteers comprising the majority of the passing there. I had Owenglin entirely to myself.
The uploaded Track shows a clockwise route. I parked opposite the Bog Restoration Project under Bengleniskey to avoid post traumatic roadwalking syndrome. But most walkers park on the gravel near the bridge at L747 511. Walk west along the road as far as a deep Cattle Trap and then turn right (north) onto the open mountain at Tievebaun, and follow the fence and the river to Maumonght SW.
This is a varied route with plenty of grassy slopes as as far as Benbaun, but thereafter the surface is almost totally dominated by rock. I don't propose to describe the wonders of the route here, but I do want to make a few observations.
(1) BEWARE THE DESCENT FROM BENBAUN TO MAUMINA - DO NOT FOLLOW MY ROUTE WHICH WAS A NAVIGATIONAL FAILURE. I simply ignored my own research in poor visibility and wandered off in a generally easterly direction. I had to descend cliffs which involved scrambling on exposed wet rock. I was conscious that a mistake could have resulted in serious injury or death.
(2) My SECOND NAVIGATIONAL ERROR involved a partial ascent and descent of Bencollaghduff (Binn Dhubh) instead of simply contouring around from the base of Benbaun to the base of Benbreen. Madness: but these things can happen to tired walkers in high cold wind and lashing rain. I now realise that I was so far up Bencollaghduff that I could have made the summit and crossed it off my list before returning to the route.
(3) Benbreen is one of the highest rated mountains in the country. It has three tops and a super ridge.
(4) Since I had only occasional views, given the conditions, I thoroughly enjoyed the ascent of Bengower: it was simply a pure climbing experience undistracted by the visual (other than the sense that a monster was looming ahead in the mist). The scrambling was pretty continuous and although sense dictated caution nevertheless the angle of the rock and numerous "shelves" and little gullies effectively created a giant stone staircase. I felt great satisfaction on reaching the summit. (5) Ben Lettery is, of course, optional, but only a foolish summiteer would "leave it for the next time" given its easy accessibility from Bengower. (6) My experience of Bengleniskey was that of a lame, exhausted, semi-delirious soaked summiteer who needed to get home before someone phoned the rescue services. I would describe the approach to its summit from the east as being what the Burren would look like if the Israelis thought you were manufacturing a nuclear weapon there: stone trenches bombed into little hills of waste material.
Summary. A long challenging route which gave me great satisfaction in poor conditions: I have no doubt that in good visibilty it will be seen as one of the great Irish horseshoes.