I had wanted to climb Bencorrbeg for some time as the final summit of a Bencollaghduff/Binn an tSaighdiúra/Bencorrbeg trio. These summits had eluded me on two previous outings – once because I ran out of time and once because when I reached Maumina col from the sheltered Gleninagh Valley I was nearly blown over by strong winds and had to abandon the walk
I had spent some time reading the comments of others about these summits – in particular I wanted to know if I could complete a circuit that involved descending Bencorrbeg to bring me back to the farmhouse at L81600 55500 (Point A). (The family here are always willing to let folk park in their yard and if you walk alone like me it’s a good idea to ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ with them – on this occasion the lady of the house told me she had begun looking out for me as it was past 7pm). Reading previous posts by Captain Vertigo, csd, aidand & smcbr I realised that such a descent would require care & some light scrambling.
So it was that I parked at the farmhouse and set off just after noon. There is a track that leads for 3.5kms from the farm right up to Maumina col, and this long gradual climb warms up the muscles nicely. A steady breeze in the valley had me concerned that I might be thwarted by stronger winds further up, but when I finally hauled up onto the shoulder of Bencollaghduff I was relieved to find that it was relatively calm. Not being much of one for scrambling I found the final approach to Bencollaghduff a little awkward but it was manageable. A steady descent brought me to col below the Bencorr/ Binn an tSaighdiúra ridge. From Bencollaghduff the climb up to the ridge looked imposing but I could see scree tracks winding their way up, carved out by countless boots. With a touch of the old ‘one step forward, two steps back’ as well as some light scrambling I made it up to the ridge. (by light I mean having to use hands to pull myself up a few times but only one rock at a time and not ‘climbing’)
After Binn an tSaighdiúra it is a small haul of 50m up to the summit of Bencorrbeg. However the full 581m of Bencorrbeg’s height falls away to the north to where I was parked. It was with trepidation that I began the descent north. I decided to go as slow as possible as I had 3.5 hours of good light left at 5:30pm. It took me 2 hours of slow descent that involved several sections of light scrambling – on one occasion I took off my rucksack and dropped it down ahead of me a couple of metres. For the most part it was steep rock and stones that could be walked with care. As I descended, the steep slope turned to wet bog and grass interspersed with stone that created its own challenge. Later, as I drove away along Gleninagh Valley and glanced across at Bencorrbeg, I marvelled that I had really descended that slope. But of course such slopes always look more impressive when viewed head on, and the reality is that an experienced walker will manage it if they use common sense