GSheehy: Track 4674 in area near Corcóg, Maamturks (Ireland)
Maumturk Manoeuvers In The Dark
Length: 28.0km, Creator time taken: 9h48m, Ascent: 2118m, Descent: 2341m
Places:Start at L9612549605, Corcóg, Cruiscín, Mullach Glas, Binn Mhór soir barr, Binn Mhór NE Top, Binn idir an dá Log (mullach thoir theas), Binn idir an dá Log, Cnoc na hUilleann (mullach thuaidh), Barr Log Riabhach, Binn Bhriocáin (mullach thoir thuaidh), Binn Bhán, Leenaun Hill Far North-West Top, end at L8720561868 15km NW from Start Logged as completed by 2
The full traverse of the Maumturks Challenge route is difficult on a good day and horrendous on a bad one.
But, what’s it like at night? It’s true that I’d started traverses on them before 3 am but I’d always been walking into the, eventual, light of day. Walking into the blackness of night would be a different type of challenge.
A conversation about this with Darren Frehill, who’s also a Na Sléibhte Hillwalking Club member and has a grá for the Maumturks mountains, on challenge walking plans ended with a “I’ll do that with you”. The plan was to be walking off Leenane Hill as the sun was coming up.
On the 1st March 2022 we thought that the forecast was on our side. A car in Leenane, a car under Corcóg and, if things turned against us, a friend on stand-by that we could ring. As we were walking through Crúiscín Darren’s phone began to ring, and ring, and ring. It sounded urgent, so he rang back and was greeted with ‘Maam Garda Station’. Someone had seen the car at Corcóg, the light of the head torches and, fearing for our safety, rang the Gardaí. They did whatever they do in tracing a phone number from a car registration.
We could see stars but no bit of moonlight at all. The levels of concentration that were required was like nothing we’d experienced before. We could barely make out the outlines of the mountains against the sky. Leaving aside the feeling of tiredness, we were doing pretty well up until just before Binn idir an dá Log (659m). The wind picked up, it got very cold and the rolling mist started to blow in and that made the navigation more difficult.
We decided to leave the mountain at Mám Ochóige. Rather than calling it a night and rousing our man on stand-by from his bed we made our way back to Leenane via Glenglosh and the road. We now know that it’s circa 6km longer to do this and you’re only cutting out about 750m of ascent via open mountain. It’s highly unlikely that anyone will ever do that walk - Corcóg to Leenane via Glenglosh and road - again, but sure there’s no point in doing half a walk when you’re out.
During the post-mortem of that walk we agreed that we had learned a lot from the experience and that the full task would be completed next time.
Roll on the 27th May and the forecast looked good. A no cloud/mist night, very little wind, lowest temperature of 3 degrees but still no moonlight.
This time we had a car at the finish, a car in Glenglosh (with the knowledge of the landowner) and a lift to Corcóg.
If you're doing this walk with someone, they have to be able to navigate. You probably will have been up since 5am/6am on the day of the walk, you may have to drive for over 3 hours to get there and navigating in the dark is extremely tiring on top of that. The navigation load has to be shared. We had done the Galty and Knockmealdown crossings at night as part of the prep but I don’t think anything can prepare you for the pitch-black that we had on the Maumturks.
Getting from Binn Chaoinigh to Mám Ochóige was difficult and Barrlugrevagh/Letterbreckaun to the Holy Well under Maumturkmore was a struggle. From our experience, whatever time it takes you on a good clear day to do the challenge route, just add about two hours to it for the difficulties of night.
Uploaded on: Wed, 1 Jun 2022 (07:03:20) Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/track/4674/ To download GPS tracks you must be enrolled and logged in. See "Login or enrol", top right - quick and easy.
Comment created by simon3 Jun-02
That's a superb achievement. It was interesting that the first attempt provoked a rescue response. I wonder how we can avoid anyone going to the trouble. The pics like that of Cassopeia were strong and full of meaning. The one at the Col of Despondency was, well, truly hangdog.
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