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Picture of Doodle - a 
black cat

Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Beast

While some may circumnavigate Islands in the Med, go fishing off a boat in Loch Linnhe or even go Loafing in the Lakes as their required pre-challenge warm up, others, in the know, head west for their fix of hill days.

North Mayo BoglandsThe North Mayo Boglands to the west of Slieve Carr

The hills of North Mayo offer some of the most boggy, roughest, toughest and best hillwalking there is and it's also the site of one of the Republic's most recently created National Parks. Its just the right sort of ground for preparing those legs for the TGO Challenge's West Coast of Scotland start. Among the Mayo Hills sits Slieve Carr, just to the east of The Bangor Trail & between the villages of Bangor & Newport.

The Nephin Beg Range from Slieve Carr

Some refer to Slieve Carr as "The Beast", and a quick look at the map - sheet 23 - revels why. The summit is around 14.5 km from the nearest carpark to the south and even longer from the north.

Those of a brave disposition may cry 'but surely cutting east after Knocklettercuss via Maumykelly to Slieve Carr's north ridge would give a shorter route'. On the map yes, but look at that first picture above again, that lovely light green shading on the map ( you know, the colour of Healy's shirt when he scored against England at Windsor Park) that's what it represents in Mayo, Bog and lots of it.

View to Achill Island in the distanceAchill Island in the distance

Of course, the millage mentioned does not take into account the diversions you make, whilst navigating through & around peat hags and the bottomless bogs. Quality training terrain for any aspirant challenger or old hand.

We climbed Slieve Carr from the south, via The Bangor Trail from Srahmore Lodge, Nephin Beg's south top. Nephin Beg, past Scardaum Lough, Corslieve to the large summit cairn of Slieve Carr. Whilst this gives a fine & long day route, to do it real justice a full traverse is what is required though.

So, starting from Bangor, that's the one in North Mayo not North Wales or Co. Down N.I., follow the Bangor Trail south till Slieve Alp. Then climb Tawnyanruddia & double back to Slieve Carr, descend steeply via Corslieve and down back onto the Bangor Trail, of course including Nephin Beg in the traverse would make a fine route a great route.

Once on the Bangor Trail again, follow it south where after crossing a second bridge it meets the Western Way by a bothy. From here you can either follow the Bangor Trail south on minor roads and one v.busy main road to Newport for food and a pint or two.

Slieve Carr from CarrafullSlieve Carr from Carrafull

However, with work being carried out on a linear walking route between Newport & Mulranny, it should be possible within the next year to join this & follow it west along the lower slopes of the Nephin Beg range, making a good 2-3 backpack from Bangor, with no road walking.

So leave the lakes to the tourists, north Wales to the rock-jocks and head west for next years pre-challenge walk & some proper Guinness.



Blogger Phil said...

Super stuff. Another area I knew nothing about! Ideal training indeed - and with added Guinness :-D

June 1, 2009 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Alan Sloman said...

Looking to find your route, I have only just realised that Norn Iron can't be part of Great Britain - as it is not on my Anquet Maps (Great Britain).

So what is it part of then?

June 2, 2009 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger michael gray said...

Hi Alan,
the OS have not released digital mapping for Norn Iron, and it doesn't look like they will. However, the walk is not in Norn Ireland, it is in the disloyal 26 counties, otherwise known as the euro zone!

June 4, 2009 at 8:59 PM  

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