The Maamturks Challenge is in my opinion one of the best and strongest tests of endurance in the Irish calendar.
It’s a tough 25 km hike with an ascent of 2300 metres. Those figures can be quite deceptive, as the 2300 metres of ascent is not one gradual climb but rather it’s a series of steep climbs and descents.
The name of one of cols towards the end of walk is a real giveaway to the nature of this walk. It is aptly named “the col of despondency”. When you get to it you will know why it got its name. The fatigue from the day’s unending ups and downs and the rather uninviting view to the next seemingly insurmountable climb towards Leenane Hill. Here you will see people panting, falling, and crawling – in fact anything to get themselves up that last pull. Should you consider quitting at this point, well I’m afraid the available options are pretty unattractive also.
But after all the trials and tribulations of the course and you have eventually made it to Leenane village, there is a great sense of elation as the final volunteers mark your route card and the doors of Leenane Hotel open up for a night of comradery and banter over food and wine.
In 2019, the Maamturks challenge will take place on 6th of April, starting at 5:00 am in the morning at Irish Grid Coordinates: L 964 497.
A route of the challenge can be viewed from the following View Ranger site. A GPX of the route can also be exported and imported into the GPS device of your choice.
My last time to do it was in 2017.
The video will give you an idea of the terrain.
A GPX of the route can be viewed and download from View Ranger.