The 35th Annual NUI Galway Mountaineering Club Maamturks Challenge will take place on Easter Saturday, 3rd April. The walk is considered one of the toughest in Ireland, covering 24.3km over tough, mountainous terrain with a total ascent over the course of the walk of 2336 metres. Starting in Maam, the walk runs along most of the Maamturks ridge before finishing in Leenane. Given that it is such a huge test of endurance and fitness, this is not a walk advised for beginners. Indeed, the walk is seen by many seasoned walkers as the ultimate Challenge walk.
Registration for the Challenge Walk will take place at the base of Corcog between 5am and 7am or until the last of the 200 participants is reached. The cost of registering on the day is €25. This year the club are also offering participants the opportunity to register in advance for the discounted fee of €20. The main benefit of pre-registering is that less time is spent queuing on the morning of the event. The registration form is available from the walk website.
Roadside parking will be available at the starting point and a bus will be provided to return participants to their cars at the end of the walk. A list of accomodation within close proximity of the starting point is available at http://www.nuigmc.com/maamturks/.
Please note that walkers will be required to check in at all of the checkpoints along the route and have their Walk Cards punched. The cut-off points at Lough Mham Ochoige and the Col of Despondency will be implemented at 2pm and 5pm respectively. Unfortunately, participants who fail to make the cut-offs will be requested to make their way to the nearest designated exit point.
In the interest of safety it is required that all walkers should be properly equipped for a tough days walking with strong boots, waterproof jacket/pants, warm clothing and sufficient food/drink for the day. All participants, irrespective of whether they are part of a group, are required to have their own maps and compass and be proficient in navigation. GPS is not to be considered a substitute.
Further information about the walk is available on http://www.nuigmc.com/maamturks/.
Walking and Hiking Ireland are planning an article on the various Challenge Walks in Ireland. If you have participated in the Maamturks Challenge or any other Challenge Walks in the past, we would love to hear of your experience.