Safety on the Maumturks Walk.

Computer Models
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Equivalent Names

Distance Conversion

Comment Form

Alternative Routecard

GPS Route (provisional)


Safety on the Maumturks Walk.

This is not a walk for beginners.  If you haven't done walks with about 1500m climbing (5000 ft) or more, or if you haven't done walks that take over 10 hours you aren't ready for it.  Try doing the county tops or a shorter "long walk" such as the Galtees or the Blackstairs.  Work up to it with a club.

Apart from the physical challenge there is the difficulty of navigation and route finding.  At least 6 days out of 10 there is mist on some of the route and sometimes on all of it.  There is a local weather system on the Bens and the Turks which makes things even more variable than elsewhere. A day starting out in bright sunshine may change to rain/ mist with high winds.  Get instruction from a club or course on navigation and practice before you try here.  My routecard, this site or guidebooks don't replace your effort.  And get the gear.

On each of the organised walks of 1997 and 1998 someone was sufficiently injured to need to be ferried to hospital by helicopter.  I understand that apart from the fatal accident in 1999 mentioned below, that there was another rescue also. Don't go without first aid gear, bivvy bags etc. Be prepared to look after yourself and this does not mean relying on a mobile phone and expecting that will solve a problem.  On many days on the higher ground it is unlikely that a helicopter could reach you in the mist.  The nearest mountain rescue team could easily take half a day to reach you.

The following information was culled from RTE's website on Apr 25th 1999 and other emails that I have received.

Hillwalkers body removed.
The body of Mr. Michael Crosby, 42,   from Peterswell, Co. Galway was located by Mayo Mountain rescue at 5am on Sunday 25th Apr. 1999. It was removed by helicopter at around 8 am.  He was involved with radio stewarding on the checkpoint at Pt. 578, the final point on the Maamturk Walk. He slipped on the descent to Leenane and I am led to believe fractured his skull.

He watched throughout the day for the 210 hill walkers on the Maam Turks, until 10.30 pm when all were accounted for. The tragic incident occurred as he was descending in the dark with his companions, half way down the final approach to Leenane. His companions failed to find him, and quickly raised the alarm. His son has also helped on a checkpoint and had already arrived in Leenane with his group.

I am not aware of the exact location of the tragic accident, but a general description of the descent is here.

I have received further email comment about the accident here. and will include anything else I receive.  This website offers sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of Michael, who died serving others.

Direction of the walk.

This site has shown the route going towards Leenane.  This is the traditional route, however of course it is possible to walk in the opposite direction.  Going away from Leenane, generally south east, entails slightly more climbing since what would then be at the end of the walk is at 99m above the sealevel of Leenane.  Over the years the organised walk has occasionally gone away from Leenane.  The route used then starts up Leenane Hill from just outside Leenane on the road towards Maam, not quite the same route as the walk described here.  It joins the usual route at the Col of Despondency (which then is known as the Frolic of Descent).


NUI Galway MC  run the organised walk in mid April.

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I snapped a pic of one of the prolific UCGMC photographers! Photo: At L. Mám Ochóige. 1998

Organised Event - This is an example (from '99) of the sort of guidelines from the organisers.

The following came from a general letter sent to me by the organisers.

The Maamturks this year will be run in the same direction as last year, i.e. south to north.  The walk will be starting at the carpark at the base of Corcog (grid ref. L 966 498)  where  registration will be taking place.  Registration will commence at 7am and will close at 8am or when the walk limit of 300 is reached.  The cost will be £ 8. 
For the walk all hikers will be required to bring the correct hiking equipment.    (Strong boots, waterproof jacket, rainpants, warm clothing, and sufficient food for the day), and all hikers irrespective of whether they are walking on their own or as part of a group are required to have their own map(s) and compass and must be proficient navigators.  The maps which may be used are Tim Robinson’s “The Mountains of Connemara” hiker’s map, which covers the entire area, and the Discovery series maps No.37, 38, 44 and 45 ( No. 38, 44 and 45 are needed for the first section from Corcog to Mam Ean and from then on the No.37 is used).

The walk continues from Corcog to Leenane along the well defined ridge of the mountains. There will be seven checkpoints along the way.  YOU MUST HAVE YOUR REGISTRATION CARD   PUNCHED AT EACH CHECKPOINT.  The checkpoints are at the following locations:

Checkpoint     Grid ref.
Corcog summit                                                  L 953 492
Mam Ean (Patrick’s Well) L 904 504
Binn Idir an Da log (702m) L 888 528
Loch Mham Ochoige L 879 536
(Finish 1) L 883 553
Binn Bhriocain(LetterBreckaun) L 855 551
Binn Bhan (Maamturkmore) L 856 568
578m (Leenane hill) L 861 598
Finish 2 L 874 617

There will be a cut-off in operation at Loch Mham Ochoige the time for
which is currently set at 2pm but is subject to change.   The time
will be stated to you on the day.  The system for the cut-off is if
you fail to arrive at the checkpoint before the designated time your
card will be taken from you and you will be advised to walk down to
Finish 1 (located down at the road). Failure to obey a stewards
directions result in immediate disqualification from the walk. If
during the hike for any reason you wish to finish early you must
inform a steward so that we know of your whereabouts  and so that he
or she may advise you as to the best way to descend.  For those of you
who arrive before the cut-off and continue to Leenane the finish is
located  by the   hotel (large pink building).  YOU MUST HAND IN YOUR
REGISTRATION CARD IMMEDIATELY.  There will be some food and drink available at the finish and there will be a bus running from the
finish back to the start on a regular basis.
Again if you have any further questions do not hesitate to call us and we will reply as soon as we possibly can.

If anyone else wants a link to a site with useful information or photos about the Maumturks, just contact me.  You can use the comment form below.


This is a description of the route which you may find helpful in preparing to navigate.  It is also referred to in various places in the text and on map extracts. It has total lengths and various running totals such as % climbed.   Routecard. 

Recent organised walks take a more northerly route after Meall Cheo - If you want to do this, take the ridge towards Búcán and at the middle of the col turn north and head down the valley there to the Western Way and then east along it to Leenane.


The references section includes acknowledgements and a description of sources. References.

Equivalent Names.

The rich diversity of competing names makes this table necessary.  Names.

Distance Conversion.

Most measurements in the "The Maamturks Ridge Walk" are metric.  If you prefer the older systems such as feet, yards or miles why not use this handy calculator.  Conversion.

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A selection of the maps available of the Maamturks area. This includes some of what are now historical oddities!  Maps.

Harveys are a mapmaking company, producing maps for walkers in popular walking areas in Britain.  They brought out a waterproof map of Connemara at 1:30,000 scale in Easter 2000

Information on computer surface modelling.

You will have noticed in various places the use of simulated landscapes.  I used these for various reasons, for example because the landform is just so complicated in places that it is hard in a small web photo to illustrate what is actually happening.   Also the number of times you can get good weather suitable for photography isn't great.  The simulated surfaces are a handy alternative because you can simplify the landscape and allow trial of different vantage points.

Compare graphic and photo from the same vantage point. Here.

VRML.  (Virtual Reality Modelling Language)  You may wish to view the areas modelled with more control.  You can do this by installing VRML extensions to your browser.   It comes built into some versions of MSIE 5, however later versions of MSIE 5 do not seem to work.  One option is to use a free viewer available from
It takes a while for the image to develop.  Use the Study option to bring it
into view.  Having done that you can view the models from any direction and move around them.  I wouldn't claim any huge advantage for this,  given the current state of  VRML, still it is interesting.  If you are doing it, note that it can take a substantial length of time to start as in three or four minutes.  You may for a while see the model without overlay, which seems to load later.  Once loaded the models are extremely responsive.


Comments about the walk or this site welcome.  Comments about particular occasions you have tried the walk are also welcome.
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From "The Illustrated Maamturks Walk"

Part of "Hillwalking in Ireland" at