Benbulben A guided hike with an international flavour

It was a pleasure to welcome Terry and Cherry from Malaysia who took time during their busy itinerary to hike Benbulben, They were joined by Oonagh from Dublin and her Son William and girlfriend Melissa who are on visit home from Australia. Thanks to all for choosing High Hopes Hiking for their Benbulben experience. We are delighted to report that the expected rain held off and only arrived as we reached the cars. It could not have been more perfect.

Mweelra 814 A guided hike to the hightest mountain in Connacht

Mweelrea at 814m commands a lofty position being the highest mountain in Connacht. 
It has a mind of its own when it comes to weather predictions. Today was no exception. 
Our guided hike commenced in the Doolough Valley on the upper shores of the lough. The heavy rain right from the start created a sense of apprehension as we looked up into the large corrie and our ascent route via the ramp. 
However shortly the rain cleared and we enjoyed the views of the large rocky amphitheater as we approached the ramp. On reaching Benbury the fog had obscured all views so we had to walk almost blindfolded across the plateau and ascend to the summit. A brief clearing in the fog opened up glimpse of silver strand and the ocean. 
Thanks to all who travelled from many parts of the Island even as far as Beara in Cork. 
Congratulation upon reaching the highest point in Connacht.

Benbulben hike with the Taylor extended family

Delighted to guide the extended Taylor family on Benbulben at the weekend. Unfortunately the fluffy blanket of fog enveloped the mountain obscuring the views. In spite of the conditions it was a great day especially for one lady who celebrates a special day this weekend. A very happy birthday Cathy.

Benbaun and Benfree guided hike in Connemara National Park

Today's adventure took us to Connemara National Park. Our mission was to climb Benbaun the highest peak in the 12 Bens also the highest mountain in County Galway. We also captured Benfree. Only 10 more to go. It was a most enjoyable day and the pictures say it all. Thanks to a great group of participants who took it all in their stride.

Benbulben to Benwisken guided hike

Had the pleasure of showing some of the finest scenery that Sligo has to offer to a great group from Dublin today. These men came ready for action and they sure pushed me hard right throughout the 20k hike. We completed the circuit in record time and after a quick scoot across Grange Bog we were back at the cars exactly at the planned finishing time of 4pm. Thank you Seamus and co for choosing High Hopes Hiking; Looking forward to our next adventure

Sligo's Royal Peaks guided hike

Easter Monday started bright and dry but it was not to last. By the time we reached the summit of Kings Mountain the winds were gusting over 125kph. That combined with showers of snow made for difficult progress and navigation. However we still managed to summit Slievemore and climbed upward to Spot height 597 on Benwisken. At this point we experienced sub zero temperatures with a wind chill of -9c. A unanimous decision was to cut short the final leg and make our descent. Thanks to all who participated without as much as a murmur. They probably were all too frozen to do so. .

The Mourne Mountains

We celebrated St Patricks Day with a hike in the beautiful Mourne Mountains situated in County Down overlooking the seaside town of Newcastle. Our hike started at Meelmore Lodge and after a short climb we arrived at the Hares Gap which marks the exit point of the infamous Brandy Pad an ancient smugglers route which served as popular track to evade the revenue in the transport of illicit goods such as spice coffee silk and of course Brandy. We then followed the Mourne Wall to the summits of Slievenaglogh, Slieve Corragh, Slieve Commedagh and finally to Slieve Donard the highest peak in Ulster. The return route followed along the Brandy Pad to the Hares Gap and back to our starting point at Meelmore Lodge. 

Benbulben Hike in association with Celtic Fringe Festival - 23rd September 2017

The hike up Benbulben today was run in association with the Celtic Fringe Festival hosted by the Grange Armada Development Association. It was fitting to note that on a day when we remembered the tragedy that struck the Armada ships at Streedagh Strand in1586, when 3 of their fleet retreating from an unsuccessful bid to enter England were shipwrecked due to a sever storm, that we too encountered storm force winds during our hike. However I am glad to report that no retreat was considered by a large group of hikers who travelled from all over Ireland to participate in the event. Well done to all and we ended the day in high spirits with not a cobweb in sight. Thanks for all who came and completed the hike safely in what can only be described as challenging conditions.


Welcome to the Bens - Saturday 9th September 2017

Today's adventure brought us to Connemara National Park and a climb up the Mweelin Horseshoe taking in 3 peaks on route. We started up the steep slopes of Benbaun, although smaller that the its bigger relative close by, it nevertheless presented a good challenge and the steep slopes had us well warmed up. At the summit cairn we encountered strong winds measuring over 80kph which continued throughout the hike. The fog descended also making for challenging navigation. Making our way out along the ridge and up to the high point of the day to Benbrack at 577m we got a good taste of the type of terrain the 12 Bens are known for. Lots of large slabs of quartzite. Visibility was zero. Passing by the small summit lake, the hike continued along the ridge to the final summit of Knockbrack. Descending down over some very steep sections of rock we arrived in the Mweelin Valley. Exiting the valley through the now disused Kylemore Farm we made a short walk back along the road to our cars parked along the roadside after being being disallowed the usual parking in Kylemore Abbey car park. Appears this is a new ruling even in spite of the fact that quite a few of the group had already used the coffee shop. It went without saying that there was not much of an appetite to return back for coffee after the lack of welcome earlier in the day. Thanks to all who came and participated in the adventure.

On the summit of Benbrack . 

On the summit of Benbrack

Benbulben - Another guided hike up Sligo's iconic mountain

Another great adventure today up the mighty Benbulben, with a great group from many different parts of Ireland both north and south. The day started out with the usual low cloud and drizzle. However by the time we were ready to commence our hike things moved more to an optimistic note. We completed the hike from start to finish without as much as a drop of rain and enjoyed good visibility throughout. 
Thanks to all who participated and travelled to climb Benbulben. Well done and we look forward to many more adventures in the future. 
A special word of thanks from High Hopes Hiking for choosing us to assist in fulfilling your mission


Benbulben - Guided hike on Saturday 29th July 2017

We had a brilliant day up Benbulben today with a great bunch of people from many different parts of Ireland North and South. Tyrone, Armagh, Fermanagh, Sligo, Meath, and as far away as Malaysia and even San Francisco. 
Arrived at our planned meeting point in the pouring rain and not a sign of Benbulben. Felt seriously depressed at the prospect of another misty day on the mountain. 
However by the time we arrived at Lukes's Bridge the mountain appeared as the fog lifted. 
After a steep climb up onto the saddle we ambled along the plateau and enjoyed great views stopping briefly at the cave. 
We stopped for lunch in one of the sheltered north facing gullies. Then it was onward to the head.
Well done to all who fulfilled their ambition to climb this iconic mountain. For 13 members of the group it was their first time ever and especially delighted for Liz who plucked up enough courage to return after the washout of the 18th March. It was nice for her to actually see where she went on that previous occasion. 
Thanks to all who came today in spite of the bleakness of the early morning. We all went away in high spirits

Delighted to have Wendy from San Francisco, originally from Omagh, and assist her in fulfilling her long time ambition to climb Benbulben. 

Delighted to have Wendy from San Francisco, originally from Omagh, and assist her in fulfilling her long time ambition to climb Benbulben. 

Kings Gully hike to Glencar via the old Barytes mines.

 We enjoyed a great adventure hike today. Our route startedby climbing up Kings Gully. Kings Mountain looked ominous with lots of fog swirling around the higher reaches!!!
The pressure mounted as we made out up into it. A brief stop to recount the history of the Noble Six at the memorial cross. Then onward in a "white out" toward Pinnacle Gully. Suddenly the valley appeared into view. Relief all round, especially for High Hopes Hiking group leader..... 😂!!!! 
After refueling we decided to make a detour up to the old Barytes Mines at Glencarbury. The weather once more worsened and the rain came down and visibility was down to almost zero. Still all in high spirits, we did not delay but after a quick visit to the old mining works we headed back toward the Toormore/Glencar escarpment . 
Another stop once more to visit the Devils Chimney and the waterfall known as "Sruth Aigh ar an Airde", which translated literally means "The stream against the height". A unique feature of this waterfall is that at certain times it flows upward due to the updraught. 
A few brave hearts made their way down into the top of the waterfall. Today the motion of the water was downwards. We learned that this waterfall is the highest free fall one in Ireland. It sure is a long way down. 
We actually stood at one stage with a leg in each county. One in Leitrim and one in Sligo as the stream which feeds the waterfall also forms the county border. 
No day would be complete without coffee/tea and delicious cheese cake at the Tea Shed beside the lake. 
High Hopes Hiking wants to say thank you to all who participated in today's hikes and we look forward to many more days of fun and adventure.

Truskmore - Saturday 10th June 2017

High Hopes headed this morning to the Glenade valley for a hike to Truskmore. Already most of the group were waiting, ready and rearing to go. Soon we were heading up the track and on to the steep zig zag route to the plateau. The views of Glenade are stunning and we continued on to the summit of Truskmore. There we sat and enjoyed our lunch and celebrated the conquest of Sligo and Leitrim high spots. Congratulation to all. With everyone in high spirits we headed back down to the car park where Eliza suggested a slight deviation to the coffee shop at Drumcliffe. We needed no second bidding.

Thanks to all who came today and it was a pity that a couple of potential summiteers were unable to make it. We wish Dianne good health in hospital and Cathal's uncle a speedy recovery, also Sarah who had to cancel due to an illness. We look forward to having you join in another adventure soon.

Truskmore summit trig point. The highest point in County Sligo and Leitrim.  

Truskmore summit trig point. The highest point in County Sligo and Leitrim.