Bangor Trail, Walks in IrelandLast Tuesday I was joined by two friends to trek The Bangor Trail in County Mayo.  Weather was perfect as we loaded our rucksacks with 2 litres of water each and enough food as we thought it would only take 6 hours. What we ended doing was a full Marathon across what must be some of the most mountainous bog in Ireland.

Starting in Bangor we headed into the Nephin hills along a boggy marshy track. It was very wet even though the track was all covered with small stones and loose boulders.

The scenery was spectacular with Croagh Patrick beckoning us in the far distance partly covered by the misty clouds.  A burial site made of large stone facings could be seen on top of one of the jagged peaks.Walking in North Mayo, Ireland
Our first stop for lunch was beside a beautiful river that was cut out by a glacier thousands of years ago.   It now meanders effortlessly through the bog. We cross a bridge and its then we all sigh, as one of the lads decides to walk a little further off the chosen path so as we can claim a full 26 mile Marathon route rather than 22  that’s on the map.

As we reach the summit of our journey we pass a small weather station that looks like an overgrown tree pot.  A waterfall trickles majestically downwards beside us as we photo Scardan lake full of brown trout,  Why? Because this area is so inaccessible.

Walking in Mayo, IrelandThe Rescue services say that The Bangor Trail is one of the most inhospitable places to get lost or injured in as no road or house can be seen within 10 miles of your position.  If a plane went down (God Forbid) the ground is so marshy that the only way in is by air.  This frightened me when I went up to my waist in a quicksand type boghole.  I was not badly injured but had to take small steps for the remaining 10 miles as I protected my ankle.

Spare dry socks are a must on this journey which some of us had to change beside a beautiful Ash tree, reportedly the only tree on this whole route.  Sandwiches came out again at the half way hut(pictured) in which hung a framed map which thankfully showed us we were 2/3’s of the way home.

Glorious gorges etched into the mountain side were covered with fern and heather.  Up ahead I could see Letterkeen Forest at Srahmore which was a welcome sight as I felt I was holding up the other two experienced trekkers with my small steps.Walking in Ireland, Mayo

While the ascent on this trail was only 300 metres the terrain was very difficult having to watch every step leaving little time to view the scenery which at times was boring as it was all BOG.

After 9 hours I limped back to our car, which we had left near Newport earlier and there was not a happier man when I climbed into a hot bath at home prepared by my wife Nuala. (Brandy in Hand).  Home Sweet Home.