Benbaun (Binn Bhán) is the highest mountain in Co. Galway and the 12 Bens range in Connemara. The name means ‘White Peak’ and at 729 metres is an impressive sight from the Inagh valley below. It sits at the head of Glen Corbet and is the subject of one of Irelands best mountain walks, the Glencorbet Horseshoe. Our route follows the horseshoe and takes in Benfree and Benbrack as well as the impressive Benbaun.
As with many routes in the Connemara mountains car parking is an issue and with only a few places to park it is important to consider the locals and the access they require, so please park responsibly.
Our hike starts at a small layby at the end of a minor road at GR L 796 574. There is parking here for 4 or 5 cars. From the car park follow the track uphill and then down to the river. This needs to be crossed and after heavy rain can present a problem, you might have to rethink your day in this case. The track crosses the river at a ford and this is the best place to cross to the far bank.
Head steeply up the grassy slope ahead to reach the broad ridge of Binn Charrach before turning southwest to follow the increasingly rocky and steep spur to the summit of Benbaun (729m). After taking a little time to absorb the magnificent views of the 12 Bens and the Maumturks head north initially and then northwest to descend to a saddle followed by a re-ascent to the narrow grassy top of Benfree (638m).
From here there is a steep and awkward grassy descent to another saddle but this time, instead of heading up the next hill, we traverse north and drop into the large col at Maumnascalpa.
Our route now heads northwest again, up a broad and rocky spur to eventually reach the summit of our last peak, Benbrack (582m). Continue north down to the saddle between Benbrack and another (much smaller) Benbaun and drop down to the right and head east to a broad grassy ridge that descends gently back to our start point.
This hike is approx. 13.0 km with 1085 metres of ascent, it will take around 6 hours to complete.
For more information and to check the next date for this hike please email: email@example.com
Russ Mills is the founder and principle guide of Mountaintrails.ie, the premier guiding company based in Dublin.