2017 Challenge Walk

Carrauntoohil on Sunday, May 7th

Complete the Four Peaks 2017 Challenge by climbing the highest peak in each of the four provinces in 2017.  Each member who is successful in climbing all four peaks will receive the Four Peaks Challenge 2017 Award.

The first of the Four Peaks 2017 Challenge is Mweelrea (814 metres), Connaught’s highest mountain.  This will take place during the Easter Weekend in Westport (April 14th to April 18th).

The second of the Four Peaks 2017 Challenge is Carrauntoohil at 1,038 metres (3,406 feet) Munster’s and Ireland’s highest mountain and a worthy challenge for any hill walker. This challenge takes place on Sunday, May 7th. Members may have a number of opportunities to climb Carrauntoohil during the summer months.

The third of the Four Peaks 2017 Challenge is Lugnaquilla 925 metres (3,305 feet) which is situated in the Wicklow Mountains. Backpacker members will be able to climb Leinster’s highest mountain on a date during the summer.

Slieve Donard (850 metres) Northern Ireland’s, and Ulster’s highest mountain is the final challenge and is provisionally slotted in for September.

To register for the Four Peaks Challenge send an e-mail to info@corkbackpackers.ie with the subject “Four Peak Challenge” and your name, mobile number and e-mail address.


Mweelrea (814 metres)

Four Peaks 2017 Challenge - Mweelrea

The sun catches Mweealrea

Mweelrea (from Irish Cnoc Maol Réidh, meaning “smooth bald hill”) is a mountain in County Mayo, Republic of Ireland. With a height of 814 metres (2,670 feet), it is the highest point in the province of Connacht and the 34th highest in Ireland. The mountain overlooks Killary Harbour and the Atlantic coast, and as such weather conditions can change very rapidly and this poses particular challenges for climbers who are inexperienced or have limited navigation abilities.

From the east the mountain is well protected by outlying ridges and boggy ground as well as a cliff line to the east of the main summit. The easiest ascent is probably by starting on the coast to the west of the mountain and ascending gentle slopes, but even from this side climbers need to navigate carefully as cloud or mist can obscure the summit very rapidly. Access across land/farms may be a problem from this side however so climbers need to consult with local landowners before entering land there. The summit does provide stunning views of the surrounding area, including views of County Galway and Mayo, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Carrauntoohil (1038m)

Carrauntoohil (Irish Corrán Tuathail) is the highest peak in Ireland. It is 1,038 metres (3,406 ft) high and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range. The ridge northward leads to Ireland’s second-highest peak, Beenkeragh (1,010 m). The ridge heading westward leads to the third-highest peak, Caher (1,001 m). Carrauntoohil overlooks three bowl-shaped valleys, each with its own lakes. To the east is the Hag’s Glen or Coomcallee (Com Caillí, “hollow of the Cailleach”), to the west is Coomloughra (Com Luachra, “hollow of the rushes”). To the south is Curragh More (Currach Mór, “great marsh”).

Four Peaks 2017 Challenge Carrauntoohil

.                                      The Cross at the Summit of Carrauntoohil

Locals erected a steel Christian cross, 5 metres (16ft) on the summit in 1976. On November 21st a gang of unknown vandals cut down the cross. A team of volunteer re-erected the cross on Saturday, Nov. 29.



The Scottish Mountaineering Club classify Carrauntoohil as a Furth, i.e. a three thousander footer furth or “outside of” Scotland.  As a result hikers sometimes refer to it to as one of the Irish Munros. The mountain is most often climbed from the north-east, along the Hag’s Glen and up the steep Devil’s Ladder to the col between Carrauntoohil and Cnoc na Toinne, and then north-west to the summit. The route has become more dangerous in recent years due to loose stones and crowding. No special equipment is needed to climb the mountain, but caution is advised. Alternatively, one can walk the two other 1,000 m peaks in a “horseshoe” trip, starting from the west. The traverse from highest point to the second highest involves a light scramble.

Lugnaquilla (925 metres)

From Irish: Log na Coille, meaning “hollow of the wood” is a 925-metre (3,035 ft) tall mountain in County Wicklow, Ireland.

Four Peaks 2017 Challenge - Lugnaquilla

Lugnaquilla appears as the trail crests the saddle between Lugduff and Mullacor

It is the highest peak of the Wicklow Mountains range, the highest in the province of Leinster, and the 13th highest peak in all Ireland. Informally referred to as one of the Irish Munroe, it is classed as a Furth by the Scottish Mountaineering Club.
Views, on a clear day, extend east across the Irish Sea to the hills of the Llŷn Peninsula and mountains of Snowdonia in Wales, and west to the mountains of Munster.

Its proximity to Dublin ensures that Lugnaquilla is a popular mountain with hillwalkers. The three popular approaches are from Fenton’s Pub in the Glen of Imaal, Glenmalure and Aghavannagh.  The shortest direct route from the Glen of Imaal is via Camara Hill that skirts the military artillery range. Lugnaquilla is a bulky mountain, with a large plateau-type summit.  There are steep glacial corries on two sides called “North Prison” and “South Prison”.

Slieve Donard (850 metres)

The Great Wall in the Mourne Mountains

Slieve Donard; from Irish: Sliabh Dónairt, meaning “Dónairt’s mountain”) is an 850-metre (2,790ft) mountain in County Down, Northern Ireland. Part of the Mourne Mountains, it is the highest peak in Northern Ireland and in the wider province of Ulster. It is also the 19th highest peak on the island of Ireland. Slieve Donard sits near the town of Newcastle on the eastern coast of County Down, only 2 miles (3 km) from the Irish Sea.

The Mourne Wall – built in the early 20th century – runs up the western and southern slopes of the mountain. The wall joins a small stone tower at the summit. On the summit there are the remains of two prehistoric burial cairns. One of the cairns is the remains of the highest passage tomb in Ireland. In Irish mythology the mountain is associated with, and took the name from the mythical figures Boirche and Slángha. It was later associated with, and named after, Saint Donard, who was said to have made the summit his hermitage. Up until the 1830s, people would climb the mountain as part of a yearly pilgrimage, which may have originally been a Lughnasadh ritual. Royal Engineers camped on the summit for four months in 1826 as part of the Ordnance Survey’s Principal Triangulation.

New Walkers are welcome to join us for a trial hill walk by signing up online or in person at Counihan’s Pub, Pembroke Street, Cork on the Wednesday before the walk from 9.00pm.