With its neatly waymarked trails, its convenient proximity to the Connemara National Park Visitor Centre and its suitability for all ages and stages (suitably fit and equipped). This is a true walkers paradise and whilst only standing 1,460 feet (445m) from sea level it really is a splendid challenge for non-mountaineers
What you see from the Visitor Centre is a shapely cone, high against the eastern sky, diamond shaped. On a bright morning it glitters like a diamond, as the west Galway sunshine reflected off the polished quartzite that forms the mountain.
Make sure you grab a leaflet showing the panorama on view from the peak before making your way off up the trail through the birch scrub and boggy grassland trickling with yesterday’s rain.
The path steepens through a wide bogland, full of milky pale marsh orchids and pink fairy bonnets of lousewort, to reach a monolithic stone at the halfway point.
This the ideal place to halt and take in the really stupendous view back over Barnaderg Bay and Ballynakill Harbour, the sea-beast profiles of Inishbofin and Inishark out beyond the jaws of the inlet.
Tully Mountain looms dome-shaped over the harbour, and to the north Kylemore Lough stretches away towards the blunt wall of the Maumturk Mountains.
From here the blue trail falls away towards the valley, and the red Upper Diamond trail, very well-engineered and drained.
Now the cone shape of the mountain changes to a long, knobbly spine upheld against the clouds. Streamlets chinked and trickled unseen.
The path steepens further, zig-zagging up through the rough quartzite. You’ll find feral goats keeping a watchful eye as you ascend.
Now look east into the heart of the Twelve Bens, a dun and olive semi-circle of peaks and ridges, like a wire bent into sharp undulations under an army blanket.
The downward path leads back to the halfway stone, then on down through sphagnum bog and a valley of flowering gorse and rowan trees.
When you look up notice the mountain has shifted shape once more, the monster spine reverting to the handsome gleaming cone as viewed from the visitor centre.
This walk is truly a treasure and even with my somewhat unfit stature I found it bracing, spectacular and above all doable.
For this day tour and more please visit our website at: https://wildatlanticwaydaytours.com/