Put your body to the test and travel across the incredible Maamturks in Connemara
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We're all about feeling good, keeping fit, exploring and heading on new adventures, friends.
So in a bid to find a new and challenging grind right here at home, we asked entrepreneur and blogger John Burke (he has climbed Everest lads!) to give us some expert advice.
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We've also teamed up with MINI Ireland whose mission it is to discover the best of Ireland when it comes to food, culture and activities. MINI is celebrating 60 years too!
They're even offering '48 hours in a MINI' to anyone hoping to discover their range and indeed Ireland itself - so no excuses!
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In his own words, here's what John had to say about his travels across the Maamturks of Connemara. (It sounds difficult, but boy will you feel alive after!)
"Connemara is a place that has captured the heart of many a visitor. The landscape, some say, is the most spectacular on Earth, but I still favour my home county's Burren for that title!
For some reason, all but one day of our climb was in glorious weather. Lucky timing, I guess.
One particular challenge is to cover the Maamturks on foot - the little sister of the Twelve Bens at the other side of the Inagh Valley.
The route stretches for approximately 25km, with a vast number of summits along the way. We counted 16 but think we ended up doing a couple of them multiple times due to navigational disagreements!
The key to this day is stamina, preparation and great navigation skills. Without all of those, it's one to leave behind.
We left my home in Ennis at about 4.30am for a start time, I had hoped, of 6am.
It ended up being closer to 7am, so we had to be very conscious of the timings ahead.
A quick stop on the top of every second or third summit ensured we got the photos to remember the day by.
We soaked up the views all around us. It's the closest thing I've experienced to being immersed in the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. It feels like a world away from civilisation and mindfulness at its best with my phone well tucked away.
We came across a placed named ‘Mamean’ which is a site of pilgrimage dedicated to St. Patrick. It was surreal to stop there and appreciate the work done by dedicated believers in preparing this alter and shrine, where I understand mass can take place, on occasions.
I hope they have an easier way to get to it than across the mountain. We took a long break here, as being a low point, we knew we were facing another uphill immediately after eating.
My lasting memory of this day was the final stretch and the lights of Leenane - famed for The Quiet Man movie. We were quiet men ourselves at this stage!
I think we were about 14 hours into the day, moving fast, but doubling up on some peaks.
As we approached the village, the sounds of people enjoying an evening in local inns certainly built up our thirst. We could see the sympathy in their faces as they saw us approaching like bedraggled Martians landing into their town.
A cup of tea, a taxi and it was back to our cars at the starting point close to Maam Cross.
So, make it a summers day, book an experienced guide, be well equipped with skills and fitness.
NUIG Mountaineering Club organise the Maamturks Challenge each year which is worth considering also. Shorter days I've enjoyed in Connemara included the Diamond Hill Trail and the Glencoaghan Horseshoe - both challenging and exhilarating also.
That settles it. Time to get the burn on ladies!
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