Looking over Ben Goram’s double summit to the Mayo coast and Clare Island.
Continued from Part 1. We had reached the summit of Croagh Patrick after what had been a tiring climb on a hot summer’s day, particularly on the last section up the steep, scree covered cone. Despite our tiredness, there is always a moment on reaching the top when the sense of accomplishment and the views put that to the back of your mind, and we found the energy for a quick walk around the summit area, circling the chapel. To the north was Clew Bay with its many islands, and beyond that, north Mayo, with Nephin Mountain, the Nephin Beg range, and the mountains on Achill Island all prominent. West, was Ben Goram, a twin-summited smaller mountain linked to Croagh Patrick, and the Atlantic, with Clare Island off the coast. South, Mweelrea, the highest mountain in Mayo and Connacht, dominated the skyline. East was the flatter countryside leading towards Ireland’s central plain. A magnificent vista.
The tiredness inevitably returned, and we sat for a while with our backs against the chapel, having a snack and re-hydrating. Soon, we had the energy again for another wander round the summit drinking in those views.
Somewhere out there in Clew Bay is what is now popularly known as John Lennon Island. It was bought by the great man, supposedly as a place to potentially retire to someday – as suggested by their names, both Lennon and McCartney were of Irish descent. Unfortunately, John was killed before he could enjoy his purchase. The island was sold by Yoko, who in a nice gesture, donated the proceeds to an orphanage.
To the northwest, we could see the two iconic peaks on Achill Island, Slievmore partially hidden, and further west, Croaghaun.
Just in case you’d wandered up here without knowing where you were!
Looking west to the Atlantic.
The view southwards.
Clare island in the west kept drawing my eye. A few weeks later we were on Achill Island, and Clare Island was again prominent. I would definitely love to visit it some day.
Wild country to the south, leading to Mweelrea.
Flat ground in the east filling much of central Ireland.
Full circle, round to Clew Bay again.
We now had a decision to make – we could return by the same route as on the ascent via the Pilgrim’s path, or we could extend our walk to the west. This would involve descending the steep western slope of Croagh Patrick, going over the lower peak, Ben Goram (559 metres), continuing the descent to the west to eventually arrive on a minor road. We could turn north on it, then join the coastal road, taking it back to our starting point in the car park at the foot of Croagh Patrick. It would be a long walk, but it would bring new sights and another summit, rather than returning over the same ground. Refreshed by our rest on the summit, we decided to go for the longer option.
Our next destination, Ben Goram with the double humps of its top in the west. The further of the two bumps is the actual summit.
So, it was off down the scree covered western slope, where in contrast to the busy eastern path, we had the entire slope to ourselves.
Continued in Part 3.