Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
1Can I wear fell running shoes?
No. All participants must wear boots with ankle support. Only walkers with all the appropriate gear will be given a walk card at the start of the walk.
2I’m relatively new to hill walking. Is the walk suitable for me?
The terrain, distance and prevailing weather conditions make this one of the toughest challenge walks in Ireland. We strongly recommend that only experienced hill walkers should attempt the route.
3Are there refreshments provided during the walk?
In order to keep costs down, there are no refreshments provided during the course of the walk. There are however, light refreshments provided at the finish (Leenaun).
4Is water provided durning the walk?
No, NUIGMC club members must carry all the required gear and materials to the checkpoint and as such it is not feasible to bring water to also bring enough water for the participants. If you’d prefer to carry less water, purification tablets can be used to purify the water from the various lakes along the route (particularly Loch Mháim Ochoige).
5What happens if I or a member of my group has an accident?
For minor incidents each checkpoint is equipped with a first aid kit, while all checkpoints will have at least one member with basic first aid training. For more serious accidents, the entire walk comes under the control of the emergency services (Galway Mountain Rescue).
6What is the best map to use?
That’s up to your own preference. Harvey’s map has the entire route on one map and is more detailed (1:30,000), but many people are more comfortable with the OS series. The important thing is to aim for the grid references of the checkpoints, and not the names associated with them (which differ on the different maps).
7Can I use a GPS instead of a map?
By all means bring a GPS as your primary mode of navigation if you wish, but make sure to bring a map and compass as back up!
8What time does the event start at?
The Maamturks Challenge starts at 5 am. Participants receive their respective numbered Walk Card, complete a gear check and depart in the darkness up Corcog. Participants can depart between 5-6 am. The distribution of Walk Cards will stop at 6 am (in a change to previous years of 7 am – due to dwindling numbers availing of a later starting time).
9Can we leave before 5 am?
No. Participants will not have their numbered Walk Cards distributed by NUIG MC. Volunteers need sufficient time to ascend to the checkpoints on the hills to validate Walk Cards of the participants and keep track of the progress and well-being of the participants. Otherwise, participants' well-being and safety would be compromised.
10Why do we need a Walk Card?
The Walk Card is a written record, used to track the progress of the participant. It is validated at each checkpoint on the hills and the number of the participant and what time they arrive at a checkpoint is recorded. In this way, the progress of the participant is recorded. For Walk Control, this is vital information and allows the Club, GMRT and GREC to keep track of the participants.
11Are there toilets en route?
No. Participants are asked to use facilities before attending the event and be respectful on the hills as the Club has received permission from the landowners to hold the event on their farmlands.
12Are there bins en route?
No. Participants are asked to leave no trace on the mountains. The NUIG MC Maamturks Challenge adheres to Mountaineering Ireland’s policy Leave No Trace. Participants are required to bring their own waste off the hills. The Club’s volunteers are not obliged to dispose of the waste of 200+ participants. Please note that organic materials (e.g. banana skins, apple cores etc) are not native to the soil type of Connemara and will take several months to biodegrade in a compost heap. There are bin facilities in Leenane village, agreed by Leenane Hotel (TBC again this year).
13Are our cars safe?
NUIG MC volunteers will assist with the safe parking of cars at the base of Corcog. We encourage you to car pool. Avoid leaving valuables in your vehicles or lock in the boot e.g. GPS, phones, laptops, wallets. Clifden Garda are informed of the event. If any suspicious activity is noted, the community will inform the Garda Siochana in Clifden on 095 21021. NUIGMC accepts no responsibility for the safety of participants' vehicles
14Is there a bus to the start of the Challenge?
No. There is a shuttle bus service run from Leenane village to the base of Corcog by John Greaney, running from 15:00 – 20:00 (or until all participants who are destined for Finish 3 have completed the Challenge). The bus service departs Leenane Hotel carpark every 30 minutes or so (when full).