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.
3How long is the walk distance?
We have measured the route distance as approximately 25km with 2300m ascent. Previous Participant's have tracked between 25-30km on the day depending on their respective routes between checkpoints. Please note that your own measurement or GPS tracking of the event route may be slightly more or less depending on the exact route that you take. Participants are required to check in at each of the checkpoints along the route but they must be self-sufficient to navigate between them themselves in all weather conditions.
4Are 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 warm refreshments provided at Finish 3 (Leenane Hotel).
5Is water provided durning the walk?
No, UGMC club members must carry all the required gear and materials to the checkpoint and as such it is not feasible to also bring enough water for the participants. If you’d prefer to carry less water, purification tablets / filters can be used to purify the water from the various lakes along the route (particularly Loch Mháim Ochoige).
6What 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).
7What is the best map to use?
That’s up to your own preference. To cover the entire route in one map, there are two options: Harvey’s Connemara map at 1:30,000 and since 2020 EastWest Mapping offer a Connemara map at 1:25,000 scale which offers considerable detail. There will be a limited number of EastWest Maps available for sale at Pre-Registration on Friday Evening in Keane's. Many people also use the Ordinance Survey (OS) Ireland maps, which are available in 1:50,000 scale, but you will requires more than one map to cover the full route. 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).
8Can 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! Given the extreme nature of the event, all participants must be self-sufficient at navigating themselves in even the most challenging whiteout conditions between checkpoints.
9What 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 Corcóg. Participants can depart between 5 -7 am. The distribution of Walk Cards & will stop at 7 am.
10Can we leave before 5 am?
No. Participants will not have their numbered Walk Cards distributed by UGMC. 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.
11Why 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.
12Are 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.
13Are there bins en route?
No. Participants are asked to leave no trace on the mountains. The UGMC Maamturks Challenge adheres to Mountaineering Ireland’s 'Leave No Trace' policy. Participants are required to bring their own waste off the hills. The Club’s volunteers are not obliged to dispose of the waste of 250+ 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 Leenaun Village, agreed by Leenane Hotel (TBC again this year).
14Are our cars safe?
UGMC volunteers will assist with the safe parking of cars at the base of Corcóg. We encourage you to car pool. Avoid leaving valuables in your vehicles or lock in the boot e.g. GPS, phones, laptops, wallets. We also organise a Bus Service on the Morning from Leenane, details of which will be emailed to participants. Clifden Gardaí are informed of the event. If any suspicious activity is noted, the community will inform the Garda Síochana in Clifden on 095 21021. UGMC accepts no responsibility for the safety of participants' vehicles.
15Is there a GTX route?
No, all participants must pass through checkpoints as listed on our 'Particpant Information' > 'Route' page above. There is no official route between checkpoints.
16I have to cancel my ticket, what happens?
If you can't attend the challenge for what ever reason please let us know as soon as possible. In most cases we can offer a full refund, the exception being if you cancel very close to the event. Please email email@example.com