19 Jul

“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.”

Greg Child

Ben Gorm (An Bhinn Ghorm- blue mountain) is a 700 meter mountain near Leenaun,  Co Mayo.


From the Aasleagh Falls car park, you can almost view the entire route up and over Ben Gorm. The old way up the mountain, which involved passing through the gate at the entrance to the falls appear to have been stopped. The fact that there is now a notice on the gate stating that it is private property tells you that you cannot pass through this area at present.

From the car park looking up towards the ridge of Ben Gorm. Double fence can be seen on the right running up the hill.

Alternatively I started from the car park, passing through the sheep gates and up between two fence lines until I came to another gate, which allowed me to exit onto the hill proper and gain access to the ridge line that would eventually take me to the top.

Getting to the ridge is the first step. Then I was greeted with a breathtaking vista of Ben Gorm's real ascent.

The climb up to the ridge line was enjoyable, albeit there were some wet spots, especially between the two fence lines. When I reached the ridge, I realized that the ascent had only just begun and felt that this was going to be an exciting climb.The ridge line rises steadily upward, increasingly steepening as I progressed.

As I worked my way up the ridge the vistas began to come into view. Here the Erriff river and Aasleagh falls can be seen below in the Erriff Valley.

The ridge line and the steep bit !

The view was spectacular once I reached the crest of the mountain and the first spot height, ( the bit visible from the road). It was difficult enough to get here, since I had to negotiate about a 200-meter steep slope. The ground was stoney and grassy, and I could  image how dangerous this section of the trek must be in wet weather.

Looking over towards the Maumturk mountains through the Leenaun Maum Valley.

When I was up and over that first peak there was still a bit to go to reach the summit. The terrain opens out into a kind of plateau which’s rises gradually to the top and the cairn at the real summit. If you keep to the periphery of the plateau you will be treated to some of the best scenes in the area.

The ridge line heading steeply down the mountain.

Another Cairn with the 12 Bens in the background.

I turned for the middle of the plateau as I walked around the top of Ben Gorm, taking in the panorama, and in no time I was at the summit's Cairn at 700 meters.

Again, I spent time here attempting to capture the grandeur of the northern views, Mweelrea, Sheffery Hills, and DooLough. Despite utilizing GNDs, I was having trouble getting decent exposures since the very strong sun was blowing out the highlights and producing pretty ugly shadows at this time of day.😟

Mweelrea Mountain to the left, Doolough and the Sheeffry Hills. In the distance Clare Island and Achill.

The 12 Bens.


It was soon time to descend, and as I moved off the top and back down around the way I came, I was able to capture a few more images of the views from this area.

Lugaharry Lough with the Lugayeran River flowing through Letterass to join up with the Erriff River.

Looking back towards the Ben Gorm heights on the descent down the ridge.

The valley of Glennagevlagh with the Devils Mother rising her head behind.

It wasn’t long before I found myself going through the gate again at the double fences heading for the car park and thinking “ What an interesting day, a great hike capped with magnificent views“.

An unusual structure I came across on top !. ( 'The two Hags ! I call it'  😆).

Carpe Diem

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