Challenge yourself to climb every 700m+ summit in the Twelve Bens mountain range. On this page you will find information about the Bens 700s Challenge including its summit list, useful car parking locations, recommendations for guide books and maps, and links to local facilities.
The Bens 700s Challenge requires participants to visit 2 summits in the Twelve Bens mountain range. These are marked on the map below along with nearby car parking options. Click on a marker for more details. This challenge is intended only for experienced and well-equipped hillwalkers and mountaineers who can navigate themselves confidently through rugged and exposed terrain in any weather. Route choice is entirely up to the participant, therefore we have not included any route suggestions on the map. Route planning is part of this challenge.
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The Bens 700s Challenge is one of our 18 range-specific, anytime Irish 700m+ mountain challenges. Registered participants who successfully complete this challenge in a single day can claim a Certificate of Completion (once per year). Those who manage a single-day completion during the Sport Hillwalking season can score 2 points in the Irish Challenge Hillwalker of the Year competition (once per season).
Throughout the Sport Hillwalking season, registered participants can also score weighted points for each mountain summit in the All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships (up to eight times per location per season) and one point per mountain summit in the Irish Mountaineer of the Year competition (once per season). A full challenge completion is not required for either of these two competitions.
Follow the links below for the various instructions related to this challenge:
- Claim a Certificate of Completion for undertaking this entire challenge in a single day
- Count this challenge towards your Irish Challenge Hillwalker of the Year score
- Count this challenge's individual mountain summits towards your Irish Mountaineer of the Year score
- Count this challenge's individual mountain summits towards your All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships scores
This challenge is intended only for experienced and well-equipped hillwalkers and mountaineers who are physically fit and can navigate themselves confidently through rugged and exposed terrain in any weather. If you are planning to undertake this challenge, please be aware that hillwalking and mountaineering are risk activities. The Ireland Walking Guide and Donard Media (the websites' publisher) accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or inconvenience sustained by anyone undertaking this challenge. Personal safety is entirely the participant's own responsibility. We will not support any legal action taken against any third-party individual, group or organisation as a result of any injury, loss or inconvenience sustained by anyone undertaking this challenge. We encourage each participant to have adequate insurance to cover any injury, loss or inconvenience that may result from their hillwalking activities.
The inclusion of each summit in this challenge is based entirely on it being classified as a mountain (see 'What is an Irish mountain?') and it being at least 700m above sea level. It should not be assumed that access is permitted to any of the summits. The Ireland Walking Guide and Donard Media recommend that anyone planning to visit any of the summits as part of this challenge should check for potential access restrictions and to request permission from the relevant landowner(s) in advance.
The registration process for the Irish Sport Hillwalking competitions can be initiated at any time between 1st February and 30th June by completing and submitting an online Sport Hillwalking Entry Form. This can be accessed by clicking the green "Sport Hillwalking Entry Form" button below. When we receive a completed form, we will send a link to the newly-registered participant which gives access to the Peakhunter elements of the competitions. This will be sent using the Peakhunter messaging system.
Hillwalkers who complete this challenge in its entirety in a single day between 1st January and 31st December can claim a Certificate of Completion by submitting an online Hillwalking Challenge Completion Form. This can be accessed by clicking the green "Hillwalking Challenge Completion Form" button below. It is not necessary to have submitted a Sport Hillwalking Entry Form to claim Certificates of Completion, but we would encourage you to do so as it will allow you to score points in our competitions.
Recommended guide books
Walking guide books are a great way to find the very best walks in Ireland which have been hand-picked by local experts. Recommended guide books for the Bens 700s Challenge are listed below. These describe various ascents, descents and inter-summit link routes.
Ireland is covered by a good selection of quality maps produced by a variety of publishers. The most useful maps for walkers range in scale from 1:25,000 to 1:50,000. For the Bens 700s Challenge, the recommended titles are listed below.
- EastWest Mapping 1:25,000 - Connemara Mountains
- Harvey Superwalker 1:30,000 - Connemara
- Ordnance Survey Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery Series - Sheet 37
- Ordnance Survey Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery Series - Sheet 44
A hardcopy map and compass are the preferred navigational tools used by all competent self-navigators in the mountains and hills. Relying exclusively on a GPS device or phone for navigation is strongly discouraged. The person who follows a dot, crosshairs or a GPX route on a tiny screen is not navigating. They are effectively being led by their device. This involves no skill whatsoever and will only increase that person's reliance on technology. We recommend using hardcopy maps and traditional magnetic compass because:
- their use requires and reinforces an elementary outdoor skill.
- the user is the navigator (this is not the case when using a GPS device, especially one with the day's route loaded in).
- they do not require a power source, therefore have less impact on the environment.
- hillwalking and mountaineering should be about having a digital detox in nature, not squinting at yet another screen.
- satellites, phones, GPS devices and their associated networks and systems are vulnerable to potential outages caused by external factors (e.g. hacking, ransomware, terrorism, solar fluctuations, space junk, etc).
In short, you should always have the relevant hardcopy map and a traditional magnetic compass in your pack when venturing off the beaten track. The convenience of a GPS is not a valid reason to go into the uplands or other wild areas without these two basic essentials.
If you require accommodation, food and drink, or other local facilities while undertaking the Bens 700s Challenge, we recommend you check out what's available in the following nearby destinations.