The north of County Mayo offers remoteness and seclusion in abundance. This looped walk starts from the Brogan Carroll Bothy (a basic shelter for walkers) in Letterkeen Woods - 12km from the nearest town of Newport, with the bare summits of the Nephin Beg Mountain range in the distance and the spuming Altaconey River closeby. An ideal location for a hushed getaway. The bothy marks the junction of two long-distance waymarked trails – namely the Bangor Trail and the Western Way. The Bangor Trail (described as the loneliest trail in Ireland) was an old droving track along which farmers took sheep from the Nephin Beg mountains to market. Three looped walks have been developed from the bothy – each of which combines a portion of the Bangor Trail and the Western Way, and two of which pass through the Sheep Pass.
A-B. Starting from the Brogan Carroll Bothy follow the blue (and red and purple) arrows for 100m to reach a metal footbridge. Cross the bridge and turn left onto the bank of the Altaconey River. Follow the track along the banks of the river for almost 1km to reach a ‘humpback’ metal footbridge. Cross the bridge and turn right.
B-C. Continue to follow the blue arrows as you travel along what remains of an old cattle road. After 1km - watch for the point where the loop turns right onto a firebreak and leaves the red and purple loops.
C-D. Follow the firebreak for 500m to reach a stream crossing and join a sandy roadway where you turn right.
D-E. Follow the sandy roadway for about 1.5km as it sweeps left and reaches a T-junction with a forestry road. Here you rejoin the red and purple loops. Turn right.
E-A. Following the blue (and red and purple arrows), the loop takes you onto and along the Altacroney River for 2km to regain the trailhead.