This morning was quite remarkable! I mentioned in an earlier blog that the weather today was absolutely horrible. It rained horizontally and the wind was at least Force 8. It looked like a wasted day and we spent the morning in Galway doing the sort of things that tourists do. And then … a miracle! The wind decreased and the rain relented. We even saw some sun so we decided to make the most of it and start the next section of the walk even though it was to take us into the heart of the Connemara bog. Even Indiana Jones would have thought twice about this, but not Rosie!
Our start was just outside the town of Oughterard at “The Quiet Man” bridge made famous by John Wayne. If you’ve never heard of the film, think yourself lucky that you are probably younger than 60 years of age.
For a long section of today’s walk we were on a good track which enabled us to make good time. Just when you think you’ve cracked it, the whole situation changes and you find that the path disappears into the bog and the only way to proceed is to go for a paddle. Its such a shame when this happens. This old railway track is an asset that Ireland should be looking to improve. Along the journey today we passed several places where the technology that had led to this quite remarkable railway was in evidence. Railway cuttings, embankments, bridges and buildings.
OK so you expect girders and metal bits on railways, but in the middle of the largest bog in Europe, would you expect to find a post box?
God alone knows who actually posts letters here, but what about the poor postman who has to empty it! Another thing that had me puzzled is why do people put gates in fences that nobody ever uses?
Its odd that even in this total desolation people choose to live and I have to say that it is very rare to find houses in such isolated spots as these. In my last blog I promised you “atmospheric” so what do you make of these images?
The day ended at the old railway station at Maam Cross where some of the original buildings still exist. Some things in life are spooky, but nothing matches poking your head into an old building and disturbing the ghosts. These are the ghosts of Rosie’s family, her mum and dad and their mums and dads travelled this line. They got off at these stations and looked at the hills and lakes and bogs that we looked at today. One day our children will walk these paths and lanes and the circle will be complete and they will have drunk from the springs of adventure that their grandparents tasted.
Tomorrow, we will be edging towards the end of Europe and will travel through the greatest wilderness of the British Isles. Do you know what? We have been up to our knees in cold bog water and had rain and wind in our faces and yet some of you still haven’t visited the Genesis site like I asked you to do. No excuses now!