You will not need a weather report today – you should be able to write the script yourself. However, nature did relent a little and much of the day was spent in drizzle that came from guilty clouds. Ireland had a monochrome day today and it was only with difficulty that we managed to find any colour to brighten your evening. We also spent much of the day wondering how guide book writers can get it so dreadfully wrong. For example, the guide book might say that a bridge across a river is missing but advise you that it won’t be a problem because there are skilfully placed stepping stones. If the guide book had been written in the height of a summer drought, perhaps that would explain why being confronted by a rapidly flowing river twenty feet wide, two feet deep and without a stepping stone in sight focuses the mind somewhat. Another interesting mind game to pass a damp Thursday might be to consider when a “boggy patch” becomes a lake. Today these interesting questions were researched at first hand.
But first; the day started a bit badly. The route was impassable and it was necessary to leave the railway track option for most of the morning and follow the old road towards Clifden. The scenery along this section our walk is utterly stunning and if you have never been to this part of Ireland you are in for a treat when you finally manage to get here. By lunchtime we were able to re-join the track and enjoy some of the most exhilarating walking of the trip so far. Unfortunately the quality cannot be sustained after so much rain and the excellent sections needed to be balanced against the muddy bits. There was excitement aplenty during the course of the day. Many of the bridges that originally allowed the trains to cross rivers are still intact, but some aren’t. So what would you do if you were walking along an embankment thirty feet above a raging torrent and you discover that the bridge has been removed?
Let’s look at the day’s images and you may begin to see just what problems had to be overcome.
If you look hard enough you will find a riot of colour even in unpromising situations
At times the path was pretty well impassable ….
And then it got worse!
But, generally the path was good
Sometimes, though, you hit a problem that needs solving. Do you fancy this; just a fifteen foot drop into a river?
Usually the bridges were intact …
but not always…
and then you’re pretty well knackered!
Some rivers are fast flowing and wide …
… but one aspect they all share is that they are very wet!
Of course there are compensations around every corner
A local muppet
We should finish our walk tomorrow and the forecast is for sunny intervals. The guide book – which has been spectacularly useless for much of the journey – advises us that soon after we start tomorrow we will be traversing one of the most desolate areas in Europe and that for five or six miles we will not come into contact with any evidence of human occupancy; a bit like Sedbergh then!