Fabulous Evening

Day 47

I got home early in time for a walk but it wasn’t looking too great on the train home. But we broke through into clear skies in Edgeworthstown and it was actually a fabulous evening. So I quickly got changed and hitched up the dogs when I got home.

Up the top, there was a beautiful blue sky and the sun was shining which rewarded me with this rare vista.



I had a fair old stomp around and did the lap in under an hour which was good going seeing as I met somebody in the woods and stopped for a chat for a few minutes. For once the dogs were well behaved and didn’t try to savage the interloper.



It is nice to see others using the woods for walking. The place is so incredibly lush at this stage of the year. This is actually one of the bigger tracks running through and it is amazingly overgrown.



So that’s another walk done and I’m getting quite close to the half-way point. I don’t think I’ll quite make it by the end of may as I have to travel every day this week and I’m planning another chunk of canal for the week.


A Quick Lap

Day 46

Another lunchtime walk and I was in the mood to walk quickly so I didn’t bother with the camera too much. We had this new arrival in one of the hedges near the forest today – probably a garden escape. Aside from that I didn’t see a lot of note.


The cuckoo was keeping to himself today which was a little bit disappointing. I hope he’s around at the weekend so that the children can hear him. The weather was dry again and I didn’t need to bother with my raincoat at all. It was quite a rushed walk as I wanted to get finished up at work relatively early. The only other picture I took was this view of one of the clearings up near the top.



Dry for a Change

Day 45

This was another lunchtime walk and for a change the weather was fine. In fact it was rather fabulous in that while it was overcast, the sun seemed to be shining through for most of the walk. There was a fabulous view of clouds and wide open country from the top


The cuckoo has obviously taken up residence as he was calling again. Strangely enough both today and yesterday he only let out one sequence of 4 calls. It will be interesting to hear if he does the same again for my next walk.



Once we got under cover, the sun was a bit less evident but there were still patches of blue sky visible.




It was very refreshing to get to do a walk without having to bother with my raincoat and we all had a good hour outside. Hopefully that will mean an end to the recent streak of wet walks.


Heard a Cuckoo

Day 44

I got home early from work and although it was pouring with rain, I decided to get out for a quick walk with the dogs. I took the shorter route as it is a bit dicey doing the longer route on your own in the evening in heavy rain when the bridges are very slippy. I didn’t get the camera out much as it was raining so heavily.


Most definitely the highlight of the walk was hearing a cuckoo which must have been in reward to my perseverance in the bad weather. Although they were in fine fettle during my trip to Mayo earlier in the month, this is the first time in years I’ve heard one in Longford.

There wasn’t a lot new out. I’m still amazed by the devil’s matchstick I spotted last week but there is no sign of the red tips now. There were a few clovers in flower.


It turned into a bit of a trudge once I crossed the road and headed into second half of the walk as the ground was very wet and the rain was pelting down. I got moderately wet by the end but nothing much to complain about.


Dodging showers again

Day 43

After a fews days’ break due to work and other commitments, we took advantage of a break in the weather to go for a family walk around the forest. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t stay broken for long and it started raining after about 15 minutes.  There is more an more stuff coming into flower and we are moving beyond the spring yellows



Just before it started raining and the sky was an angry-looking dull grey. Sunblock is not quite necessary.



The holly is in flower at the moment. Compared to the bright red berries the flower is quite a dull white thing.



There must be hundreds of types of willow and sally tree in the forest but they are mostly done flowering at this stage.  Here is one straggler


The final sign that summer is upon is that the great ash tree in our garden has finally got its leaves. It is always the last of the trees to get its leaves and tends to hang on to them right up until late October. There is no sign of the dreaded dieback disease that is supposedly going  to kill 90% of ash trees so here’s hoping.

We had a nice but slightly wet walk. Nothing too bad but it would be nice to string together a few decent days.

What a difference a day makes

Day 42

We this is supposed to be the number that holds all the answers but unfortunately I haven’t achieved enlightenment yet. However, the weather was a whole lot better than the previous couple of walks although to some extent I did strike it lucky in getting out between showers. It was dry, warm and there was a fabulous blue sky. What a change.



I didn’t spot any interesting little things to take pictures of but I did notice that the cow parsley was in full flower. This is an absolute menace in the garden with a tough easily broken tap root that is almost impossible to get out. But it is a quintessential part of the Irish summer flora and as such can’t be all evil.


The pine cones are developing quite nicely at this point. Tree fruits and flowers are something you just tend to ignore unless you are being particularly observant but I think they are interesting looking things.


Deeper into the forest, the ground was relatively dry and for once I didn’t end up soaked to the hips from tramping through undergrowth. At this time of years, gaiters don’t quite cut it but I’d rather have wet trousers than deal with waterproof trousers. The bluebells are beginning to get a bit bedraggled – probably here because there is a bit too much cover but I do believe that they are slowly managing to colonize the resting place.


The path down past this bit is starting to flood again a bit after the last couple of weeks’ worth of heavy showers but I guess it won’t be long going back down if we get a couple of dry days. Nothing worth worrying about with my boots anyway.

We had a grand lunchtime walk and the dogs were pretty exhausted after their exercise. Just the thing to clear the head for an afternoon’s work.

Another good soaking

Day 41

After a relatively dry morning, I set off for a quick loop at lunchtime. This time it didn’t even wait for me to get the dogs harnessed before the heavens opened with a mixture of hail and rain that continued for almost the entire walk. This was a typical view for the walk – not a great picture but my camera’s auto exposure had messed up which is the first time it had done that.



It was a bit of a quick dash due to the miserable weather so I didn’t really get a chance to take a lot of decent pictures. Some of the gorse is beginning to get a bit past its best. The most interesting thing I came across was this lichen which was “flowering”. It was all over the place which is a good sign for air quality.


It is a bit tiny so is hard to get a decent picture with a relatively cheep point and pray camera. This is known as Devil’s matchstick and it brought a lovely dash of colour to the place.

So after a thorough drenching I got back home from a quick loop relatively refreshed. It had been a few days since I managed to get out – a combination of busyness and bad weather kept me off the mountain for the weekend so it was nice to get out.

Trying to dodge showers

Day 40

After a miserable wet morning, I decided to take a chance and get out at lunchtime for my usual quick loop. It was pretty nice when I left but about 10 minutes later the heavens opened. That lasted for about 5 minutes but I didn’t get too wet. I took a chance on taking off my fleece and jacket when I unhitched the dogs after the first 2 km but that wasn’t to last for long. After another 10 minutes it really started pelting it down and I had to dig out my coat again. This time, it kept it up for quite a bit longer and I had a right soaking for my troubles.


Aside from the rain, the place is looking very lush at the moment. Everything is growing furiously and that was part of why I ended up with such a soaking as the ground cover was well up past the level of my gaiters. The rain did stop about 10 minutes from the end and there was quite fabulous light coming through the trees in the sudden clearance.


I don’t think the camera quite does it justice but it was worth a try. This wasn’t the fastest of walks due to the amount of faffing about with raincoats and rucksacks but at least I got out.

Greenway – Mulranny to Achill

It was a miserable morning when I got up and I wasn’t going to finish the trail just for the sake of it so we had a leisurely breakfast and pottered about for a couple of hours. By then it had cleared up enough that the walk would be a pleasure rather than a chore so I sorted myself out and set off.

The old station is at the back of the hotel and while the station building itself is in poor shape, this water tower has survived in a reasonable state. You can see the bike rack used by hotel guests here.


There is also a bit of the platform visible here.


I set off at a reasonable pace but not too hectic as I had a few aches and pains from yesterday. I quickly left the village behind and this section was properly set up on the old rail alignment so there were a few deep cuttings and over-bridges along the way.


There were some spectacular views of the countryside as we emerged from the cutting just outside Mulranny.


This bit of countryside is almost an island with only  a kilometer or so attaching it to the mainland so the coastline comes in a long way. At this point we are about 8 kilometers from the open sea.


At this stage I was settling into the walk and making good progress. It was very enjoyable with a proper off-road track and interesting scenery. There were quite a few cyclists about – it being a Saturday on a bank holiday weekend, but I wasn’t seeing any walkers at all aside from one or two strolling a kilometer or two out of Mulranny. The going stayed good.


The heather was in fine form.


After about 4 km we headed inland for a bit with a trek across fairly desolate moorland and then came back to the sea.


At this point it all came kind of crashing to end. At about the 7km point, the route joined the main road into the Achill and it was a nasty kilometer or so right on the edge of the Achill road with no footpath. At one stage my hat was blown off by a truck thundering by about three feet away from me but I did recover it. The good news is that they are widening the road here so there will probably be a proper path in place by the end of the summer but that didn’t do me much good.


When that was over, I decided to take a short break to eat a sandwich. Although it was’t a long walk, it was lunchtime and I was getting a bit hungry. Shortly after getting started again, we left the main road behind and headed along the old route again.


For the next couple of kilometers it was sections like this alternated with short stretches of minor roads. At about the 10 km point we left the off-road sections altogether and the reset of the walk was on minor roads. There wasn’t any traffic though so it wasn’t really an imposition.


It was getting a bit of a trudge at this stage and I was counting down the kilometers. I started meeting a few walkers so it couldn’t be a lot longer. The path took a sharp turn to the left at about 13 km and we rejoined the main road. As I had somebody waiting for me in Achill and I didn’t really fancy trudging the 500m or so into Achill along the side of a main road, I bailed out at this stage as I had had enough of main roads.


My conclusions on the greenway were a bit mixed. It is a bit over-hyped and it would certainly not be worth making the journey to walk it. For the non-serious cyclist, it makes a lovely outing with relatively little interaction with traffic. The section between Newport and Mulranny is the best followed by Mulranny to Achill but I really wouldn’t be bothered with Westport to Newport again unless I determined to complete the whole route.

The canal route is a far preferable journey for walkers and I’ll be returning to that next month with the long section from Mullingar to Enfield although I may need to review my footwear situation before then.

Greenway – Newport to Mulranny

This followed straight on from the previous section and I didn’t even stop in Newport as I was hoping to get half the total 31 km done before stopping for lunch. So I pushed on another few kilometers. The picture didn’t immediately improved with the route following the N59 for another couple of kilometers but at least it was properly separated. There were some fine views over some rather convoluted sea inlets along this section.


However, we quickly got to the point of leaving the main road behind altogether as the route took a detour off across this fine old bridge


After a quick tango with the main road for 50 metres, the route left the road behind for good for the rest of the day so I decided to call a halt to proceedings a few hundred metres early after coming across a nice picnic bench to have my lunch


I ate well of tuna sandwich and soup and had a nice sit down for about 15 minutes. Suitably refreshed, topped up my water bladder, packed up my bag and set off again. I was still keeping a reasonable pace, taking about 11 and a half minutes to do a kilometer. However, my overly stiff hiking boots and some incredibly expensive and ultimately useless summer hiking socks were starting to take their toll on my feet. I had to stop and adjust the lacing on one boot a couple of times.


The countryside here stated to turn spectacular and we were really into the wilds and on a proper wild greenway walk. There were very few people about, I was being passed by a cyclist maybe every half hour or so and it was a fantastic wild experience. I heard a cuckoo around here which is something that has gotten pretty rare in the midlands. The countryside alternated between exposed wild moorland the odd sheltered little pocket.


There were some fabulous pockets of bluebells about.


The greenway has quite a few quirky pieces of art installed to keep one’s interest I’m not quite sure what the idea was as the countryside in this section is quite enough to keep me interested


At this point, I was close to the 25 km mark for the day and with it all being on hard surface my feet were really starting to hurt. However, the distance was winding down and I was on the home stretch with a bit over an hour remaining and the promise of a hotel with a hot-tub and a sauna to sort my aching muscles out.

This is a typical scene from a river crossing with the whin bushes in fine form. The smell was powerful at times. There was another cuckoo on the go in this area.



Somebody had gone to a lot of effort putting together this fine dry stone wall. It was in fine shape but doesn’t have the appearance of a typical railway structure.


Finally after over six hours on the move, Mulranny came into sight. I got a message to say that my family were coming to meet me and walk with me on the last mile or so to the hotel. It was nice to have an excuse to slow down to match the pace of my children.


I arrived into the hotel just short of 7 hours after getting off the train with probably about 40 minutes of stops along the way having walked around 33 kilometers. So not a bad day’s work for me. I decided to play it by ear regarding completing the walk on the next day as I wasn’t going to get myself into a state of being useless for the weekend.

I’ve dropped in my Endomondo log for the walk but it has a bit lopped off each end due to me not starting it at the station in Westport and my phone crashing 5 minutes from the end of the walk. I was lucky not to lose the log altogether.