So now I’m back to normal, writing up a walk the morning after. I’m also back to being marginally ahead of schedule after a somewhat slack month of August. I nipped out for a walk in the afternoon with one extremely happy child and two even happier dogs in tow. The mushrooms are still in fine fettle so I figured on dropping in one non-mushroom picture before I get stuck in.
Once we left the bright part of the walk we started coming across all kinds of mushrooms. They really are everywhere this year
Some of them are beginning to look a bit past their best
My daughter was very exited to be mushroom hunting and she spotted this one hiding hiding under cover
I’ve been waiting for this one to make its appearance where we spotted them last year. The classic toadstool
I spotted this one on a log on the open path. What incredible patterns
This is the tree fungus from last week looking a bit the worse for wear
Another one past its best
We had a grand walk today. Aside from mushrooms and blackberries, everything else is starting to die back for the winter. You definitely get a sense of the approaching autumn.
There had been some fuss a couple of months ago about the opening of a walking path on the Longford branch of the canal which leads to a walk of about 17km from Longford to Clondra. It is typical of winding nature of the Royal canal that these towns are only actually about 8 km apart. We decided to start it out as a family walk and left a car in Killashee so that not everyone had to do the full 17km.
The walk starts innocuously enough a car-part that used to be Longford harbour but has since been through another life as a swimming pool. From there, you follow a sign heading east where there is still no sign of the canal until a couple of hundred metres after you pass under the railway.
You quickly come across the remains of the canal where there are nice walkways either side and you can settle into the walk. The canal itself is almost completely dry and full of various weeds but the general area is pretty clean and tidy.
The first bridge comes up quickly enough
Getting a bit further out of town, the bull-rushes are in fine form.
In a way similar to the loop around Mullingar, the canal loops around the town and heads out parallel to the Athlone road at the back of a row of half-used industrial units. The canal is so overgrown with willow trees here that you can’t even see across.
What is strange is that I’ve lived in the county for most of my life and never even noticed it. After about 5km, you emerge onto the Athlone road and in the first stumble of the new path, you have to cross a main road with no traffic calming or crossing.
Once safely across, it gets a lot wilder very quickly and while you can still see the branch, it is slowly fading into the countryside. I can remember when the main-line looked like this. Not far from the main road we came across a couple of old cars – a Hillman Humber and a Vauxhall Viva contributing to the general sense of decay.
There isn’t a lot else to report about the next couple of km. We made good time along it without a lot of distractions – there never were any locks on the branch. We came to the end of the branch after about 8 km and it was a welcome sight to see the canal in water.
There wasn’t a lot of life about – we saw a couple of cyclists but no other walkers or boats. We pushed on for most of another two kilometers where I said goodbye to my family as they all wussed out on pushing on to Clondra. I forgot to take a picture of the lock and bridge at Killashee but it will be in my previous post of this walk.
It is a couple of km out of Killashee to the next lock which is quite picturesque.
I won’t write a lot on the rest of the walk as I’ve already covered this stretch of canal but I’ll put up a couple of shots of stuff that has changed with the seasons. The most obvious change is that a lot of stuff is fruiting right now – here are some snow-berries
The elderberries are also not far from being ready – some of these days I will make some elderberry wine but it is a question of getting round to it.
Nearer to Clondra, there is some activity on the bog but I guess this won’t be going on for a lot longer
The bog railway stretches off into the distance.
Towards the end I saw a boat well behind me approaching but it was too far to get a shot of. Once I passed lock 45, there was no way they were catching me.
It wasn’t the fastest of walks due to having the children with us on the first half of the walk but it was very pleasant to arrive into Clondra after a 17km trek even if my feet were a bit sore from new boots.
Clondra was oddly quiet for a Saturday in August but perhaps it was about to get more lively as I left as a bus full of people for boat-hires was pulling in.
I’m writing this a while after doing the walk due to general laziness but it wasn’t a terribly exciting walk. I nipped out at lunchtime to do the loop with the dogs. Due to not wanting to add yet more mushrooms to this, I refrained from taking any more mushroom pictures. The heather is looking quite fabulous at this stage so I’ll post one of that.
I got out for a quick walk at lunchtime and I made it quite a quick on. Still not a lot of interest about apart from the various mushrooms growing around the place
I took the slightly shorter route expecting to get my legs completely soaked from the long grass but somebody appears to have been up with a knapsack sprayer full of roundup as it has all been killed. So that makes it all a bit easier. Hopefully it isn’t a sign of the forestry people taking an interest in advance of coming in to do some cutting.
This lot are well on their way to establishing one of their characteristic rings.
Anyway the dogs and I had a nice quick unremarkable walk around the forest. It was dry for the most part.
This was a quick lunchtime loop with the dogs where I firmly failed to dodge a good soaking from a brief shower. It had stopped by the time I got off the road but it was a bit sudden. Anyway, the first odd sigh was this snail who was enjoying a nice snack of rowan berry.
The blackberries are well underway and I enjoyed snacking on a few on my way around. I even found a solitary bilberry that had been overlooked by the birds and other walkers.
Farther around, the mushrooms continue their colonisation of the forest with a couple of new varieties making an appearance
These ones usually end up forming great rings in the darkest parts of the woods. While the rings haven’t quite developed, they are appearing in clumps.
I’ve been away on holiday so this is my first walk in a couple of weeks and quite a lot has changed. The heather is finally properly in flower. Despite extremely heavy rain over the weekend, it is still quite dry up there.
I went straight up after getting the dogs out of kennels and they were two happy dogs. They always enjoy a run out but as they had been cooped up for two weeks, they especially enjoyed it today.
The main difference of today’s walk is that the mushrooms have made their annual appearance and I managed to get a couple of pictures.
These tiny ones end up covering a lot of the forest floor later in the year. I really wish I knew a bit more about mushrooms as I’m sure some of them are delicious but I would rather not take the chance with my lack of knowledge.
I found this rather striking red one growing on the path in our field at the edge of the forest.
So that’s about it for this walk. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of it over the next few days – I’m getting really close to two-thirds of my goal which is just as well as the
Walking forests and trails in the midlands of Ireland