Back to Derrycassin

We decided to head over to Derrycassin woods for a quick stroll after the promised storm failed to materialise. However, as we were heading over the rain started and it just got wetter and wetter as we headed on. Still, as we’d gone for the spin, we decided to put our coats on and tough it out.

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Derrycassin is a state-owned forest on a former estate and there are still quite a few bits of the old estate left even if the great house is all but obliterated. This bridge has been quite nicely restored recently.

Further in, we come across this odd curved wall that was once part of the walled garden.

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It was really lashing rain for most of the walk although the forest cover spared us from the worst of it. It was quite a pleasant walk but we did cut it short just a bit thanks to the pouring rain. I didn’t measure but I would think we managed about 4 km for the walk.

191.5km

 

Calm before the Storm

I had a fine afternoon for my quick loop of the forest today but it is not forecast to be quite so nice over the weekend so I may not get a lot of walking done over the next few days. There is even snow forecast for next week so we could be looking at a very late spring.

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Anyway, I took the shorter of the two loops as I still have a bit of cold and so was feeling a bit lazy. Not a lot else to see in terms of signs of life but it won’t be long now before the spring starts coming in nicely.

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187.5km

Loads of Frogspawn

This was pretty much a normal lunchtime loop. The weather was reasonable for the time of year but I was suffering a bit with the effects of a cold. I didn’t bother so much with the camera aside from grabbing a photo of a bit of frogspawn. Due to the activities of the frogs the previous week this was everywhere.

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We took the longer of the two loops. This was unusual in that it was my first walk for a week.

183.5km

Frogs Spawning

I got up the forest for a quick lunchtime loop and there were definite signs of spring about as we had frogs spawning in one of the pools near the top of the mountain. For some reason, they seem to go a week or so earlier here than they do lower down. I spotted this suitably engorged participant on her (or less likely his) way to the fun and games.

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Anyway, it is good to see life beginning to return after the long winter break. We’ll be starting to move into dawn chorus territory in the next few weeks which will make for a couple of interesting walks.

179 km

Loop around Kenagh

I’ve done a couple of walks around Kenagh with a man who is trying to set up a walking group there, so I thought today would make a nice leg-loosener after the previous day’s exertions. Kenagh is a nice little village that the canal skirts by and seems to have a few nice walks around it.

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Not knowing much of the history, I can’t really say very much about the various landmarks. I’m sure I’ll pick it up if I keep walking in the general area.

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The rain held off and it was a nice little walk.

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We extended the walk a bit from the previous week’s route and joined the canal for a bit.

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After about half a kilometre along the canal we rejoined to road around Island Bridge and walked back into the village for a short loop of about 4km over 50 minutes.

174.5 km

Another Day on the Canal

I set off for a late start without really having much of a plan for the day. I had originally planned on parking the car somewhere and doing 20 km or so out and back from the car but when I was offered a lift, I took the opportunity to just do a one-way. The objective was only really to get out and try to improve my fitness a bit.

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So I set off eastbound from the rather unimpressive Fowlard’s bridge where the N55 crosses the canal with a lightly loaded pack at around 12. I didn’t bother bringing lunch as I figured I’d only be out walking for three or four hours.

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So heading onwards, I quickly came to a slightly prettier bridge – there are a few more normal canal bridges between Fowlard’s and Webb’s bridge in Abbeyshrule. This one, Guy’s bridge, is oddly situated right on a bend. The roads often curve at strange angles as one cost-cutting measure they used when building the canal was to always have the bridges cross at right angles. There are a few exceptions but for the most part, it is the road rather than the bridge that makes the adjustment.

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Not a lot further on and Eithne, the River Inny starts her dance with the canal and both the canal and the Inny will weave around each other for the next few kilometers. I pushed onwards at a reasonable pace and make it to Abbeyshrule a bit more than an hour into my journey.

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No rest for the wicked though and I resolved to continue at least as far as bog bridge. There was somebody doing touch-and-gos at the airfield but there wasn’t really anybody else about which was a bit unusual. You normally meet somebody out walking their dog around Abbeyshrule

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I actually didn’t bother stopping at Bog Bridge as I didn’t really feel like it and so continued over the empty bog between Abbeyshrule and Ballynacarrigy. This is a very remote part of the canal and there can quite often be no sign of human activity at all. Today, I had only the aircraft from the airfield to keep me company.

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Towards the end of this stretch I came across somebody trying to make it down the opposite bank which would be a bit of a hike. I stopped at the first lock near Emper for a quick coffee and a snack and then continued on.

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I kept going through Ballynacarrigy with only a brief chat with a couple of walkers to see if the way was clear to the next lock as there were works under-way still. They said it was passable although a bit muddy. I found out about a kilometre later that I would need to go through a building site to continue on but as there was nobody about I decided that it was reasonably OK to continue.

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This odd stand of trees becomes visible a couple kilometres to the east of Ballynacarrigy and is part of what looks from the survey map to be a quite a rich vein of ancient heritage in the area. As you continue on, there seems to be some sort of fort or something built on the hill .

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At this stage, it was looking pretty sure that I would make Coolnahay and perhaps push on even further so I kept on moving. I quickly ran into another building site and a further set of signs that everyone seemed to be ignoring. They seem to be extending the greenway from Coolnahay a few kilometres westwards and there was a partially complete gravel surface that was quite nice to walk on. This continued on and off as far as Coolnahay.

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There is amazing variation in the state of the lock-houses around here. Some of them have been refurbished and extended into beautiful little cottages while others have decayed to the point where they are barely visible. This one isn’t even the worst.

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I reached Coolnahay around 5PM and figured I’d have about an hour left so stopped for a quick coffee and a bite of chocolate before continuing. ¬†Coolnahay is a lovely little harbour.

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At this point, I was starting to lose the light and so didn’t really bother too much with the camera. It was a case of just putting the head down and pushing on to complete the walk as I had only really planned on doing 20 km and was now well past the 25 km mark. This milestone was about 2 km short of Ballinea harbour and I had to use the flash to take a picture.

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I arrived into Ballinea shortly after 6 and it was almost completely dark so I did’t manage a reasonable picture at all. It was a nice day’s walk and totted up to 28.5 km in a shade over 6 hours including a couple of 10 minute breaks so not too bad a day’s work.

170.5 km

We are not alone

After a damp morning, it cleared up at lunchtime for a nice dry walk. It was pretty clear outside with good long-range visibility.

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This was the usual lunchtime long loop so not a lot of time for dawdling.

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It was an enjoyable walk on the longer of the two loops.

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Unusually we actually met somebody in the forest, right in the middle of one of the wilder parts. This is the first time in six months I’ve come across anybody up there.

142km

Two walks on a misty day

I had arranged to meet a guy in a nearby village who was setting up a walking group, so that was the initial plan for walking for the day. It was extremely misty so there wasn’t really much point with bothering with the camera. We did a pleasant enough little three 3km road loop in a little over half an hour.

When we got back, I decided to drag the children out for another walk as they wouldn’t have had any exercise over the weekend. So it was up to the forest loop for us.

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It really was very misty but pleasant enough besides that. You can hear the faintest signs of life coming back to the forest – there are a lot more birds singing and quite a bit of rustling going on in various undergrowth. The gorse is beginning to come properly into flower.

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We made reasonable progress around the loop and when we got done the mist was beginning to life. This year has been very strange for holly as there are still plenty of berries on the trees even though they would normally be gone a couple of weeks before Christmas.

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I’ll call the two walks at 3km and 4.5 km each

133km

A bit nippy

I went out for a lunchtime walk on a freezing day. Still, it was sunny, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was easy enough to wrap up against the cold.

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There was a lot of ice about – large parts of the path had a nice thick layer which made the footing somewhat treacherous. Even the dogs were having trouble with it.

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Further around the loop, it had thawed out quite a bit so it did get easier. I took the shorter of the two loops as I didn’t really fancy trying to cross the dodgy bridge when it was frozen.

125.5km