After quite an extended break from long walks, I finally managed to get out for a walk over the weekend. As it was on short notice, I just did a canal walk into Mullingar on a route I’ve done four times now. I started out from Fowlard’s bridge at about 8:30 and set off towards Abbeyshrule.
It was a fine sunny morning but it really was quite windy and the weather had a general air of unreliability about it. Still, it was pleasant enough going even if the grass had a heavy dew on it which saturated my boots quite quickly. A little dampness made it through the GoreTex but nothing too bad.
I arrived into Abbeyshrule after about an hour. There had been a helicopter crash in the village about a month earlier and it was really impressive how well they had cleared up.
From here it was a quick walk onto the Richmond aquaduct and on towards the really wild part around Bog bridge. This is possibly my favourite part of the entire canal and I had been quite alarmed to hear that they were putting down a proper path. But they have actually made a really good job and put the path down on the northern side of the canal and left the existing wild side alone.
I headed on towards Emper and took a coffee break at one of the locks there before pushing on to Ballinacarrigy. I nipped into a shop there to buy myself an ice-cream and kept going.
It was fairly easy going and the weather remained dry enough as I carried on. The wind was really starting to pick up. I had resolved to wait until Coolnahay for my lunch so was starting to get a bit tired. There was quite a bit of wildlife about.
As I got closer to Coolnahay I was starting to get quite tired after my morning’s walking. Somebody keeps a few donkeys on the far bank a few hundred metres out of Coolnahay so I was glad to see these guys.
After about 15 minutes stopped at Coolnahay, I got going again. It wasn’t long before I passed the ugly modern bridge which marks the half-way point between Coolnahay and Ballinea.
After another quick stop at Ballinea, I came across the old Mullingar to Athlone railway which is being converted into a greenway. Although it wasn’t technically open yet I heard voices on it and so nipped through a gap in the hedge onto a pristine new cycleway.
It wasn’t the best of walking surfaces but it was interesting to walk along the old railway. This used to be a double line so there was enough room to leave the greenway beside the existing track. I’m not sure why they left the track in place though as the sleepers are so rotted that it would need lifting and relaying anyway if it were ever to be used again.
I stopped for a little sit down on a platform after a bit as I was getting near to be my destination and I knew I’d have about half an hour to kill before my train was due.
This is still technically an open railway so somebody has hung a sign with a stop signal on it from an old signal post.
I arrived into Mullingar station after about 7 hours on the trail of just short of 34 km. It was a nice way to restart my long walks.