Glencolumbkille-Gweedore 86km

Was I glad I had left the climb over the Pass of Glengesh till this morning…..the conditions were perfect and the views from the summit had me lingering overlong chatting to a young couple who also couldn’t tear themselves away. They told me of their dream to walk the Camino in Spain, and I told them of the more ancient route along the north coast.

 The descent from the pass was so steep, with tight switchbacks, that I thought the bike was going to run away with me. So glad I was only carrying 9kg of kit. The heavily loaded tourist might have had to walk down…….unless of course he had discs.
Once down into Ardara, it was breakfast time, which stoked me up for a longer stretch to Dungloe. Along the way I passed this team of men gathering in the dried turf, which in this country is used as, and sold for, winter fuel.

 You can still see the odd homesteader cutting his own turves by hand, continuing a tradition that is centuries old.

I chose to stop for the night at Gweedore simply because I liked the sound of the name. Something straight out of Harry Potter……and when I was told a good spot for camping would be down by the beach in the grounds of an abandoned hotel, I took one look at the site and knew I would have visitations from spectres during the night, so I asked a local if I could pitch on a patch of grass opposite his house. “Excuse me, do you own that patch of grass across the road”. “Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. Why, what you have in mind? To cut it for me?”. This wasn’t going well. “May I pitch my tent for the night?”. “Course you can. Is that all? Where you ridin’ from”. When I told him, this is how he reacted: “Jeez, that’s a fecking long way…..just look at yuh, carryin’ no weight at all”….and I thought he was referring to my luggage, but he said it while patting his own considerable girth. “Suppose yuh want a shower then……”.

And when I stepped out of my tent this morning, this is what I saw…..looking down on the abandoned hotel on the right.

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on July 23, 2017, in Ireland End-to-End 1300km and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Lovely to see the Atlantic again in that sunwashed light … Yes, Gweedore would be a great Harry Potter inclusion! I had to smile at the non-commital reply to your question about the ownership of the grass – that ‘mebbie I do, mebbie I don’t’ reminds me so much of my Fermanagh uncles! Wishing you good luck at your climb north – are you going at far as Bloody Foreland point?

    • As you’ll see in the next post, I did a big day from Gweedore to Malin (village)…..so I’m almost there. Just beginning to wind down…..So glad you’ve enjoyed following the journey….

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