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Posts Tagged ‘ireland’

Well we’ve completed our walk, all 150 miles. I’m embarrassed to admit that I realized my boots were tied too tight, which was why my old boots hurt my feet. Unfortunately, I realized this on about day 10. I think my rain pants, which hooked onto my shoelaces, gradually tightened my boots. Live and learn.

Our last day was the longest and also had the most elevation gain. I was sort of dreading it since before we arrived. Add the sore toes, sore calf, shin splints, and my dread mounted. To make matters worse, as we approached the shoulder of Mount Brandon, we saw two hikers who looked like they just arrived from Mt. Everest. While I only had on a wool undershirt, wool tee shirt, wool leggings and light pants. (I had everything else I might need in my pack),  they each wore at least two down parkas, hat, gloves and looked miserable. They had camped somewhere along the mountain. One loudly told us the weather was very bad on the other side of the mountain; very cold and the wind was howling. Did we have any idea where we were going? And the path down the mountain was treacherous and steep. Did we know what we were getting into? It was very cold and steep. This is all a gullible, chicken like me has to hear.  This is how it looked from our approach.

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But I had read the guide. I knew it would be steep but not impossible. OK, I might not turn around at this point but wait to see what lie ahead. So we walked through cloud cover, still in a tee shirt. And I didn’t get cold. Their weather scare was wrong, the wind had picked up but it was still in the low 50’s. Chicken little?

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When we were ready to start our descent we met another group of hikers headed our way, one in a tee shirt. This made me feel a little better but I should have disregarded their opinion. They were swigging from a bottle of vodka to celebrate their ascent but…they said the way up was HORRIBLE. Very bad, very steep. I sent Tim to the edge to check it out. He’s a much better hiker than me and I trust his judgement. He said it was nothing. Steep for a ways but not unlike the Adirondack mountain trails at home. So away we went. I made it and never got cold. And the sun came out.

Later that night we were celebrating in a pub and enjoying good company. The publican was even telling stories. At some point our table asked for two pints of Guinness.  I said, “make it three”. Tim said he’d like a half pint and so would she. I said, “no I would not, I would like a pint”. The crowd went wild. They almost lynched Tim. “Let her have her pint”, they cried. And so I did. These were people worth listening to.

 

 

 

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Our walk around the Dingle peninsula, also called the Kerry Camino, continues. There are more sheep than cattle here and lots of mud. The innkeepers ask us to park our boots at the door rather than tramp inside with them.

I’m not guaranteed to shed pounds on this trip, despite 13 + mile days, because of the hearty breakfasts we eat, but I am bound to lose a few toenails. There’s no avoiding getting wet feet with all the mud. We’ve been very lucky with rain after our first day, only light showers. Today I didn’t even need rain pants.

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I still stop to admire the sheep. Today we walked through several grazing fields with sheep. One sign was a little disconcerting though. It advised us to walk into a field but watch out for the bull!! I certainly did.

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We stopped at a church from the 12 th century yesterday and at a pool of water today with some historic and probably religious significance.  Oddly enough, the trees get decorated with all sorts of things – socks, earrings, a pack of cigarettes. Not sure about this custom.

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We passed a townhouse yesterday on our way into Anascuel that reminded me of ones I have seen in Queens, NY. There, two owners of one house don’t always agree on paint color and you will see I house with each half painted a different color.  Here the owners couldn’t agree on whether ivy should be allowed to cover the house.

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To each his own.

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We celebrated Tim’s birthday by traveling by bus to the start of our next walk. Again it would have been helpful to read a little more about what we were getting into. Gaiters were highly recommended. Don’t we know it. We wash the mud off our pant cuffs daily. And I think this next walk along the Dingle way covers 100 miles or so over 6 days, yep that’s a lot of miles. The highlight is the last day when we will walk 16.2 miles and climb 2644 feet.  What was I thinking?!

Rather than carry a gift all this way, I brought a photo of one of Tim’s gifts. I am weaving a wool rug for the cabin and left it set up on the loom at home. This next gift makes me giggle when I think of it. We keep a toilet seat hanging on the wall of the cabin to keep it warm and ready for use outside. It looks like a toilet seat hanging on the wall.  No longer. I stained it and then stenciled ivy leaves around it. This photo doesn’t show the last inspired touch. Finally, I wove a kumihimo braid to hang it up and to also work as a handle. I thought of mounting it in front of a mirror (mirror, mirror on the wall) but thought that might be over the top.

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We went to a bird of prey exhibit outside Ballyvaughan, ( a sleeper day covering only six and a half miles) and it was fantastic. The birds soared overhead while the handlers talked about them. We met one of the handlers on the bus to Galway and she hunts with falcons! I may have to rethink my archery plans.

Here’s Jesse, an adorable owl.

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Our walks have covered much ground that looks like this.

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Photos don’t do it any justice.

I had my first soft boiled egg, because it had its own knit hat. I have now sunk down to taking photos of my food.

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Today’s a light day in Tralee while we gear up for the Dingle walk. I hope the weather is half as nice as the first leg. Much of our walk is along the Wild Atlantic Way. I finally figured out their logo. First I thought it meant river crossings, then electric lines.

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But it is the WAW! Ha.

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We’re enjoying a lovely holiday in Ireland where I am literally walking my butt off.  This is the trip we booked instead of the one Tim wanted to do where we would have climbed 3000 to 5000 feet elevation gain every day for 10 days or so. We are sauntering through Ireland, first through the Burren and then the Dingle peninsula.

In my mind we were walking 6-12 miles every day. I didn’t look close enough. We are walking 12-14 miles every day, which turns out to be fine. Especially when we can finish the day with delicious food, a pint of Guiness and/or a shot of  Jamieson’s whiskey.

People we met early in the week kept telling us how excited they were about the weather. At first it merely looked like it wasn’t going to rain all day but indeed it has been glorious for the past couple of days.

Leaving the Adirondacks in the spring that is winter is never easy. Our flight to Boston was cancelled and we drove to a bus in Concord, NH. Turned out to be much better than I expected.

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Lovely state capitol.

We walked along the Cliffs of Moher in drizzle and 35 mph winds, along 500? foot cliffs above the sea. Even Tim had the willies a few times. It did not stop this intrepid bride and groom who posed for the photographer and may have even staged their wedding atop the cliff. They look like small dots in white.

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Looks a little precarious to me.

We are walking on our own with only day packs and our tour operator, Mac’s Adventures booked all the inns AND transports our bags from inn to inn. At least I read that fine print.

 

 

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