Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Into the Wet & Windy Wild ~ Promises Kept


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1382
Date:
Into the Wet & Windy Wild ~ Promises Kept


May 5, 2009 ~

I awoke to a steady rhythm of rain & wind against my windows.  One look out to where the bay should be visible and I knew that my full day plans of hiking the Sliabh Liag would be wet & wild, as well as a bit of a challenge.

I dressed in my jeans, heaviest turtleneck and my waterproof arait hikers and went down to breakfast. On a normal day, the sunroom is a fabulous place to have breakfast, as you have a great view across the bay the Maghera strand and the Assaranca Falls. On this day, you could see no further than the edge of the road. Fog and rain having made Loughros peninsula its own island. Bernadette had turned on a space heater next to my table. That along with the copious amounts of hot tea I was getting into the habit of drinking made short work of the damp chill trying to work its way into my bones.

Bernadette, bless her, offered up alternatives to my outdoor plans. "This isn't a fit day to be out and about at all!" says Bernadette, "Perhaps a visit to Donegal Town and the shops there instead?"  Rain & sleet be damned, I wouldn't be deterred from my original plans. After all, it was only rain and wind. I have been out in much worse. Off I set for Killybegs and then the Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) cliffs. Just after turning onto the Killybegs road, I spotted a sign that read "Waterfall - Maghera Strand". I made a right turn and headed towards the falls that I had seen from the sunroom and my bedroom window.  A good twenty minutes later I came to a stop at Assaranca Falls. They are even more mesmerizing up close.  I am sure that on a clear or at least dry day, there are many people visiting the falls. It is the gift of stormy days to allow only those brave and foolish enough to be out in it the experiences which can only be enhance by the elements themselves. I spent almost an hour there taking photos. I am especially fond of the shots in which I incorporated the bridge in the foreground.

I finished up and headed back out to the Killybegs road ever mindful of my goal, Sliabh League, itself. It called me as the Sirens lured the sailors. In Carrick, I followed the signs down toward Teelin and the Slieve League Cliffs. As I drove along, I became aware of a great rushing sound. The River Glenn, due to the heavy rains, was swollen to almost seven feet in some places and rushing towards the sea. I stopped in the parking area at the Salmon leap and ventured out into the rain to capture the cascading waters and the gorse which bordered it. After tramping along its trail for fifteen minutes taking photos from many angles, I climbed back into the car and headed for Sliabh Liag.  I stopped in the lower parking area to capture some shots of the rain spray being blown verticallly up the cliffs. Both the rain & wind were beginning to pick up. I was surprised to find the gate open allowing access to the road up to the upper parking lot. They sometimes close it when the weather is particularily rough. I was surprised, as I drove up the road, to find that there have been improvements made to the road since I last navigated it. There are more pullouts, it has been paved and it appears to have been widened. Of course, there is still the errant sheep which bolts across the road so mind that you drive prudently.  Pulling into the upper lot, I was surprised to find another car in the lot. Someone else besides me was undeterred by the sheeting, diagonal rains and the gusting winds. I spent an hour and a half absorbing and photographing the Sliabh Liag in all her storm veiled mystery. I hiked to the summit and down again fully cognizant of my own mortality. There is nothing between you and being blown off the cliffs except for fence posts and horse fence. To some, the fence would provide a sense of comfort and security. I, having experienced crashing through such a fence on horseback a time or twenty, had no false sense of security. I hiked back down to my car and started back down toawrd Carrick, thinking that a good pot of tea would be the perfect reward for completing my hike and my photo session. As I drove down the Sliabh League road and out the gate, I encountered one ram who seemed determined to stay in front of me. Most sheep will veer off once they determine your direction of travel. This particular ram had no such desire. If I zigged so did he. So it went for a quarter mile until he found a patch of grass that caught his attention. 

After leaving my road buddy happily grazing on the roadside, I again focused on finding a hot cuppa. I recalled seeing a tea and craft shop as I headed up toward the cliffs. Ti Linn is a hiker's dream. They offer a great selection of hot beverages, breads and pastries and even a small menu of sandwiches, wraps and soups. I ordered my pot of tea and a piece of "Death by Chocolate" cake. The tea was welcome for chasing the chill. The cake was dense and moist. It had been heated and served with a dollop of sweet cream and drizzled with raspbery sauce and raspberries.  The true treasure at Ti Linn is, in my opinion, the proprietor, Paddy. He not only pitches in the tea shop an mans the cash register at the craft shop. He also leads archeological walking tours of the Sliabh Liag and hosts workshops.  I had a wonderful time visiting with him. He recommended two points of interest that were off the beaten track, a court tomb and a hidden cove on the silver strand.

After saying my goodbyes to Paddy and promising to return for one of his walks and one of his lectures, I set off for An Clochán Mór, the court tomb. As Paddy described it, a court tomb resembles a lobster in its structure with its courtyard being the area in between the "arms" and the burial area being under the thicker stone stacked body of the tomb. You do have to be looking for it, as it isn't well marked. All the better, as it is still in pristine shape. The parking area is only big enough for two cars. You access it via a trail through sheep paddocks. As I exited my car, the sheep in the adjoining pasture greeted me with a riotous sheep song. It takes only five minutes to reach the Court tomb. Time seems immaterial once you are standing in the courtyard of the tomb. It had been raining as I approached An Clochán Mór. The rains seemed to hold off as I photographed the site. It was just me, the sheep and the sense of an ancient presence. A truly magical experience.

After leaving the court tomb, I pointed Peg toward Malainn Beag and the  silverstrand cove. It was just down the road from the court tomb taht I spotted a tweed shop. It was there that I fulfilled a six year promise. I have an elder friend who, for the past six years, has asked for only one thing. That I bring him a piece of Donegal. His family all come from the Wet & Wild coastal area of Donegal. He, himself, has never seen Donegal or any of Ireland for that matter. He never shall, as his health prevents him from making long trips. I promised him that on this visit, I would bring him back something of Donegal. I am adverse to paying for dirt and feel that a bit of soil in a baggie is quite chintzy. I thought to find him a bit of Donegal tweed. Something which he could wear and feel his heritage in every fibre. I settled on a hat, similar to one worn by Bob Denver when he played Gilligan, only in a rich dark Donegal tweed. I felt that would stand him better than a bit of dirt.

An Tra Ban, the Silverstrand, on Malainn Beag, is said to be one of teh finest beaches in Ireland. I can honestly say that getting to it is not for the faint of heart nor weak of limb. I tried to count the stairs leading down to the sandy floor of the cove. I gave up when I became enthralled by the snails slowly working their way up and down the hand rails which run the length of the stairs. again, due to the rains, I was the only human around for miles. My only companions were seabirds and sheep. I found yet another waterfall, again a side benefit to all of the rain, cutting its way down the far face of the cove. I sat on a rock for a half hour watching the waves, feeling the rain and salt spray mix. I made my way back up to the car park, thankful for the bench at the half way point which allowed me to catch my breath and take in this amazing cove from another angle.

After that, it was back out to the main road, having to backtrack due to a road closure, and on towards Glencolumbcille.  It was fairly late when I arrived in Glencolumbcille so I didn't stop but for a moment to take a picture as I was coming in to the village. I continued on towards Glengesh Pass and on to Ardara. The rains picked up as I began the twisting drive up to Glengesh Pass. I took advantage of each pullout to capture the every changing beauty of the pass at every turn. Even in the rain or maybe because of it, GlenGesh Pass had an ethereal quality. I stopped at the top of the Pass, leaving Peg in the pullout and ventured out into the rains to take photographs of the waterfalls cutting new crevasses into the hillsides. I also said a prayer for all those who travel the pass at the statue of Mary.  Someday I hope to actually see the Glengesh Pass in sunlight. I have always traversed it in the grey and wet.

I ventured into Ardara and parked in the riverside carpark to go in search of an ATM. I spotted Nancy's Pub, a place which my friend Nancy Monaghan, had asked me to stop into and raise a glass in her honor. A Donegal native, Nancy's is her favorite pub. I obliged with a quick dram of Whiskey.  I am sure that I looked a bit bedraggled and weather worn, as the Barman asked where I had been all this wet day. I gave him a short version of my adventure. He and the handful of other folk at the bar seemed to think me a bit nuts hiking in all of the stormy weather especially up on the Sliabh Liag. When I told him I only had one day to do what I had needed to do and bad weather wasn't going to stop me, he shook his head and said "Are you sure you're not a Donegal girl? You're wild enough to be one, indeed you are". I took it as a compliment even if his eyes were twinkling like he had just told the best joke.

Back at the B&B by 7:45 with a take-away meal of fried chicken and chips, I had my dinner in the sunroom. A phone call back home to check in with my folks gave me my much needed "parent" fix. Bernadette had laid a nice peat fire in the hearth for me. She brought me in a pot of tea and some biscuits. I settled in next to the fire with a good book and my journal. A great way to wind down from a most ambitious day!

Tomorrow...... Detours.....wrong turns....and changing plans....



-- Edited by CowboyCraic on Monday 8th of June 2009 08:22:28 AM

-- Edited by CowboyCraic on Monday 8th of June 2009 01:42:08 PM

Attachments
__________________

www.rinconcreekstudios.zenfolio.com



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2169
Date:

Bit -

I think you replicated my 2007 Route almost in its entirity! biggrin biggrin

Did not know that my "Road Side Stop" was called Salmon Leap, but, in retrospect, it makes sense.  Our day was MUCH brighter and drier than yours, though.  We had light rain while passing through the gate to the Upper Car Park and DRIVING, Heavy rain as we turned around at Teelin Pier, but the rest of the day it only seemed to rain as we were driving.

Silver Strand was experienced in bright sun and we did NOT stray from the upper car park, as the wind was blowing FIERCELY (and COLDLY! hmm hmm ).  With all that, we shared Silver Strand only briefly with one other couple who started UP just after we finished our decent, and we passed one other couple, as we made our way back UP -- in the vicinity of the Rest Bench .... biggrin biggrin

My pictures don't do any of the sites the justice they deserve, but YOU seemed to have captured them VERY well.  aww

It PURED down while we were inside the Tea Shop and Craft Shop, causing us to tarry.

The owners found that rain QUITE lucrative ! ! ! yawn yawn

Thanks, for the memories ...

Bob



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 373
Date:

Bit, I still say you should write a book. This was very interesting, once again. youngka

__________________
Living in Oregon, like to travel, love going to Europe, Alaska and maybe one day China.


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 48
Date:

A great read Bit! I love your sense of adventure.

__________________
Kelly Green


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 40
Date:

Bit

Your stories are fascinating. I am totally in awe of the things you do on your trips not to mention the pictures you are able to capture. Look forward to hearing more

Barbara P

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1382
Date:

Go Raibh Mil Math Agat, Mo Charas (Thank you very much, my friends),

I am glad that my trip report has been an enjoyable read. There will be more installments and then at the end, a summary with websites and costs.

I am also glad that you are enjoying my photos. I have been busy adding them to products in my Gallery. I also submitted the Silver Strand photo to National Geographic. We shall see what it will bring.

Slan Beo (Take Care), Bit

__________________

www.rinconcreekstudios.zenfolio.com



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 373
Date:

Bit, thanks for translation.....I think we should be planning our next trip together. You know so much of places, etc. You drive! youngka

__________________
Living in Oregon, like to travel, love going to Europe, Alaska and maybe one day China.


Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10692
Date:

Bit,

You certainly have perseverance in the face of bad weather. What an adventure! Great photos too. Hope you win the National Geographic contest.

Michele

__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 226
Date:

Bit, reading this part of your report certainly evokes strong memories of my May, 2008 stay in Ardara. We spent a week self-catering across the street from Nancy's - great oysters and craic - a most welcoming pub and some good stories. I almost feel guilty telling you that we had near perfect weather for the entire week; had I driven to "the upper parking lot" in heavy rain I might have faked a heart attack at the top to get a ride down...YIKES. The Glengesh pass is indeed spectacular in clear conditions. Good Report!
Stewart 


Attachments
__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us


Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard