Ireland day 0005. Sunday 03 October 2021- Camino

Ireland day 0005. Sunday 03 October 2021- Camino
Today’s summary Walked the “Boyne Valley Camino” – 25 km from Drogheda to Mellifont Abbey and back
Today’s weather Sunshine and showers again.   Dodged most of the downpours until just before the end.   13C but felt colder in the stiff westerly breeze
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Today’s overview location
(the red cross in a circle shows where Val and I are at the moment)
Close-up location
(click the button to download a gpx file of our walk):
BVC gpx

I am pleased to report that yesterday’s water crisis seems to be a thing of the past.   We had flow from the cold tap this morning which was sufficient for washing and cooking and, OK, the dribble is rather more prostatic than amazonic, it seems to be a step in the right direction.

Water woes behind us, today we decided to go on a pilgrimage.   Yes, we really did.   The local walking group here in Drogheda has created a 25km / 16 mile figure-of-eight walk from St Peter’s church in Drogheda to the ruined Mellifont Abbey and back.   They have had official approval from the committee that approves these things to include this walk in the “Celtic Camino” series.   So this Boyne Valley Camino can be used as part of an official pilgrimage to Santiago to Compostela – you just have to do the 75 km from A Coruña to finish it off.

Val’s and my ambitions today were somewhat more modest – we would just do the Irish bit up the Boyne valley to Mellifont and back, and leave the Spanish section to a later date.   It turned out to be an enjoyable hike, the only major downside being that rather a lot of it was on tarmac.   But it seems that public rights of way across privately owned farmland don’t really exist in Ireland, so countryside footpaths are relatively rare.

But it was an excellent leg-stretch and we played a remarkably successful game of hide and seek with the heavy downpours which seemed to pass us on all sides today, only hitting us at full force when we were about 10 minutes from the end.

Being soaked through, we decided to forego a trip to Bennett’s tonight, and instead while I wrote this blog, Val fought heroically to try and get our stove to burn the cheap wood that I bought at a petrol station last night.   The wood it seems is almost completely non combustible and can only be kept alight with firelighters and discarded crisp packets.

Probably by the end of our stay here, we will have all utilities including water and heating functioning smoothly, but at the moment it does feel as if we are rather rank amateurs.

Anyway, time to check out now and do the washing up then enjoy the rare luxury of a hot shower before bed.

(By the way, the incongruous panorama of at the top of this blog is the heavily graffitti-ised but locally famous Ramparts mural wall, on the south bank of the Boyne just inside the Mary MacAleese bridge carrying the M1 motorway between Dublin and Belfast)

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

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Start of the journey – St Peter’s Church, Drogheda Knitted waymarkers – a first!
(remarkably, halfway round we met the lady who had made them all – theft was becoming a problem, she told us, so more recent waymarks have been daubed rather less charmingly in yellow paint)
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A tea caravan!   Never to be missed, so of course we had to stop in and test the cakes!! Val’s new boots.   Robert H would be delighted.

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Val overlooking the ruins of Mellifont Abbey – dating back to the 1200’s Ireland is great for many things, but access for to the countryside for walkers doesn’t seem to be one of them.   There is nothing like the network of public rights of way, or the right to roam, that we so easily take for granted in the UK
The lavabo at Mellifont Abbey – where monks used to wash before dinner.   A stunning building, even in its ruined state
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