Ireland day 0084. Tuesday 21 December 2021- Midwinter21

Ireland day 0084. Tuesday 21 December 2021- Midwinter21
Today’s summary Went on a long-ish walk round Malahide Castle grounds, then up the Robswall hill, and along to the Velvet Strand.   Returned via the coast and spent the evening doing filing
Today’s weather Grey and overcast all day.   No rain or sun, cool south easterly wind.   About 7C
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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 below to download a GPX of today’s walk):
Midwinter Malahide 2021
Commentary

The 21st of December is, slightly perversely, one of my favourite days of the year.   Not because it’s only four days to Christmas, but because it’s only 182 days until midsummer.  From now on, I keep telling myself, the days get just a little bit longer every day.   We can no longer complain to ourselves “aye.. the nights are drawing in..”, as we like to do most of the year in Yorkshire.   Mind you, not being an early morning person, I quite like the fact that we are a good way west of Greenwich, which means that at this time of year, the sun sets a full 15 minutes later than it does in London.   Of course there is a price to pay in the mornings, as the sun rises half an hour later, so it’s only just getting light at 9 am.   And the reason, by the way, that sunrise is 30 minutes later but sunset is only 15 minutes later, is down to the fact that Dublin is some way further north than London, as well as being west.   It gets its payback with longer days at midsummer, though.

So, after getting the bureaucracy sorted for tomorrow’s flight to the UK (so many forms to print and documents to upload!), I decided to max out on the limited hours of daylight and do a long walk connecting up my favourite bits of the Malahide area – and without resorting to public transport this time.   I set off to start with into the Malahide castle grounds, which were looking fully wintry now, although there were still a few leaves clinging on to a couple of the more sheltered trees, giving it a very late-Autumn feel.

Next, I connected up the castle to the Robswall hill by following the road across the railway (a new section for me) then gaining the hill via the Jameson Orchard estate.   It must be quite a nice place to live, up there on the hill, with extensive views both to the south, over Dublin Harbour, and the north, to Donabate beach.   Even on a murky day like today, the Poolbeg chimneys and Dublin Hills were clearly visible on the distant horizon.

When I got to the coast, i had intended to head for home but there was still a couple of hours daylight left so I decided to make the most of it and continue south, down the Velvet Strand beach.   Even though I had been walking on a near-identical strand yesterday at Rush, the beaches all have their own particular character, according to the weather and the state of the tide.   So it was an enjoyable blowy hike about halfway down, to a suitable sheltered spot I’d earmarked for lunch, overlooking the golf course.

I’ve previously commented that I quite like beach walking for a change because they are largely flat – but it didn’t feel that way today.   The steady south-easterly breeze made it feel like I was walking uphill all the way to the lunch stop, which of course was a great bonus when I turned for home, and I had the wind on my back (in a much more symmetrical way than the morning / evening daylight compensation).

I’m back at the flat now and am busy powering everything down (I said that because it makes me sounds like an Apollo 13 astronaut), ready to leave the flat unoccupied for a few days while we are away.   I’ve got some filing to do later – because although it’s very useful having a printer with you when you move to another country, it does have a tendency to spew out lots of paper which you have to do something with.   But first I have a very important task – which is to finish off as much of the pumpkin as I can physically eat.   This will be the fifth night in a row and I think I can say I have given it my best shot – but to be honest I think I have had enough now and it might be a little while before pumpkin becomes my preferred menu choice once again.

 

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

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In the Castle gardens.   There’s an impressive avenue lined with tree ferns – now all tied up and crowns packed with wool to protect from frosts.   Not seen them in the summer yet – they should be spectacular. Right in the middle of the woods is this peculiar rusting contraption.   It looks like it was a giant circular saw, perhaps used by forestry maintenance workers at some point in the past, but now long abandoned.   Fortunately the blade has been removed
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Down at the northern end of the Velvet Strand.   Incredibly there were still people out there swimming, despite the biting wind and extremely unappetising sea.   The more I see of it, the less enthusiastic I get. Down in the dunes, for a lunch stop overlooking the golf course.   You might well ask “which” golf course but I am afraid I have simply no idea.   They are dotted all the way up and down the coast and they all look pretty much the same to me
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Down on my favourite Lithostrotion beach, heading for home.   The tide was out so it was possible to walk most of the way from Portmarnock to Malahide on the beach, except for some of the rocky bits. This was one of the rocky bits – the High Rock swimming area.   It’s a bit of an industrial wasteland at this time of year – hopefully it looks a bit better in the summer!
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Winding walkway in the woods.   One of the most attractive sections of the Castle demesne perimeter path
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