Ireland day 0145. Sunday 20 February 2022- Tolka
|Today’s summary||A very wet DWC walk down the Tolka Valley Park from Ashtown station and then back up the Royal Canal. Welcome refreshments in pub and café at the end|
|Today’s weather||Extremely wet all day until about 5pm. Strong westerly breeze. No sun. About 6C|
|Today’s overview location
(the red cross in a circle shows where Val and I are at the moment)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Wet Tolka Park walk DWC
We’ve led a bit of a charmed life, weather-wise, since coming to Ireland. There’s been an abundance of sunny, dry days and blue skies. And even when it has been raining when we’ve set out on one of our expeditions, nine times out of ten the rain has quickly eased off and the sun has come out. That didn’t happen today.
I suppose that with Dudley, Eunice and now Franklin sweeping through the British Isles over the last five days, sooner or later we were bound to get caught out. Anticipating that this might be the case today, we equipped ourselves with warm clothes, lots of waterproofs and of course the trusty Thermos of hot coffee, before setting out to join the Dublin Walking Club for a short hike down the Tolka Valley from Ashtown station.
As we feared, when we reached the station it was lashing down with rain but fortunately, just across the tracks, there was a decent café which we just managed to reach before getting thoroughly wet. We sat there seemingly for ages, nursing mugs of tea, in the hope that the rain might ease up a bit but it didn’t. In fact if anything it just intensified. There was a hasty discussion with the rest of the group about whether or not we should even set off – but common sense and dignity prevailed and we decided to risk it. And anyway, we had brought our waterproofs all this way so we thought we might as well use them.
So, layered in sweaty plastic, we headed off down into the Tolka Valley Park. You can read more about the Park in the photo captions below but today it made an ideal destination for a short excursion on a wet Sunday afternoon. Thanks to the weather, there was nobody else about, which as far as I am concerned, is always a good thing. The weather didn’t really do it justice today though so it will definitely merit a return visit on a better day. The Park extends all the way to Glasnevin so perhaps we might return and walk the full length, ending up at the Botanic Gardens.
It was too cold and wet to pause en route, so once we reached the outskirts of Glasnevin, we crossed back over the Tolka and walked up to the Royal Canal towpath. As luck would have it (or not, as it turned out), at that point the westerly wind strengthened and the heavens opened yet again, so we completed the walk back up the canal to Ashtown, struggling into the teeth of a gale laden with face-scrubbing icy water.
Eventually, Ashtown came into view in the distance – and we could even see the pub sitting there alluringly. But it seemed to recede further and further into the distance – in the way these things do when you are desperate – with every pace we took. Nevertheless, we did eventually make it and immediately sought refuge inside to dry out. Val and I went across to the nearby café for a cup of tea to warm up, then joined the rest of the group back at the pub a bit later where hot whiskeys (an excellent idea on a day like today) were enjoyed.
There was a train back into town at just after 4pm so we said our goodbyes and dashed up to the station. As our train approached, I was fascinated to see the signal man rush out of his hut and into the middle of the road to close the level crossing gates manually (you can see him in action in the banner image at the top of the blog). A rather quaint relic of a less frantic age, perhaps, but certainly quite an unusual, although rather charming, sight on a busy commuter line just on the the outskirts of a major European capital city.
Now it’s time for a hot shower to complete the warming-up process, then dinner. I must admit, I’m looking forward to huddling up to the radiator and getting on with Ulysses later. Though I do have to admit, I think chopping some logs and stoking a real fire would be an even more relaxing and therapeutic way to round off the day.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
(Elevations corrected at GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )
Max elevation: 43 m
Min elevation: 23 m
Total climbing: 99 m
Total descent: -98 m
Total time: 01:46:55