Ireland day 0159. Sunday 06 March 2022- SunSeaSand

Ireland day 0159. Sunday 06 March 2022- SunSeaSand
Today’s summary Joined the AGM of the Long Distance Walkers Association (UK) by Zoom in the morning then caught bus to Portmarnock and walked back with the Dublin Walking Club.   Another brilliant sunny day
Today’s weather Bright sparking sun and blue skies.   Occasional clouds but not much.  Much brisker north easterly breeze than recently.   About 7C but felt quite warm in the sun out of the wind
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Portmarnock DWC

I’ve noticed a tendency in people – particularly men – as they older, to become obsessed with the news.   The urgent need to listen to hourly updates on the radio, umpteen TV bulletins at night and of course nowadays near-constant doomscrolling on their phones.   I must admit with the constant assault of what (to my temperament anyway) has seemed like bad news since 2016, I have succumbed more than once to the addiction.   And of course at the moment with the world threatening to unravel before our very eyes, the temptation is even greater.

The solution that seems to work for me is to limit myself to one dose of news a day, and to try and get out and about as much as possible.   And of course give thanks every day that I am in the hugely privileged position of being able to do these things and not to be dodging mortar shells, battling disease, or starving.

So with that in mind, I got up this morning determined to make the best of what promised to be another sparkling sunny day.   First thing though – in what may seem like a strange move – I went to a Meeting.   Luckily it was a Zoom meeting so I didn’t have to go far.  The occasion was the AGM of the Long Distance Walkers Association – a large hiking club back in the UK.   I was on the Executive Committee until recently and wanted to see how things were shaping up.

Like everywhere, the Association has been hit by Covid, but it seems to have come out of it in good shape, and I was really pleased to see some new faces popping up to volunteer to help run things.   And actually the Zoom participation worked well.   It’s not something that we would have even considered before things kicked off in March 2020 and it is one of the (admittedly not very many) reminders of Covid that I hope outlives the pandemic.   It enables people like me who can’t get to these events in person at least to keep up with what’s going on in a way that just reading the minutes afterwards can’t emulate.

The day’s formal matters despatched, I emerged into the sunlight and caught the 102 bus down to Portmarnock.   I didn’t think I would be doing that again so soon after buying a car but there was a specific reason today.   I was joining the Dublin Walking Club for a one-way walk from Portmarnock back to Malahide, and it didn’t really make much sense to drive down then have to figure out a way of retrieving the car once I’d walked back to Malahide.

It was nice to be out with a friendly and fun group of people and although I’ve done this particular coast walk dozens of times, each time it seems different.   The weather and tides mean that the seascape is always changing and now we are into March, there is a different quality to the light too.   It’s much clearer and brighter than it was back in the depths of December.

Being a sunny Sunday, everyone and their dog seemed to be out and about today, and because the tide was in, we were all compressed into the narrow strip of the Velvet Strand that is above the tides.   By the way – I have heard that a “strand” is a sandy shore that is completely submerged at high tide, whereas a “beach” is a sandy shore that isn’t completely covered at high tide.   I don’t know if this is actually true or not but I guess if it is then strictly speaking I should record that we were walking on the “beach”, rather than on the Velvet “Strand” this afternoon.

The walk was enjoyable in the bright sun – I think everyone finished up feeling a bit bronzed (or at least bright red) by the end.   But I was slightly (but only slightly) left hankering for the depths of winter, midweek, when on a cold grey day there’s nobody about and, especially at low tide, you feel like you have the whole world to play with.

The walk finished uneventfully enough in Malahide, with just time to pop into a nice coffee shop for refreshment at the end – and some more chat (I’m exhausted!) then back to the flat to cook dinner.   It’s sausages, mashed potatoes,  peas and gravy tonight and even though I say so myself it looks pretty good.   Even better is the leftover Supervalu Christmas pudding and custard that I’ve promised myself for dessert.   What could be better?


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

I’ve posted this here not to make any particular point, rather to remind myself when I look back on this blog in years to come about the things that were preoccupying us in early 2022 Down the western side of the Portmarnock peninsula, near the golf club, looking through the reeds across Dublin Bay
A perfect spot to pause and admire the view.   looking across to Lambay Island Up at the top of the Velvet Strand with the globe “Eccentric Orbit” monument (note its axis points to the pole star, just like Earth’s does) to the “Southern Cross” flight.   In 1930, the Southern Cross plane took off from the Velvet Strand and 33 hrs later landed at Harbour Grace in Newfoundland, making the first nonstop east-west crossing of the Atlantic, and also in the process completing the final leg of the first ever circumnavigation flight round the world.
I couldn’t decided if this was a roosting flock of Dunnets or Sanderlings – but I caught sight of their legs and concluded that they might actually be Redshanks Back in Malahide, the New Road was buzzing.   It’s still pedestrianised, despite the (surprising) protests of local residents, who think it is killing trade as well as making access difficult, and want it to be re-vehicularised
An absolutely stunning brittlestar washed up on the Velvet Strand.   This is the first I’ve ever seen – either here or anywhere else.   Though for some reason, there were several of them on the narrow strip of shoreline close to where this one had appeared.   There must have been something very particular about the conditions at this spot today.   It was alive, still, as it was slowly plodding its way along the beach when we found it.   Shortly after we found it, a big wave came in and washed it away again, presumably back to the safety of the sea.   They are echinoderms, related to “normal” starfish, sea urchins and (surprisingly) sea cucumbers.   They haven’t evolved much in 400 million years.   This specimen was about 20 cm from leg-tip to leg-tip
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 8112 m
Max elevation: 14 m
Min elevation: -1 m
Total climbing: 118 m
Total descent: -121 m
Total time: 03:01:49
Download file: Relaxing Portmarnock Stroll DWC corrected - Copy.gpx

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