Ireland day 0282. Thursday 07 July 2022- Westport

Ireland day 0282. Thursday 07 July 2022- Westport
Today’s summary Got breakfast in Mulranney then in view of improving weather prospects, decided to spend the morning on a loop walk out across the bay and up a nearby hill. After lunch cycled back to Westport and the got the train back to Dublin. A very enjoyable day.
Today’s weather Grey and overcast in the morning. Improved all through the day. Some sun and clearing skies in the afternoon. Light westerly wind. About 18C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of my afternoon ride)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where I rode this afternoon)
(Click button top below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, and lower button below to download ride back to Westport.   Or see interactive maps at bottom with elevations corrected):
Mulranney Lookout loop walk
Mulranney to Westport greenway cycle ride
Commentary

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was bleak, grey, cold and windy. Today started looking similar – but by the end of the afternoon had become much more pleasant – warm, dry and sunny, and with a much lighter wind.

When I woke up this morning, I actually felt quite good considering the exertions of yesterday’s ride. Maybe I wasn’t quite as unfit as I thought. But before I get up, the first thing I usually do these days is to check the weather forecast and it did seem to indicate – as actually happened – that the day would improve as it went on. So I took a quick decision to swap my day’s planned activities round.

My original idea had been to get up and have a relatively leisurely breakfast, then cycle back to Westport in the late morning, giving me plenty of time to have a look round in the afternoon, before my train at 6:20pm. But – I’ll be honest – I’m more a fan of the countryside than of towns, and although I know Westport is very nice, I thought it would be better use of any good weather that did eventually come along, to spend more time having a look around the Mulranney area. It’s a nice spot, and I could tell that if the cloud lifted, there would probably be good view across Clew Bay, to the south.

So I had a good breakfast at McLoughlin’s (expensive, of course, but excellent views from the dining room) then went over to the tourist information office to see what their recommendations for the day would be. The lady in the office gave me a leaflet about walks in the area and recommended one of the Burrishoole Loop walks – the Lookout Hill Loop, in fact – as one that was worth a try. It had the advantage of starting from right opposite the tourist office, too.

So I locked up my bike and then set off down the causeways that go across the sands to the small harbour opposite Mulranney settlement. The tide was going out as I crossed, so there were plenty of interesting seabirds to look at along the way. And on the harbour pier, a couple of fishermen trying their luck. They were hoping to catch pollack, they told me, which are apparently quite plentiful here.

From the harbour you follow a road then a real, proper, path that leads through the bogs and undulations up to the top of Lookout Hill. I get the impression it’s not a very well walked path, as I struggled to follow it in places, and it was certainly very overgrown and wet. But the views from the summit itself were worth the effort it took to get there. Then to crown it all, just as I arrived, there was a break in the cloud and somewhat miraculously, Croagh Patrick appeared, seemingly floating above the mist. It certainly looked very impressive and you can easily see why pilgrims are attracted to it.

I made my way back down to the greenway and then into Mulranney, where I stopped for an obligatory coffee and cake in a convenient café. The walk had definitely been a good choice for my morning activities, and I thoroughly enjoyed the short 9km / 5mi excursion.

Once I’d enjoyed my coffee, I decided I had better set off on the ride back to Westport. It was still some 32km / 20mi away and even though I had a good 4 hours before the train went, I wanted to allow plenty of time in case I got felled by a puncture on the way. I was soon back on the greenway and although the wind had dropped a bit, it was still reasonably strong from the west and helped propel me along on my easterly journey, about twice as fast as I had travelled in the other direction last Tuesday.

The ride today was a hundred times more enjoyable than when I had done it the other way round. This afternoon, the sun was out, it was reasonably warm, and the wind was behind me. I didn’t stop along the way, even though the views tempted a pause, and was back in Westport in well under two hours. I hadn’t got as long as I had planned to investigate the town, so I headed down to Westport House where (inevitably) I found a café and got something to eat. The time passed quickly as I relaxed a bit in the sunshine, and then suddenly I noticed I had only half an hour left before the train departed.

So I packed my things away, jumped back on the bike, and sprinted over to the station. The train was already waiting in the platform, so I got straight on and settled down to write this blog. On reflection, I’d had an excellent short break and I thoroughly enjoyed this remote westerly adventure. Of course, the whole thing was more pleasant today when the weather improved, but there was something other-worldly about the windswept grey desolation of Achill Island that I actually quite liked. It will definitely merit a return visit once Val is back – perhaps something for the Autumn. I’m looking forward to it already!

Oh, and by the way I understand that the UK will probably have a new Prime Minister later this year. Well, all I can say is that I hope they like the wallpaper. I have a feeling that it’s likely to be the only aspect of the job that they do actually enjoy.

 

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

There are a couple of well maintained causeways that lead across the sands from Mulranney town to the small fishing harbour on the other side of the bay The start of the loop walk, as it descends from the Mulranney promenade down to the causeways
Looking over Clew bay, still rather enshrouded in the murk first thing this morning, but already by this stage the mist was beginning to lift A second view over Clew Bay, once the sun had come out. You might just be able to make out the rolling hills in the middle distance – they are in fact the myriad small islands which litter the spectacularly unusual Clew Bay. they are in fact semi-submerged drumlins, deposited when the irish ice cap retreated at the end of the last ice age
Croagh Patrick, on the far side of Clew Bay, from the top of Lookout Hill. Even though it’s “only” 764 m (2,507 ft) high, it’s imposing and you can see why it’s a major pilgrimage destination. St Patrick is said to have spent 40 days fasting on the summit Back on the road again, speeding along the Greenway, heading east and propelled by the wind on my back. Far more enjoyable than cycling into a headwind – which is like an unremitting uphill climb
Climbing up to the top of Lookout Hill. Behind me is Bellacraghe Bay – it’s a sea-lough actually, though it reminded me a lot of Glen Affric, in Scotland
Interactive map

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

Morning walk:
Total distance: 8543 m
Max elevation: 87 m
Min elevation: 0 m
Total climbing: 277 m
Total descent: -281 m
Total time: 02:00:13
Download file: Burrishoole Lookout Hill Loop Walk compressed corrected.gpx
Afternoon ride:
Total distance: 29644 m
Max elevation: 67 m
Min elevation: 0 m
Total climbing: 414 m
Total descent: -428 m
Total time: 01:56:49
Download file: Greenway Return Mulranney to Westport compressed corrected.gpx
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