Ireland day 0863. Thursday 08 February 2024- Howth Storm *

Ireland day 0863. Thursday 08 February 2024- Howth Storm
Today’s summary After a good night’s sleep, I got up and braved the storm to take the 102 bus to Sutton and walk on a anticlockwise circuit right round Howth headland.   Excellent blast in the inhospitable conditions – and nobody about at all.   Blissful.   Took the 102 back to Malahide and watched a bit of TV in the evening.
Today’s weather Stormy, wild and wet all day with very heavy cloud almost down to sea level.   Strong to gale force easterly wind.   Appx 7c
Today’s overview location
(The green mark shows the location of my route)
Close-up location
(The orange line shows where I walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Stormy Howth Circuit from Sutton

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

I woke up this morning and quickly found myself in a good mood.   There were several reasons for this state of affairs.   The first was that I had absolutely no commitments in my diary, so I had the whole day completely to myself, to do whatever I felt like.   The second was that it was pouring with rain and thoroughly miserable outside.   This meant that it would be an ideal day to go on a long hike, because there would be nobody else about, and there would be the anticipation of that feeling of well being waiting at the end.

The third reason was perhaps the most surprising.   I had felt quite tired when I went to bed last night –  but I was obviously even more tired than I had realised, because when I looked at the time when I finally woke this morning, to my shock I saw that it was after half past ten!   I don’t think I have slept quite that late since I was a teenager, but it felt great to wake up refreshed and not exhausted.   I must do it more often (and yes I can bear the stigma of being seen as slovenly!).

I decided to make the best of everything and go on a reasonably long (16 km / 10 mi) circular hike around Howth Head, starting and finishing at Sutton Station.   So I packed up a lunch (though as it happens I didn’t eat it until I got back) and flagged down the next 102 bus to pass by St Sylvester’s church.

I wasn’t at Sutton, and the start of the walk, until 1pm, but I wasn’t too concerned as I expected to be finished well before dark, and in any case the path is so clear that it’s almost impossible to get lost, even if it does get dark.   So I donned all my waterproofs (which it turns out were brilliant and kept me completely dry) and headed off into the storm.

The walk was brilliant.   As I had anticipated, there was nobody on the headland path apart from me – which is quite unusual as in better weather, it’s busy and in the summer you even have to queue in parts.   Anyway there was none of that today, and I had the whole place, with its magnificent seascapes and atmosphere, completely to myself.

I had expected to stop half way round for lunch, but I was going well, and I wasn’t particularly hungry and as it was quite hard to get out of the wind and rain, I decided not to stop.   Once round the Nose of Howth, the wind which had been on my face as I started, turned onto my back, urging me along and speeding my journey back to Sutton.   Best of all, the tide was out so I could walk across Burrow Beach and round the golf course peninsula, meaning I could I could finish the walk on sand rather than tarmac.

As if on cue, a 102 pulled in just as I arrived at Sutton station, so I was back in Malahide and in the flat only about 20 minutes after I finished walking.   It was an altogether fittingly perfect end to a perfect walk, and now I’m going to unwind with a hot shower and some TV.   But first things first – I haven’t had the lunch I carried with me all the way round Howth, yet, and I’m getting hungry.

Three cheers for cold, wet and stormy February days!


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

By the Luí na Gréine (The sun’s rest) monument on the beach near the start of the walk – it commemorates the arrival of the early settlers on Howth Baily lighthouse – roughly halfway round the circuit
Floriferous gorse felt a bit out of place on the windswept bleak cliffs of Howth  Today’s unusual easterly storm brought the type of rolling breakers normally that are confined to Atlantic coasts, right into the Irish sea and crashing onto the unyielding slabs of Howth Head
Herons are usually solitary birds, in my experience, though today there was almost a flock of them on this warehouse roof in Howth, no doubt on the lookout for easy pickings from the nearby seafood restaurants Ireland’s Eye looking mysterious in the gloom
Steps carved into the cliff face on the way up the south coast of Howth, near Red Rock
Interactive map

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

Total distance: 16431 m
Max elevation: 112 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 506 m
Total descent: -506 m
Total time: 03:01:30
Download file: Howth-circuit-from-Sutton-compressed-corrected.gpx

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