Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A grey day around Connemara

19th December 2022

The second full day of my August 2018 trip to the West of Ireland remained dry until the evening when heavy rain came. That persisted overnight, and I was to see its effects the next day. The incoming weather front ensured that leaden skies that engulfed the tops of even low hills. Thus, even the prospect of getting clear views from any kind of elevation was going to be a non-starter.

That was a little way into the future when I went into Galway’s coach station to catch a bus to Recess. Most were assembling for tourist coach excursions with traditional Irish music playing in the background. What amazed was how easily relief coaches would appear to take the overflow. It really was a case of earning revenue while the customers were there.

When I did get to Recess, the day felt decidedly autumnal. Views over Glendollagh Lough were so grey and overcast that any photos would be record shot material. My target for a hike was Cnoc Lios Uachtar, but that was so buried in low cloud that I changed my plans. What I desired were clear views, not a navigational challenge.

Instead, I opted for a yomp around by Derryclare Lough. The Twelve Bens were just as cloud covered as their lower neighbour, so anything featuring one of Ireland’s best known photographic subjects was going to need a return visit if I wanted my own effort at capturing the view to somewhat shine for me. What also amazed me is the electrical power lines blighted the scene. Burying them sounds a tempting way to rewild what is there.

Following the R344 got me to Weir Bridge, where thoughts of following the old railway line appealed. Sadly, they were not realistic, so I followed the N59 to Recess. Given the size of the place and the conditions, I ended up catching another bus to Clifden. Rushed boarding meant that another passenger needed to duck out of the way of the load on my back. This was yet another argument in favour of the folding walking poles that did not arrive in time for my trip. Nevertheless, there was no lasting impact to the day because of this oversight.

A grey day around Connemara

Once in Clifden, I pottered towards the coast. Following a minor road took me along by its harbour before I turned inland to return to the town centre again. This was another short stroll and the place was quiet, even though this was the weekend of its annual agricultural show. That was set to have an impact on traffic the following day, but it had little impact on my roaming before then.

Another bus returned me to Galway, where I had plans for the evening. On the way, I noted where Clifden Show was being held and all the horse boxes that were parked in its vicinity. After that, there were stopping points for beginning hikes near and around the Twelve Bens. There were many lakes to see too, for this is countryside that is well watered. Perhaps perversely, there was some brighter weather around Oughterard and Moycullen, but I just admired any scenery that we passed. Some of the reconnaissance would be used on the following day.

Travel Arrangements

Single journeys with Irish Citylink from Galway to Recess, Recess to Clifden and Clifden to Galway.

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