Taking the High Road to Dunquin

The Emlagh House served up a wonderful breakfast for us this morning complete with ham and cheese omelettes, yogurt and granola, and pancakes which were more like small crepes served with Nutella. 

Today's element is water because we started our walk on the beach. What a welcome change from the mud and cow dung. We determined it is when we walk on the tarmac roads that it is hardest on our feet so walking on firm sand gave us a much needed break. 

After the strand of beach we made our way to a grassy path with some tall hedge groves. In parts the grove is so narrow it barely fits one person. All over our walk many of the groves have wild blackberries growing. So every time I see a large one that I think will be sweet I pick it and eat it.

The path eventually came out to a tarmac road. It was here that our walking notes said we could go one of two ways. We could go to higher ground via a grassy path or take the main road down below. In option one, there is a river to cross and if the river was overflowing due to rain it might be difficult to get over and the only choice would be to go back to the road. So (here it comes) we decided to take the high road. 

The "high road" was a track cut into the side of Mount Eagle (Sliabh an Iolair). Dunquin, our destination, lies on the western slope of this mountain range adjacent to the sea. The southern slope of Mount Eagle falls steeply away to the sea to form Slea Head. 

Then the rain came. We walked for about 2-3 hours in the rain and at times it was a downpour. There was no one in site except Amy and I with a LOT of sheep. Our main guidance was a four foot stone wall that we followed the entire way. I learned the origin of the word sheepish. We would walk within 3 or 4 feet of the sheep and they would run away hurriedly.

 Don't be sheepish with me  

Don't be sheepish with me  

The track, on a clear day is "supposed" to afford incredible views of Slea Head and the Blasket Islands. We saw none of that from the track. As we started to descend we got little glimpses of the bottom half of the islands in the distance. We couldn't see Slea Head at all. We figured we wouldn't see it and chalked it up to Irish weather. We took an image anyway to document it. 

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And then something spectacular happened. The rainy skies, clouds and fog fully cleared and we had a full view of The Blasket Islands and Slea Head with blue skies. We felt incredibly lucky and thankful. 

 Blasket Islands in the distance and Slea Head on the right.  

Blasket Islands in the distance and Slea Head on the right.  

Stats

  1. Miles: 11.5
  2. Steps: 26,000
  3. Floors climbed: 55
  4. Number of hikers we saw: 4
  5. Stiles: 3
  6. Sheep: Too many to count
  7. Blue skies: Just enough just in time!