Day 13 - Bog trotting
Chez Nous, my home for the night in Belmullet is a large chalet bungalow about a mile from the centre of the small West Mayo town. I was greeted by Tom and his young granddaughter and shown my room which was a pleasant double with ensuite shower-room. Tom is a man of few words and he told me I’d meet his wife at breakfast, the best place to eat and then left me to it.
I started the blog after I’d finished washing my kit and myself under a really powerful shower and then wandered into town to find the Talbot. I drew some money out of the cashpoint on the way. The Bank were trying to get me to take a charge for converting pounds to Euros but Mastercard will almost certainly do a better deal so I elected for them to charge my account in euros. I have a Halifax card that makes no transaction charges but I will incur interest charges on the money until I pay the bill.
The Talbot was busy with a large table of ladies out for the evening and several other tables of four or five people. I had a goats cheese crostini starter and a fish pie with extra mash and veg and a couple of glasses of wine. Both courses were very good and filling enough to leave it at that. I walked back to the B&B and finished the blog before bedtime.
This morning dawned bright but by the time I left after the usual fry-up served by an equally taciturn Veronica it had started to cloud over and only a couple of miles into the ride it started spitting. It went on like that all day with the odd harder shower but nothing of much consequence.
There was about 3 miles of well surfaced back road before I joined the R313 which made its way across Tristia Bog
There were the usual peat workings and I wonder how much bog will be left if this continues. Presumably someone is overseeing the amount that can be cut but it is obvious how much the levels have been reduced.
The roads today were straight and I continued under leaden skies until I joined the N59 at Bangor Erris. I was now skirting the Ballycroy National Park, one of the largest remaining areas of Atlantic blanket bog so turbary and farming are banned though there appears to have been some forestry planting
I left the main road once more and wound along some poorly surfaced side roads that passed small loughs and isolated houses. For the first time I was chased along the road by several dogs, none vicious, but it always puts a chill down my spine when it happens. At one point I took a false turn and whilst I was consulting the map a driver stopped and asked if he could help. I got myself back on track until I rejoined the main road some 30 miles into the journey. Six miles on I was back on the coast at Mallaranny/Mullranny - the spelling seems to differ. I knew that this is on the Great Western Greenway, a cycleway which I shall follow in its entirety tomorrow. I took a picture of one of the covered signs that give information about the cycleway and under one of which I sheltered on the high moor yesterday