Thursday, June 30, 2016

Donegal Wild Atlantic Way (con't) May 30th, 2016


A reflection from the poem "Wagon Train West":
    "when I saw the dawn this morning, I said, let the wagons go on without me"

Polly's knees had had enough.  We called Seamus to see if he could transport a person + bike AND the luggage to our next destination in Ramelton.  The steroid shots had worked their magic but the effect was wearing off and it was a major concern that more fun in the saddle might do permanent harm to her knees.  Rob took a break as well to keep her company and so Lynne and I were on our own:  Gweedore to Ramelton by way of Bloody Foreland,Falcarragh, Creeslough, Lough Salt, and Kilmacrenan. We are at lattitude 55 degrees--really Far North.  As in Happy Valley, Labrador is at 53 degrees. 
In front of the hotel we leave Rob and Polly and head for the coast.  About 1km into the trip I noticed I could not find the GPS route to Ramelton but we had the maps. We discussed it for all of 30 seconds and then I went back to get Rob's GPS because it was so much easier to navigate.

Overlooking Gweedore.  I actually saw a palm tree!  We also saw plenty of rock fences.

We were headed on the coast road to Bloody Foreland.  A little traffic was present in the small town of Derrybeg but not much thereafter. 
Bloody Foreland (the little penninsula)   We didn't bring a picnic lunch and it was only midmorning so we hit the road to Falcarragh.                                       

The owner of the grocery came out and took a picture of us snacking at his front door. We talked to 1/2 the people going into the store.  The Irish are very friendly.  
Our next stop was Ray Church, site of a massacre by Cromwellian soldiers. More than 200 parrishners were killed and are buried around the church.  

Ray Church and Cross

Leaving town we enter the wilderness.  We are heading to the gap in the distance.
Once through it we don't see anything but sheep and fields

Our next stop was Creeslough for lunch. I cannot tell you how many turns we had to make to get to town.  If we had not had the GPS we would still be there debating whether to go right or left. 
They had a nice little pub called Rose's but we opted for a sandwich shop with hot tea.
After lunch we headed to Doe Castle.  During the 16th century it was one of the Irish strongholds against the English but fell many times.  It's in relatively good shape compared to the usual pile of stones.  After checking it out we head for the dreaded Lough Salt.  It was suggested in the guidebook that we bypass to Glen Lough unless we wanted incomparable vistas and brutal climbing.  So we elected that.
Lough Salt itself wasn't much to see but it's the deepest freshwater lake in the County.  The views are pretty incredible.
Here's Lynne having conquered the climb.

All downhill now to Ramelton.  So we are flying low down to Kilmacrenan when we run into a detour sign that appears to take us several miles out of the way.  The road looks passable so we do not want to lose the GPS instructions so we continue on past the "Road Closed" signs.  I know, I know not the smartest call in the guidebook.

and this is what we run in to.  We could get around so it was no biggie.  After crossing the mountains we again find the sun and it warms up nicely.  The ride home is uneventful.  Ramelton for 2 nights.  Tomorrow we will do a loop around the Fanad Peninsula and the following day, leave, to ride all the way back to Donegal.  
Our hostess for the night was another example of creative imaginative helpfulness.  Re-uniting with Polly and Robb we found that there are few restaurants in town and most are closed on Monday.  Our hostess drives us 15km to a beautiful restaurant on Mulroy Bay by Carrowkeel.  We watch the sunset on the plaza outside and have a delicious seafood dinner.  The owner of the restaurant has his daughter drives us back home.  (Too fast in my opinion but we enjoyed our discussion with her about her job prospects and return recently from Australia.)  Most of the jobs are tourist related--I did not see many factories.  The day off has rested Polly's knees and Seamus has outfitted her with an e-bike.  We are in trouble now...

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