Month: <span>February 2017</span>
Month: February 2017

Cheese Pudding

I had the Remoska out again today and made a Cheese Pudding for our dinner, serving it with new potatoes, broccoli and vine cherry tomatoes.

The baking dish fits nicely in the Remoska pan and allows some extra space for another meal component (in this case, a truss of tomatoes roasted with olive oil and sea salt)

Used: Remoska, 1 saucepan plus steamer on top, on gas ring.

I give full details over at my Remoska blog, Rumbletums.

Megaliths and apple pie

The one thing that I wished for most for our Irish trip was to witness an Atlantic storm rolling in and to see the huge breakers. Imagine then my anguish when Doris came knocking, the moment that we left the West Coast for the Midlands.

We spent the stormy night at Lock Rynn, still alone on the site. We were quite exposed to the wind but thought that better than moving to park under the trees. Vincent stood up well to the wind, rocking a little from time to time but was in no way alarming. I was reminded of the night that we spent at Finstown in Brunhilde when the ferry was cancelled due to wind. She bounced up and down all night, leaving the ground and then crashing back down onto her stays with a BANG. 

So happy that Vincent does not behave like that! All the same, we did not get a lot of sleep and were happy to lie in for a while in the morning until the weather settled.

When we rose it was still raining but only breezy and no longer wild. It was near enough midday when we got away, which had given quite enough time for the many fallen trees along our way to have been cleared from the road.

For the main part the weather was not too bad on our journey, though there was plenty of heavy rain about – we managed to miss most of it.

Mr Snail had struggled to persuade the SatNav system to accept the route that he wanted to use and we had some iffy moments along the way but did manage to find our destination without too much trouble. 

The centre lies off a narrow unclassified approach road

We are at the Loughcrew Megalithic Centre and currently on our third night here. The caravan site has, I think, 17 pitches and is attached to the small complex of thatched cottages that house the Heritage Museum, Cafe, Events hall and toilet facilities around a paved courtyard. There is also a gift shop selling mounted photographs, photographic greetings cards and other small craft items and Hostel accommodation. The walk up to Cairn T begins a short way up the narrow road outside the centre. 

Vincent on the site

The site is largely hard core surface, with some grass for awnings. Electricity is included in the pitch price. No drive over waste point but an outside privy provides an Elsan disposal point. The toilet block is shared with visitors to the centre (and I suspect also with the site’s staff) which is not a terrific situation – there are just two toilet cubicles in the Ladies and only one shower. The same is true for the Gents, I believe. There is a Disabled toilet/shower room. .For once, the showers are not charged as extras. Better still, they are not push-button delivery. The water is very hot and the shower is powerful.

The view can be better than this

On the down side, the Ladies shower cubicle is somewhat cramped. A stool is provided. The cubicle is just about large enough to enable one’s clothes to remain dry (ish).

It is good for once to find facilities that have not been done on the cheap and this block is quite a pleasant place to be, although unheated. Relatively classy by comparison with many of the sites we have visited,

Niall, our host, could not be friendlier or more helpful. 

We had imagined having this site to ourselves as we have become accustomed to but this  was not to be and by bedtime we had two sets of neighbours.  More rigs have arrived today and the last time I looked outside, we are seven at the party. There are children.

It is pleasant to have a cafe on site and to be able to get a coffee and cake – we recommend the delicious deep-filled apple pie. However, the cafe does not open until 11am and does not serve anything suitable for breakfast. They should serve bacon rolls – they would make a killing!

We attempted to visit the cairns on our first afternoon here and got as far as the top of the car park steps before the hail started and sent us scuttling back to the van. We were high enough to see some of the view inbetween the showers. Yesterday, when we tried again, the weather was overall better but was more dull and with poorer distant visibility. I tried some photographs but could have wished for a better day.

Quite a climb – see Vincent back at the site – this from half way back down the hill

It was quite a climb. The views were worth it however, even if not at their best.

The landscape is beautiful with hedges, walls and lush, green fields

The “Hag Stone” – a decorated kerb stone at the Cairn

The cairn was once covered in quartz and must have looked entirely spectacular.

If you fancy a visit, be quick – the Loughcrew Megalithic Centre is currently charging low season rates and offering a third night stay for free if you pay for the first two.

The Remoska has been in action again tonight. I made a Cheese Pudding and will be telling all as soon as I can.

We are moving off again tomorrow – heading Eastward. Won’t be long now before we are back to Winter Base.

Remoska update

We have been on hook-up for much of this trip and so I have been trying to put the Remoska through its paces. I have made a brief report on Rumbletums.

A slight hiatus

We still have not booked in or paid for our stay here and there has been no sign of the caretaker yet. Guilt did not keep us awake however, nor did the incessant rain. We slept well and it proved to be a peaceful spot with no road traffic noise.

When we rose this morning the day was dry, if not fair. There were kayakers out on the lough and Nell found them most interesting. Mr Snail played ball with Nell and I took some photos of Vincent on the site.

The site is all hard standing – some pitches have grass for awnings etc. There is a new-ish facilities block, picnic tables and barbecue points
Vincent on site at Lough Rynn – the caravan park is fenced off from the boating area
Vincent on site at Lough Rynn
Vincent on site at Lough Rynn – large area for the boating fraternity

When we were on the Galway Forest trip we found that we were unable to open the skirt locker that houses our boots and walking shoes. We settled for putting the walking shoes in the back of the van at that point and then clearly forgot all about the matter. Since then we have been managing with walking shoes and not needed to boot up.

Lough Rynn

Yesterday when we went out in search of a walk we followed the path from the campsite that skirts the lough and goes into a wood. We got only so far before finding the mud and water too deep for us to progress.

Today we decided that we really needed boots if we were to go back into the wood and I reminded Mr Snail about the locker situation. Happily, he was able to open the locker today and the boots came out… still wet from their last use and covered in mould. Ugh.

I am sanguine about my boots as they are synthetic materials and Gore-Tex lined. His boots however, are leather and may need some work to rescue them.

In the woods, the ivy is taking over and running amok

Anyway, that is by the by. The point is that we went into the wood and waded through the point where we stopped yesterday… only to find (a) a shocking amount of litter and (b) that there wasn’t much path after that point before hitting the road (not suitable for walking). 

There is reportedly walking in the grounds of the castle hotel next door but we have been able to confirm this and are reluctant to go wandering there with Nell unless we can have confidence about it, so dispensed with that option. We came back and made coffee.

The rain has settled back in again now and is set to worsen as Storm Doris passes through, We are warm and cosy in our little van and I have the Remoska on, cooking some comfort food. We shall weather the storm and tomorrow hopefully we shall have better weather for our journey on to Loughcrew.

Water, water everywhere

East and North today. Preparing to return to the ferry next week. The huge meal that we had eaten at The Derg Inn last night …

Re-caffeinated at last

We left Cong with some trepidation. We had struggled to map out the next few days adequately, with Mr Snail resisting the idea of going to Terryglass Quay (due to Portumna Marina being closed for development) due to the known presence of “No Overnighting” signs. Eventually the struggle became too great and so we pencilled in Terryglass anyway but not without raising his stress levels.

I had emailed the Waterways to check what exactly the situation was but had not received a reply by the time that we set off.

We drove down to Galway and experienced our first stretch of Irish Motorway (M6). Along the way were signs that Spring had truly set in and there were trees in blossom and hosts of daffodils and lambs. It has been so warm that we have had no heating on in the van  for days past – not day or night. In fact the previous night had seen the internal temperature in the van at 16 degrees Celsius in the small hours, and us uncomfortably throwing off the bedding in order to keep cool. Not that it has been sunny – not at all, it has mainly been dull, or wet or dull and wet.

We had to pass through Portumna to reach Terryglass and decided to go and look at the Marina to see how things were progressing, in order to report back to various interested parties and groups on Facebook. Unfortunately, we failed to find the marina before finding ourselves on the far side of Portumna.

Vincent at Terryglass

Happily, Terryglass Quay was more readily found. The unwelcoming signs are still there and Mr Snail was not in the least bit happy. We parked up out of the way and took the dog for a walk.

There’s a good cemetary in the village but I had no time to explore

On returning to the van I found my reply and was delighted that it told me that “Waterways Ireland do allow campervans to stay overnight at our facilities on a short term bases.  I have attached our Voyages and Visits publication and you will find information on pages 32 of the facilities available. ” 

We breathed out and settled in. Then we went to The Derg inn for dinner.

I liked Terryglass. It is a lovely little village, very peaceful and very neat and clean and tidy. It has the regulation two pubs in the regulation side-by-side configuration,

Twin pubs

The school is in the heart of the village and there is a large area for parking.

Vincent in Terryglass

The village holds a few delightful surprises to reward the wanderer. We visited two Holy Wells – the one for the eyes (only has efficacy in May) and the one for the head (seems to work any time of year.) Both had cloots, mainly of the paper napkin or hanky  type and only a few of those, nothing as impressive as Munlochy.

The Quay is a short walk away from the village centre and has street lighting all the way, The Marina area is also well lit (possibly too well lit for van sleepers.)  There are Public Conveniences (locked) as well as the facilities block  (card operated – cards from the Derg Inn/Shop) for the leisure amenity users. There are picnic tables and recycling bins. No off the lead walking anywhere that we could find in the vicinity of the village.

We passed a quiet night with no disturbances and just the sound of running water to lull us to sleep.

Excellent coffee at the Derg Inn, by the way. I was well in need of a shot of proper caffeine after so long on campervan instant.