We left Gortnor Abbey Pier in the rain. It rained all the way from Crossmolina to Clifden, where we stopped for an ATM before going to the ecoBeach site, when the sun emerged (if a little sulkily). On our way we stopped at the Claggan Mountain Trail to give the dog a walk in the rain. It was a lucky spot; there are few places to stop along the road that do not sport height bars to stop us.
Nell was nowhere near as appreciative of the provided walkway as we were. She hates such things but we were happy not to be bog trotting.
I am sure that there must be spectacular views in this little part of the world but not to be seen on our route this time as that low cloud was in evidence everywhere.
The N59 route took us all the way to Clifden and some parts conformed to the high standard of road surface we have been enjoying but there were long stretches of poor road, made worse by surface water and flooding.
We stopped again at Leenane, having spotted an accessible car park with a fjord view and adjacent post office. Our postcard sent to its destination, we explored a little.
I found what must be the best filling station, ever – apparently dispensing Guinness 🙂
Opposite our parking space was the Sheep and Wool museum, sadly closed for the winter.
In the other direction was the view. I’ll bet it looks good when the cloud isn’t down.
Our exploration found a good handful of potential wilding spots.
In Clifden we attempted to park at the SuperValu but spotted the height restriction in time to back out and extricate ourselves before any cars queued up behind us. We had to park in two spaces at the kerb. Cash acquired quickly at the ATM opposite but not fast enough to stop a car from parking behind us and boxing us in (lampost firmly planted in the road in front of us.) Luckily the driver remained in the car and obliged when asked to back up a little.
We decided to try the Sky Road out but our SatNav threw a wobbly and insisted that we turn off it. We have no idea why and cannot believe that the road ahead could possibly have been anywhere near as bad as the route that she had us take back into town.
Finally we escaped Clifden and reached our destination, the Clifden Eco Beach Camping and Caravanning Park. What can I say? It’s pretty wonderful; wild and woolly, with scattered pitches nestling among the machair dunes and a clear view of an Atlantic bay… complete with dolphins. We watched the dolphins for ages today. Sadly they were too far out for a really good view.
There are donkeys close by (they bray) and some Connemara ponies. but very few birds compared to home and we have seen no seals. There are rumours of a wild specimen of Mike Harding (he has a house on the peninsula) but he has not been spotted either. I suspect we should haunt a more natural environment, such as the pub.
Overall, it’s like the very best of wild camping but with electricity hookup thrown in and a place to dump our waste water. Perfect. We are staying for two nights. Our host is a lovely man.
Photos are in short supply, light being poor and conditions being largely wet.
In my opinion this is not really a touring site. This is a place to stop and settle and chill out. I would be happy to return here for a week, or two or a month or even a winter.
I am reminded of home and I am missing my island. It’s a shame about the rain but that’s something that we are well used to at home too.
That brings us right up to date at last, courtesy of that new Irish-enabled data SIM and our EHU. If tomorrow is brighter I shall try for more photos, before we turn east and head for Cong.