Ireland – Hike Norfolk Walking Trip Day 1

Quote of the day“You could have sorted this, you’ve so wealthy you could have bought the pub” – Dave

Bravest walker of the day – Julian

OK, so I’m rather behind with the write-up of this week. So settle down, get a coffee, a chicken bake and a Viennetta and get ready for the story. Photos are partly uploaded, I’ll add more separately later on.

So, we all arrived in Doolin and spent most of the night in the pub, but that’s day 0 and I’ll come back to that evening later on. There’s a lot of stuff that I’m going to have to come back to. I was very well behaved, but I noticed that some others weren’t. However, as I say, I’ll return to that.

Day one was our first walking day, and I decided that the group needed a challenge. So five of us met at the youth hostel bus stop in Doolin and the other four stood on the wrong side of the road at the next bus stop along. The bus driver thought that they were idiots. Primarily because we told him that.

On the subject of the bus driver, he was exceptionally friendly and he was kind enough to take our photo when we arrived at our start point. He seemed confused as to why we would walk in the rain, but then again, I was similarly confused.

Anyway, the coach went to Lahinch which is probably a  lovely place, but we didn’t really see it. Well, we saw the golf course and a castle thing which had half fallen down. The weather was dreadful and although we hoped it would stop raining, it didn’t all day. I was very brave about the whole thing.

The first part of the walk was mostly along the road, and Steve M and I decided that we’d rush everyone along to speed the boring bit up. I explained that this section was around three miles until we hit the coast. So, after eight miles, we reached the coast and it was absolutely lovely.

We did have a long stop though in the petrol station and two of the group needed the toilet. They didn’t think to go before we all went out, but I didn’t say anything as I didn’t like to cause a fuss. Well, no-one would believe how long we were in the bloody petrol station. Probably around 45 minutes, as some people wanted a coffee, some wanted chocolate, some wanted crisps, some wanted a lie down. And then Susanna decided that she would buy some bin bags to wear, which was actually one of my ideas. Bev, who sadly isn’t on this trip, looks lovely in bin bags, which is what gave me the idea.

So, with Susanna wearing an elegant bin bag, and everyone else rested, the process of walking continued. We were getting wetter and wetter and fortunately my new coat proved that it was waterproof. Although my bag certainly wasn’t.

Our arrival on the coast was hard to forget as Steve M and Steve B stood right on the edge of the very tall cliffs. It looked rather risky to me, but they seemed to know what they were doing, so I let them get on with it.

I was more sensible and stood around three metres away from them, which I considered to be sufficiently safe for my liking. The view was spectacular, even in the rain, and the Cliffs of Moher were an impressive site.

I was nervous about part of the path as there had been some reviews saying that it was difficult. Fortunately, it appears that the authorities have made the path much safer by building an inner path which was further away from the edge. I used this even if it meant ploughing through two foot of water, as I like the knowledge that I won’t plummet to my death if I trip over something. The path now is entirely safe and it’d take a complete idiot to actually fall off the cliff, although I was still worried about some of our group. Although I didn’t mention that.

Some of the others aren’t as worried about death as I am and meandered around whatever path they could find. I rushed off so that I didn’t have to deal with the fallout of any emergency, and also because I wanted to reach the lunch stop as fast as possible.

The lunch stop was at the visitor centre of the Cliffs of Moher and was busy with coach groups and those who had driven there. I didn’t like this as everyone else had cheated, with all these tourists being delivered to the visitor centre by car, rather than trudging through the rain for three hours as we had done. On the bright side, we didn’t have to pay to park and they did. Anyway, I didn’t hold it against them.

Actually, I did. I became quite irritated at the faffing about of some people with their umbrellas and fancy shoes, being careful that they didn’t stand in the mud. I was going to barge by, but I decided to be polite and just tut quietly for the twenty minutes that I was caught behind them.

The visitor centre was a welcome relief and enabled me to dry off around 1% of my trousers in the time that I had. I had a cup of coffee and sat down in a puddle, which was mostly created from my bag. The cafe wasn’t particularly warm, but then the other eight of our group arrived in and ordered cakes, chips and goodness what else. To be honest, I could have just stayed in the visitor centre all day and then got the bus back, but I have to try and look really brave.

The next part of the walk meant that we came back into Doolin, and some of us went via the road inland to speed the process up, whilst some continued along the footpath. The weather only started to improve towards the end of the day, just as we arrived back into Doolin.

There was then a little incident when someone accidentally told Susanna and Joy the wrong road to go down back to their accommodation. I’m not one to cast blame for mistakes such as this, but they really shouldn’t have headed off without a map, just on the say so of a non-local. The end result was good, they got lost and were picked up by an American tourist who kindly took them back to their hotel.

The rest of us were comfortably tucked up in rooms across Doolin trying to dry off, although that process wasn’t helped by some of the B&Bs not having radiators which were actually on….

The evening started in McDermott’s Bar in Doolin where we had a pint and Dave wouldn’t stop talking to the barman. Although Dave rarely stops talking and he went and did that whilst I dried things out in front of the pub fire. That was rather lovely I must say, and I did make some inroads into drying clothing off….. The pub wasn’t doing food and so we headed back to McGann’s pub which we had been to the previous evening.

Despite it being a Sunday evening the pub was still relatively busy, although the helpful staff were able to find a table for nine of us easily enough.

The group was its usual raucous itself, but like the titan of sensibleness I am, I managed to stay refined and above it all. I can’t say who was gossiped about, but the people involved will probably guess who they are. One of them was particularly talked about….

The beef stew and mashed potato was excellent, lots of beef which was tender and full of flavour.

And that was followed by apple crumble and ice cream, before a Guinness and an Irish coffee. All rather lovely.

The Guinness in the pub was excellent and there was lots of that consumed throughout the night. Mainly by Dave I’d add. One of the wealthier members of the group showed off their wealth by ordering an extra Guinness that we didn’t need…… It must be amazing to have that much money.

There was also some dancing, which I inevitably didn’t involve myself in, but some of the wealthier members of the group got themselves involved in that. It even included some of the locals from the pub.

At the end of the evening we decided to treat ourselves to a taxi journey home as four of us were miles away from Doolin. And walking home late at night along the road isn’t the most appealing things to have to do….

So, all in all, another brilliantly led walk and some of the best coastline that I’ve seen. A really beautiful location, although it was a bit of a shame about the rain.