Ireland – Hike Norfolk Walking Trip Day 3

After the relatively short walk of day two, the third day was a circular walk around the Blackhead Loop, an optional extension to the Burren Way. Sarah, Steve B and myself had an Irish breakfast at our B&B, knowing that we had the luxury of sitting about for a little while whilst the others caught the bus to us.

So, the eventful day started with three of us waiting in Fanore for the others to arrive by bus. This should have been easy. Now, I’m not one to allocate blame, but how the others managed to get off the bus at the wrong point is a complete mystery to me. All they had to do was to get off the bus at the point they’d got on it the day before. But it’s not for me to use words such as ‘hopeless’…. Although if it were appropriate for me to use words, ‘hopeless’, ‘inept’ and ‘incompetent’ would be right up there.

Some of us briefly kicked a football about that we had found on the road before returning it to the location that it should have been. We assume that the school was the correct location, as otherwise the owner of the football would be quite irritated that their ball ended up there….

Steve B jumping back down from the rock after the photograph had been taken. I wasn’t stupid enough to climb up the bloody thing in the first place, it seemed far too raucous for my liking.

The first part of the walk was alongside the side of a hill and as it was elevated we had marvellous views of the coastline. The colours of the sea are visible in some of the above photos (well, technically there’s colour in every photo I upload, but use your imagination here) and it felt a remote part of the country.

We actually only saw a couple of people all day on this week, although I imagine that it’s a much more popular area during the summer months. The signage was again good throughout the walk, with only a few moments where I had to check the .gpx file.

Here is a photo of one of the killer cows which we had to walk by. I appointed Steve M as my bodyguard when we walked by this violent and aggressive animal, as can be seen in the above photo.

The walk was initially on wide paths (although some of them were just a little muddy) but this changed to a more challenging environment of minor scrambling (well, what I call scrambling), bridges and other random structures. I really enjoyed this part though as the path twisted and turned along the side of the hill. Susanna seemed marginally less impressed because of the state of her foot.

The next part of the walk remained coastal, until we cut through between two hills. Now, there was a lot of complaining at this point from some members of the group, who decided that they thought the hill was more hilly than I’d pointed out. Frankly, I ignored their complaints, but I said that I was responsive to feedback. Although I obviously wasn’t.

Here’s one of my favourite photos of the trip.

And here’s the behind the scenes photo of the participants getting into place.

Crossing over the hills as we started to go back into Fanore. There was a point where a few people thought it’d be a great idea to walk a different way back to Ballyvaughan. I didn’t, and despite the mutterings of people who said they would miss their bus, I bravely and courageously led the troops back to Fanore. There was though a slightly worrying moment where I thought the path went over another mountain, but all ended up well.

Mountains goats that we saw towards the end of the walk.

We were incidentally back in Fanore an hour early so the decision of the Ballyvaughan six not to buy a return ticket as they thought they’d miss it was proven to be completely idiotic…. But I didn’t say anything at the time, I didn’t like to sneer. Although on reflection, I think I might have said something.

After the walk had finished, the three of us staying in Fanore thought that we’d go down to Fanore Beach. It’s a large expanse of sand and it’s one of the few proper sandy beaches that we saw on the west coast of Ireland during the trip.

I think during our time on the beach we all misjudged the waves slightly and managed to get wet feet….

Some more beach photos….

A random stone I saw which stood out a little in the landscape. We also walked by what appeared to have been a deserted village, a throw back to the Irish famine in the mid-nineteenth century which forced many to have to leave their homeland.

In the evening six of the group returned to their hotel in Ballyvaughan, whilst we decided that another Masterchef performance was necessary in Sarah’s Fanore accommodation. This time it was microwave lasagne for Steve B and Sarah, whilst I went for chicken kievs, and I was rather pleased with my choice. No Viennetta was consumed, as we instead had purchased an apple pie made by one of the locals in the village, and it tasted rather lovely.

Sarah walking back with our provisions for the evening. We were given permission to take the basket and it was returned by Sarah to the village shop the next morning.

So, another lovely day, although as mentioned, some members of the group complained a bit. Well, a lot. The nice thing about this group though is that they complain quite loudly so I can hear the complaints, meaning that I can find someone to pass the blame to. Admittedly the hills were a little higher than I had imagined, but the route was genuinely gorgeous and the coastal views much better than I had been expecting. Lots of different types of terrain were encountered during the day, and Susanna battled on marvellously with her injured foot.