With a month to go before I head off on the GR131 across the Canaries I needed to get out into the wilds with a pack on my back for some training not only in hiking with a load but in blogging about it afterwards on the mobile.
So we headed off west past Galway and Oughterard to Maams cross where we turned south across the russet autumnal bog.
At the top of Camus Bay we turned right towards Roundstone and when we met the water again we pulled over at the start of an old turf cutters track which led deep into the soggy wilds.
The cloud was low the air still and moist. We were in a world of water, above us around us and below our feet.
The numerous lakes had miniature cottages beside them which we assumed were for sheltering fishermen trying to hook a salmon.
When the stone paved track ran out we followed the trail marked on the map, now long gone into the bog.
The waterlogged ground quaked and wobbled like a waterbed beneath our feet as we made our way north towards the Maamturk mountains rising out of the horizon.
It was easy to see how nasty it would be in a disorienting mist with little or no features to guide you through the quagmire.
After a stop for a silent sandwich gazing over the vast emptiness we returned to the car and carried on to Cashel House hotel, a lovely dog friendly old school country house with acres of well established gardens we spent the afternoon wandering around.
Up early with the hounds I took a stroll along the shore
before a hearty breakfast to get us up Cashel Hill standing 311mts above us in a beautiful clear blue sky.
Passing the church we followed the track up the hill above the top of Cashel bay
and shortly arrived at an ancient graveyard complete with a ring fort and holy well of St Conaill.
A steep climb with a few rest stops to admire the unfolding vistas brought us the summit trig point and perhaps the best view of the Twelve Bens and Maumturks in the whole of Connemara.
As always the steep descent was tough on the knees, especially with a heavy pack on, but we wanted to explore the coast a little more in the glorious sunshine so after clambering down past forlorn footwear and lichen covered trees
we motored on South to a big beach near Carna.
A low tide football pitch and shell covered sands led us towards Finish Island but the waters were not low enough to cross over so we stood gazing into the fading light.