Last year I started the New Year on the top of Errigal with a hike to welcome the dawn on the summit. I had hoped to repeat that this year but my back has been playing up all week making it unlikely. Then to top it off there was a weather warning for high winds on Atlantic coasts and high ground. The predicted wind speed on the summit at dawn was 80-100km/hr so there was no way I was chancing that, especially in the dark.
After a lazy lie in we marked the New Year all together instead with a walk on Rathmullan Beach which is a regular spot for us and Catriona’s favourite. We ended up sitting in the car for almost half an hour as the rain hammered down before deciding to get some chips from the nearby van. Instead of going home afterwards as expected we were delighted to see the weather clear and the sun actually come out. We ended up with beautiful weather for a beach walk – a strong, bracing wind but no rain!
Afterwards we paid a brief visit to my Grand Aunt Ruby who had her 106th birthday yesterday! She had a busy day with some visitors and lots of phonecalls and was pretty tired from it all so we didn’t stay very long. She’s some lady.
Finally before heading home we called via Mum and Dad’s for a visit and to wish them a Happy New Year in person. This rounded off a very enjoyable, relaxing and family orientated start to 2022.
One of Donegal’s most famous landmarks and probably the most photographed, lies on Magheraclogher Beach outside Bunbeg. It’s the remains of a boat (Bád Eddie is Irish for Eddie’s boat) that ran aground in the 1970s and has sat there for almost 50 years. We’ve never been there and as it’s in serious danger of collapsing completely, we made the journey today to see it for ourselves and get some photos of our own before it disappears for good.
It’s Catriona’s birthday this week and as we’re all at work and school she wanted to celebrate today with a family day away, especially as we appear to have temporarily skipped straight from Spring to Summer.
On the way down we stopped at my brother’s coffee van (#curiouscoffee). I’ve stopped a couple of times already on my way to work but as they are only open 9 weeks now it was a first visit for Catriona and the boys.
Coincidentally Mum and my sister plus kids had a similar idea and we met them there and sat having a chat for a good while.
The main aim of the day was to go for a family walk. We had chosen Glenevin Waterfall outside Clonmany but the car park and trail were closed. According to Google it’s “temporarily closed” so it must be a victim of the lockdown restrictions.
Our next choice was always going to be a beach walk anyway so we headed for Pollan Strand less than 10 minutes away and walked pretty much the full length of the beach. It was 6km in glorious warm sunshine, as close to Summer as it gets in this part of the world.
On the way back we stopped at the Four Lanterns in Buncrana for burgers and chips topped off by 99s in Raphoe. An extravagant day of spoiling ourselves but a lovely family day out.
If St Patrick’s Day was strange then Mother’s Day wasn’t going to be much different. We wanted to do as much as possible today while being sensible so we went to visit Mum and with a great idea from Catriona we wrote Happy Mother’s Day on A4 sheets and greeted her from outside her garden wall having already left her present outside the front door. It was a bit weird but we got to say what we wanted and she and Dad both stayed safe.
Catriona’s wish was a walk on the beach. We went to Rathmullan as it’s a big wide beach with plenty of space for keeping away from others and allowed us to visit Catriona’s Mum’s grave on the way.
When we arrived in Rathmullan the car park was as busy as I’ve seen it with about 40 cars parked up already. Having seen pictures of crowds in the Wicklow Mountains yesterday we were on the verge of turning away but as there was nobody actually in the car park we decided to have a look down the beach.
It was heartening to see how everyone was behaving. There were a lot of people out walking, lots of couples and lots of small family groups. Everyone was very responsible with everyone well spread out up and down the beach with lots of space. We saw a couple of groups of people meeting who knew each other but just waving. One pair of younger couples were kind of messing but one of the guys was pretty clear about the need to stay apart and made sure the other guy didn’t come too close while still being able to have a conversation.
It was really uplifting to see everyone enjoying the day, the first of the proper Spring weather and to be able to put aside the worries and concerns for just a little while but still being sensible enough to stay safe.
Catriona’s favourite thing is to walk on the beach and it was great we were able to give her that today.
Judging by the forecast today could be the last day of Summer, or at least for a week or so. Combined with my day off we decided to head for a walk on the beach in the spirit of carpe diem.
picnic lunch in Donegal Town on the way
just the two of us as the boys were camera shy today
Some of the photos look very dark but it was bright and sunny for the second half at least.The Marram Grass in the dunes looked really, really green. I don’t think I’ve seen it in full flush before and it was impressive.