As trailed in yesterday’s post, Tuesday was a day off for the adventurers. So it was inevitable they would go for a walk. Bernie took us to a particularly picturesque corner of Sligo (which is quite something) in the form of Strandhill. Another trip to the seaside.
The hill at the strand called Strandhill
The gory details follow….
As already hinted at, there were some thick heads this morning. Some were thicker than others, a phenomenon I believe was directly proportional to the amount of Sicilian Liqueur consumed, and nothing to do with Guinness. As a direct consequence, it was neither an early start to the day, nor a particularly hurried one. When we did eventually hit the road, Bernie was at the wheel and I installed myself in the back seat to admire the view from there.
Weather-wise, it has settled into something of a pattern – pretty much everything in one day (sun, showers, and a bit of breeze) but still relatively warm. Perfect weather for strolling on a beach. Indeed, when we arrived at the small seaside village of Standhill, we parked up and ambled down to the broad sandy beach. Of course I was being naive in thinking it would be an “amble”. Chappers in particular doesn’t ‘do’ amble, and he has led Bernie astray. Bernie also had the advantage of local knowledge, thus knowing that the lay-of-the-land lends itself to a circular walk and knowing exactly how far it was. I had neither the desire nor capability of keeping up with them, so I ambled, cheerfully taking photographs and letting them become increasingly small dots in the distance. After all, I reasoned, they’d have to turn round and come back eventually — the circular nature of the walk hadn’t been shared with me in advance!
The beach was far from deserted, but it wasn’t Blackpool either. A gang of workers were labouring hard with a collection of big machines to reinforce the sea defences – erosion of the sand dunes is clearly evident. To the untrained eye they seemed to be spending a lot of energy moving big rocks around at random, but even I have to accept they know more about building sea defences that I do. That said, quite what the point of diving sand out from the beach then tipping it into the sea 50m away is likely to achieve in the long run, I haven’t a clue.
As the tide was in, we had to thread our way carefully through their work site. Given the size of the machines and frenetic activity, I just hoped they were as wary about us wandering through their site, too. Once beyond that obstacle, the beach was the domain of dog walkers and a party of about a dozen hikers who popped out on the the beach from the dunes just ahead of us. Tracks in the sand suggest that this area is enjoyed by equestrians, quad bikers and trials motorcycles, too, but none of these were in evidence today.
Bernie from behind
Chappers from behind
Chappers was well rested by the time we collectively reached the peninsular at the far end of the beach. The currents here, combined with a wind which didn’t know which way it was coming from, stirred the water up into a maelstom at this point. No wonder there were signs dotted around with dire warnings about not swimming.
Google Map to orient yourself of where I’m taking about…
Having turned the corner and heading back north, we were out of the wind but it was still quite hard going underfoot with each footstep sinking ankle-deep into the soft sand if you didn’t pick your path carefully. At a seemingly random point our native guide turned inland and into the dunes for the route back to Strandhill. Unfortunately for him, Chappers was inevitably about 50m ahead and had to retrace his steps. He only chuntered a bit.
We may have only done a couple of miles at that point, but once we got back to where we started and the Boys began to continue the other way along the beach, I chose to drop out and make a start on the Blog for Sunday instead. I’m told I missed out on a shorter but interesting walk that took them over the runway of Sligo airport (legitimately – it’s a public footpath!). Chappers recorded the moment for posterity…
When they returned, we decided to investigate the nearby Shells Café for a coffee. This turned out to be a really popular spot and we were all a little envious of some of the food which was being brought out. We knew we were going to be eating out later, so kept to our resolve to only have a drink here. The customers were certainly an eclectic mix of people, and without leaping to judgment, didn’t look like the average seaside crowd. The casino and several bars notwithstanding, I don’t think Strandhill is an average seaside place, either.
Once we had drunk up, we got back in the car and headed into Sligo itself, with me typing away in the back, hoping to get the blog finished so I could find some WiFi and upload it. I still hadn’t finished before Bernie pulled into the multi-storey car park for the Quayside shopping centre. First order of business was a cashpoint, then a wander around the city. Although we retraced a lot of the ground I’d covered the day before, as it was sunny this time it made the place look a lot more appealing than Monday’s greyness.
Sligo in the sun
Chappers and Mr. Yeates
Final call was Tesco for supplies then back to the car and Bernie’s house. A relaxing afternoon before getting back in the car for the short drive to McDermott’s at Castlebaldwin. It was just about 18:00 when we got there, with Bernie having their Early Bird menu in mind, but he was a little deflated to be told they’d discontinued that. No matter, we each had a fantastic and reasonable value-for-money steak, which was well presented and universally declared delicious.
Once we’d polished that off, we went back to the village to dump the car and go up to the Mayfly. As it doesn’t open until 19:00 we had to endure the shame of waiting on the doorstep for a few minutes, and I think we quite surprised them when we walked in on the dot of seven. It was my fault that we were there so early; I was desperate to get onto their WiFi to continue watching the Apple iPad Air announcement! The perils of being a Apple-o-phile (or ‘fanboy’).
Such was my level of interest, once Bernie and Dave declared they’d had enough Guinness (I think the effects of the night before were lingering!) they retired to the house but I stayed at the pub for another pint – and more importantly, their WiFI! There were a handful of locals in, and there was a shared ‘moment’ as they made Pat, the permanent fixture at the corner of the bar, try on a halloween wig and oversized sunglasses – Elvis was IN the building!
When I got back to the house, the other two were still up; but not for long. Sad to report that by 21:15, we had all retired for the night. Oh, we know how to party.
Returning from the airport walk