Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wicklow Way Day 7 Shillelagh/Stranakelly to Clonegal

Day 7: Distance19km ascent 300m. Trail road and forestry track.
Wet muggy weather do you keep your wet gear on or take it off? I opt for combination of overtrousers on and jacket off-but Grainne is less optimistic.

Kissing the signpost shows that I was just happy to be close to Clonegal not the end of the Wicklow Way!

Noel & his daughter who not only 'shortened the road' for us on the final day but pushed our usual pace through the ceiling-thank you guys.

Ballinavortha House-a wonderful treat on our last night.

The only place to get a signal!-trying to direct Stephen en route to picking us up.

The WW seems to be a bit contrary today almost looping back on itself a couple of times for no reason. At Boley bridge we met up with a father and daughter at who had been walking the WW every weekend in a joint 'Get fit' project. It's obviously worked as they power along and we keep up with them talking all the way...phew! The signage continued to be good with just one tricky spot as you turn off down the shoulder of Aghowle upper and down to the left over a style- this is not clearly marked.  I know we walked past Raheenkit and up towards the top of Aghowle but just have a generic memory of coniferous plantations I think it was all the talking. Though I can proudly state that we, unlike other walkers we met today, walked up and around the forestry loop at Moylish/Newry rather than just sticking to the shorter road option (to be fair we just kept following the signs and chatting if I'd checked my map I would probably have opted for the shortcut to). It's road walking into  Clonegal. The village is small quiet and charming. We all head to the pub, not just for a well earned drink, but also as it's where we get our Wicklow Way certificates.It reminded me of getting my Compostela and FIsterrana after completing the Camino though in a more salubrious surrounding. The next couple of hours we just sat contentedly sipping our drinks and eating crisps until the owner of Ballinavortha B&B collected us. Ballinavortha is a beautiful period house which has been lovingly restored. It's also the same price as the hostels we've stayed in and therefore fantastic value. If you set off early and arrived at lunch time then it would be possible to get a bus back to Dublin but check Bus Eireann timetables as they are seasonal differences.

We loved walking the WIcklow Way .The scenery is beautiful even in bad weather. In the last three days we got to walk through a 'typical Irish landscape'. In fact this pastoral landscape is just as beautiful in it's own way as the more obviously spectacular scenery at the start of the walk and that of the other mountain routes that I generally walk. And I'm  very glad we got the chance to appreciate that alternative gentle landscape at walking pace. 
The Wicklow Way trail is very well signed and maintained and, with a little bit of planning, accommodation can be found to suit all budgets. In the first 6 days we met approx 12 other walkers most of them walking the route in the opposite direction i.e. back towards Dublin. This direction suits overseas visitors as they end up in the city and close to their flights home. On the final day we met a large group of walkers on an organised package walk there is an Irish company that does this as well as offering a luggage transport option.

It might come as a surprise to many walkers that there are only three pubs (Glendalough Arms, Glenmalure Arms and the Dying Cow at Stanakelly- and the latter could well be closed when you walk past)  and no shops or cafes en route (bar the visitor centre at Glendalough). So either pack all you need from the start or plan to divert at Roundwood and/or Laragh to restock on supplies.

We found to be very useful in terms of planning daily sections and accommodation. But the guide book 'The Wicklow Way' by Jacquetta Megarry and Sandra Bardwell  one of the 'Rucksack Readers' was best in terms of route discription-it's also a handy sized, ring bound and waterproof see at

1 comment:

  1. Lovely Nell, just lovely!!!
    I want to come over and do the walk immediately.