Tuesday 21 August 2012

High and Dry in Kinvarra

 On Saturday 18th we return to Kinvarra hoping to catch some Galway Hooker racing as part of the traditional boat festival, "Cruinniú na mBad" (Gathering of the boats, or 'Harvest' of the boats). Only having seen the harbour last Thursday at half tide, we do not appreciate how low the tide goes or how the water all drains away leaving the harbour as acres of rocks and bladder wrack. High tide is promised for 6pm and the boat racing and events on Saturday start from about 4pm but we thought we would be able to see a few coming and going, jilling about in the harbour or practising. We'd left home at 10:30 and were there around midday. Not a bit of it. Everyone is high and dry. Dad takes a few picture of the hulls and rigging, some from walking about on the rocks and sea weed. I get a nice run around among the rocks hunting out crabs and nasty dead sea things to roll in.

Dad wondered if we moved further down the Kinvarra Bay to a place called Parkmore Pier we find some water and some boaty activity, so we re-load into the car and drove the short distance to there. Here there was one Hooker swinging at her moorings but still no activity. Never mind - this looked like a good place to take pictures from as it was near the narrow bay mouth and the boats were bound to pass close by. Easy range for Dad's 400 mm 'pap' lens.

At this point we gave up on Kinvarra for the day and decided it was way too early to head home, so we'd go home the scenic route back through 'the other Kinvarra' (See 2 posts ago), Connemara, the Maamturk Mountains and Cong. This time it would be Mum's turn to drive so that Dad could drink in the scenery but we had also brought a picnic, so we'd find a scenic spot and get out the metaphorical hamper.

This is just an awesomely beautiful drive and even in the cloudy change-able light it still took our breaths away. The picnic we took at the top of an inlet where the peaty stream emptied into the sea under a lovely stone bridge. There was a slipway, and I could have a paddle. The drive was as quiet and traffic free as before, with only a few rangey mountainy-rams with curly horns and the odd creamy coloured Connemara pony for company. Only at one point we were driving down a steep twisty lane following a dodgy looking tractor which pulled a livestock trailer and a smaller trailer with wobbly wheels 'in train'. The livestock trailer was open at the back and seemed to be stacked to the roof with bags of turfs, some of the bags threatening to avalanche out of the back. Perched in the back was an old guy leaning back on the load as if to keep it from falling and although we couldn't hear a word he was saying and presumably neither could the tractor driver, his jaws were working away as if he was having a right old swear up rant. Every so often he would cling to the side of the trailer and try to keep his balance while adjusting the position of a tumbling turf sack. If the whole rig made it safely home with the winter fuel we'll all be amazed, Mum sneaked a chance to overtake, not wanting to be stuck behind that lot and ferrying the poor bloke to hospital if it all went pear shaped.

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