Monday, August 25, 2014

The Fanore Burren Half Marathon 2014

On Friday afternoon I met Frank and we set off to the Burren for a reprise of our trip of two years before. The plan was for me to do the Half Marathon and Frank (who is just getting back to the great outdoors after a four month break) would do the 10K. The weather forecast was pretty good and promised to be sunny until Sunday when a band of rain was to sweep in from the west. We arrived at the stunning wild camping spot near Ballyryan at about 18.30 and we were delighted to see that it was pretty quiet and we wasted no time getting our tents set up and getting ready for dinner. A nice relaxing evening followed as we relaxed and soaked up our wonderful surroundings. We retired to bed before ten to hopefully enjoy a good sleep before the run tomorrow. Alas it was not to be as after 11pm a group arrived and set up camp no more than twenty meters away and they didn't quieten down until after 3am. F##@ers !.
Looking towards Doolin

Modern Art??

All the mod cons for Glicket and Crabbit. Very relaxing
Lovely quiet area,,,for now

Sunset over the Aran Islands
Saturday August 23rd,
I was awake at six and my sleeping mat had sprung a leak so I wasn't overly comfortable but I lazed away the time until eight when I got up. Poor Frank had retired to his car and was trying to get a bit of sleep there. On the plus side the weather was fantastic with a light breeze and sunny skies all about. Despite the lack of sleep I was in good form and looking forward to the day ahead. We feasted on porridge and water (because someone forgot the milk ;o\ ) and excellent coffee (thanks to Frank's espresso maker) and relaxed awhile before setting off on the short drive to Fanore. The scenery was wonderful with the blue sea of Galway Bay stunning and beyond the rugged skyline of Connemara offering promise of adventures in the future. The Fanore Half Marathon is a relaxed "fun" event and doesn't draw big crowds so there was no difficulty parking and registering for the event. There were more people about this year and soon a nice little atmosphere built up. I was looking forward to the run as it is run, half on -half off the road over definitely one of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere. I was disappointed to discover that the course was being run in reverse this year so the nice long downhill stretch to the finish would be a four kilometer uphill slog at the start. I won't dwell too much on the run itself except to say that I was surprised to find that it wasn't until nearly nine miles had passed before a water station was provided (there was one after 2 kilometers which was superfluous ) and I think I became quite dehydrated and I suffered really badly over the last few miles and eventually finished in 121 minutes. I was gutted but thanks to Franks good company and the wonderful weather my spirits quickly rose and after a suitable rest and bite to eat I once again was ready to face the day.
The starting landmark...hard to miss

Ballyvaughan

Black Head

The dedicated angler.

We went to visit the busy village of Ballyvaughan which seemed to be overrun with Italians and afterwards we did a spot of fishing near Black Head. I only had a few casts but Frank was more persistent and caught a Pollack the dimensions of which I won't dwell on. Suffice to say it took a while to distinguish it from the feathers :o). We returned to the campsite and relaxed a while but the arrival of the same wallies who had disturbed out peace the previous night made the decision to move further up the road to another spot, which although it was near the road it promised to be much more peaceful. So it proved itself to be and we enjoyed a magic evening in glorious surroundings and a good nights sleep followed.
Great rock climbing to be had at Allidie

A wee bit bracing but beautiful

Across Galway Bay towards Connemara



Sunday 24th August.
The change in weather that had been promised had not yet fully arrived but the blue skies were gone and a stiff breeze was now coming in from the southwest. Still it was dry and as we breakfasted we watched Gannets diving for fish out to sea. We de-camped and went the few hundred meters down the road to Ballyryan to reacquaint ourselves with rock climbing. We managed to have around two hours dry before the rain came in gently and we finally had to stop at midday. It had been great fun and I was somewhat relieved to find that I could still lead to Severe standard anyway. We set off for home in the now steady rain in great spirits and both of us are looking forward to our next chance to repeating the experience.