21 July 2012

Day nineteen

Didn't get up today until half nine. Only had enough money for the hostel stay (actually was 40¢ short but the receptionist last night was kind and gave it to me), so can't buy typical breakfast. Eating rice, serrano ham, peanut butter, tea of course, and carrot/thyme/linseed crisps from the health food store in Westport. I always try to carry a whole day's worth of food with me in case of things like this. No cash machine or food store for miles. Once I do find one, I will restock.

Will probably camp tonight if the weather stays as gorgeous as it is right now. Then I'll hostel again in Sligo.

Sitting eating GF crackers by a stream of tea-coloured water and there's still no cell phone signal. O2 is useless around here. True countryside.

Today's ride was absolutely top notch. Rolling hills, gentle climbs, undisturbed countryside, a bit of forest coming out of Pollatomish. After Beal Deirg (I spent a decent amount of time today in a Gaeltacht, it always confuses me) the ride was mostly along the coast to Ballycastle. The sea cliffs here are stunning, just as gorgeous as anything you'd find in Clare or Galway, but without the muddy trail thousands of tourists leave in their wake leading up to them. What with the brilliant sunshine today and the ocean breezes and what *seemed* like more downhill than uphill, I fell in love with north Mayo today.

Passed the Ceide Fields museum thingy, and saw some cycle tourists' bikes outside. Went in but only had 4¢--hadn't passed a cash machine yet. Was too proud to ask for free entry so I just used the toilet, filled up my water bottles and kept going.

Ballycastle, the town, was situated on a slope and entirely uphill. Still no cash machine. I tried to go in a shop and buy some things via card but you'd have to spend over €20 to use it so I put my stuff back and kept going. Onward to Killala. Cute town with some history, worth visiting for sure. Had a Centra and a cash machine so I bought some odds 'n' ends and refilled my money belt. There was a good-lookin' cashier there askin' me questions about my cyle and my physio tape. Nice guy. Later I had a sit by the sea and ate some of the snacks I just bought.

Ride from Killala to Ballina was nice but I wasn't paying close attention to it. Lots of daisies and buttercups and queen anne's lace and morning glories. Ballina is a pretty big town and probably worth a stop, but I'd decided to camp today so I only passed thru, anticipating finding a camping spot on the other side. There were too many houses, tho', one right after another till well past 10 extra kms. I finally found a nice-looking field and a spot within it a ways off the road. I went to ask permission to use it, but the people didn't seem to be home? I was super tired so I just rolled out my things in a little hollow in a thorny thicket and collapsed. I hope they won't mind. I won't leave any litter other than, like, an apple core.

The land is a little boggy here so there are a LOT of midges, but I've liberally doused my exposed skin, and the opening to my bivvy bag, in the repellent I've bought, so we'll see if that helps.

Should be an extra short day tomorrow. Onward to Sligo.


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