Day 5: Maam Valley – Lough Inagh
Distance 15 km – Hiking time: 4 – 6 hours – Altitude (↑) 310 m
The fourth day of hiking began, like all other days, with a great and ample breakfast. After the biggest hunger had been satisfied I – at that time still a smoker – went with a cup of tea and cigarettes to the door and was attacked 😂 One of the still very young shepherd dogs ran around me, climbed up on me and sank both muzzle and tongue into my tea cup. I collapsed laughing and could hardly resist the cuddly attack. AM I would have loved to take the little one with me, but Marion and her husband fit in pretty well with who wants to take what, probably I’m not the only one who considered dog theft in 😉
After breakfast we set off and soon passed a beautiful memorial stone. Afterwards the path became more original and we found wild blackberries along the way. The route today should be only 15 km long, but relatively steep uphill because we had to overcome the Maumeen Pass.
Today we also got our first Irish rain and felt it every 30 minutes. So on the first part of the hike we were more busy with putting on and taking off our raincoats and trousers than with the actual hiking. At some point we gave up changing clothes, which turned out to be a mistake.
But the rain also brought with it the first Irish rainbows. He stretched himself out in the valley and invited us to look for pots full of gold, but we didn’t want to upset the leprechauns and so we went on.
We walked to the mountain range surrounding the Maam Valley and couldn’t decide if we should look forward or back, because every sight was breathtaking. The almost complete lack of engine noises and the light mood of the change between sun and rain did the rest to make the valley and the surrounding mountains seem almost unreal.
A shepherd with a dog and his herd slowed us down before we went up to the Maumeen Pass. We trotted leisurely into the back and watched the dog at work. Directly before the ascent to the pass the shepherd chased the sheep to a pasture on the right of the path and the dog could let off steam. We watched for a moment and then started the ascent. According to our travel documents we had a surprise announced at the summit and we were excited.
We were amazed when we found a small chapel, a statue and a small sanctuary on the top of the pass. Especially the sanctuary was impressive, because hikers like us, pilgrims or others who passed by had written wishes on hundreds of small slates, left change or “sacrificed” crystals and other beautiful stones. Unfortunately we did not find any slates in the area, otherwise we would have left a wish behind. If someone can say where the slates come from, then I would be very happy about a comment on it. We have only found out that once a year pilgrims to this chapel and on this day also wedding ceremonies in the chapel are carried out.
The rest of the way led down into the valley and then a few more kilometres through the Inagh Valley until we arrived quite early at our current accommodation, Lough Inagh Ranch B&B.
We enjoyed the peace and quiet and the view of the lake with tea and biscuits and rested. Some time later Paul and Lorraine also arrived, because they would also stay overnight here. We all decided against the offer of Julia and Patrick to prepare extra dinner for us and decided instead to have dinner together in the nearby Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel.
Arriving at the hotel we noticed that we were quite underdressed 😊 All the other guests were in evening dress, even in the bar where we were waiting for a table. We wore casual leisure gear ourselves. Nevertheless, we got a table and the card and ordered. The dinner was very good, though not very cheap, and the company of Lorraine and Paul was great.
After dinner we went back in the dark and fell into bed dead tired, Benjamin wasn’t doing so well either, he had to struggle with neck scratches.
How it went on the next day and why ‘Seaweed Bath’ is not equal to ‘Seaweed Bath’ you can find out on the next page.