Day 70: Wet (BBW36 Leitrim Way/Cavan Way: Ballinagleragh-Shannon Pot)


Today was pretty gross, I’ve gotta say. Not that it lacked all redeeming qualities, but “wet slog” would not be an inaccurate summary of the proceedings.

Things that were okay:

Wild strawberries by the road (sadly I did not eat any because I have seen at least one instance of roadside pesticide use)

Romance novel horse (srsly look at that mane blowin’ in the wind this horse could be on a book cover)

Curious horse (sniffed my face! Also possibly was offended at my lack of treats)

Some of the path was nice enough

Eventually I was shunted down to the main road and passed through Dowra, another of the many wee towns of rural Ireland. In Dowra I transitioned from the Leitrim Way to the Cavan Way; the final section!.

Not coincidentally this involved going from County Leitrim into County Cavan 

Maurice in a tree

Scenic

After several hours entirely on roads, the trail set out to follow along our old friend, the River Shannon. I liked this plan conceptually…

But when the “trail” and the river start to look this similar it is not ideal

Not a bad lunch spot at least

That river is beautiful despite the cruddy trail – even this far up, quite close to its origin, it is a noteworthy waterway

Bridge over one of the tributaries

Alas, this is about where the going started to get really soggy.

Uhhhhhh

Normal person’s response to this image: “Oh yay, a nice green hillside!” My response: “Oh no, another boot-sucking ankle-breaking cow-trampled hellscape masquerading as a nice green hillside”

Imagine walking through this for about half a mile or so and you’ll have a good idea how this section went. It seemed to take forever and there were many loud, angry, frustrated swear words uttered by me during this time

In some ways this section was less bad because at least you could see what was what. But it was still nowhere in the vicinity of good

At the end we meet the four legged trail ruiners themselves

Yet another stile style, this one frankly awkward as hell

Crossing back over the Shannon once more

Little house in the woods

I have rarely been so glad to be back on the road as I was after this part. Ugh. But it was not too much farther to my destination for the day…

The Shannon Pot is not, as previously thought, the source of the Shannon – but it is very close, and a pretty cool geological feature regardless, a point where the vast river swells from belowground to begin a 240km journey (the Shannon being the longest river in Ireland). As I walked this final stretch, I found myself musing on the imagery of a river flowing underground and then rising to the surface – the manifestation of an immense process that goes largely unseen. Writing is like that, in a way. Our thoughts run through the subterranean channels of our minds; writing brings them out into the visible world where they can be perceived by others. 

And by ourselves, too. Sometimes the act of writing reveals things I didn’t know were running underground in my own mind.

Heyyyy look you are coming to a place

 Quite the grand start for the lovely Shannon

Did I mention it rained a lot today? Because it did

Me! Thanks to a lovely couple

Aforementioned couple are self identified adventurers who were about to paddleboard the Shannon and, after that, the length of the Ganges to draw attention to pollution there. They invited me to join (in a kayak instead of a paddleboard). I’ll need to recover from this whole experience before making any decisions but it sounded like a fascinating journey to take on.

In any case, this marked the end of my journey for today. Tomorrow I have a theoretically short day to come into Blacklion… and the end of the Beara Breifne Way(!!!!) 

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