Blogging at 22:15 on Wednesday 9th August from intended overnighting spot N 53.04576°, W 06.27174° / http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loc:53.04576%2C-06.27174
Last night proved suitably peaceful and, come morning, we had a steady back-roads bash to the port. As if The Gods themselves wished to bolster yesterday's lamentable observations, en route we passed good numbers of slept-in campervans / motorcaravans hunkered improbably in utterly unprepossessing roadside lay-bys. Quite where the joy lies for any of the parties involved in this caper - voluntarily or otherwise - is beyond me. You'd have to think there's a good chance they'd have been pipped at by local motorists all night long.
The ferry crossing was smooth, pleasant, and produced plenty of wildlife interest. A couple of breaching dolphins, Manx shearwater, guillemots and razorbills were the highlights.
At a couple of points during the crossing we individually had a wander around the ship. As I mooched past the inevitable shop full of stuff you never actually need or would even really want for free, I spotted a huge stand of ubiquitous giant Toblerones and fleetingly tried to unpick the deeply-rooted psyche that sees people suckered into buying such outrageously priced things just because they're on a ship. I had no light-bulb moment and the thought fizzled.
Within ten minutes I returned to our allotted meeting-spot on the stern to find Emma thousand-mile staring out to sea, presumably pondering why exactly she had a stuffsack full of giant Toblerones dangling off her back (pic).
On arrival in Ireland, we were quick through the port but then it took an age to get out of Dublin. Since we were last here, the city's become even more festooned with traffic lights, speed bumps, bus-only lanes and sneaky tolls. Once we'd eventually effected escape, we took to the Wicklow mountains and took a meandering route down some of the smaller unclassified roads that we've previously just whizzed (slowly) by. It's a very pretty area with quite a bit going on for outdoor types. The mini version of Sugar Loaf mountain and a rather splendid purpose-made mountain bike facility were particularly impressive.
We arrived at our intended overnighting spot mid-afternoon, where a Toblerone-fuelled Emma insisted that we went for a run. My protestation that we were in mountains held no truck with my sugar-rushed, wild-eyed companion and one hour later my legs were trashed. Giant Toblerones and ADHD are formidable bedfellows.
At least thereafter I was allowed to sit on the cab and just gaze around with the bins. Happily, this was a more productive experience than I'd first imagined, with some excellent long-running characterful fox and fallow deer sightings, plus a decent amount of bird life.
Birds had the last word of the day, too, with a short-eared owl calling from very close by in the adjacent mixed woodland.
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