Sunday, May 11, 2014

5/3/14 Day 107 Westport to Keel Beach

Our muscles are so sore today, it is pretty unfortunate that our camp is 20 kilometers from Westport where we are beginning the Greenway Bike Route. It is a 44 kilometer route that begins in Westport, stretching 13 kilometers to Newport, crossing 18 more to Malaranny before a last leg of 13 kilometers to Achill island, over streams and through many gapped pipe bridges (to ensure bike crossing while prohibiting sheep entry). By the time we reach Clew Bay where we have to sign a waiver the time is already 13:00, we definitely don't have time to ride to Achill and back again, as originally planned. Again Clew Bay totally saves the day by offering to let us take the bikes for the night to camp at Achill and bring them back in the morning at our leisure. These guys are amazing and highly recommended. First stop is a local beer festival with breweries from all over the island. We sample some different pale ales and even come across cascade hops! We peddle through fields of sheep, bogs of peat and loads of gravel in the backyards of the farmers of county Mayo. The Greenway has only been an established bike path for three years and is constructed from the old flop of a railway line that was only in commission 30 years before cars obsoleted it. 

Westport's stone walls adorned with colorful doorways
Kevin's new favorite Irish brewery

Enjoying an IPA
Our bikes all properly pannier packed and ready to go
The path continues right through the driveways of homes with a crossroad gate and often sheep guard to keep the livestock from cruising the path

View coming into Malaranny harbor after the longest stretch between towns
Peat bogs stretching for miles

Peat bricks drying in the good weather to be used for fuel across the country

We made it! Then biked another 15 kilometers to Keel beach where we camp for the night, we wanted to make it another 8 kilometers to Keem beach, but darkness was already setting in and time was running out. 
But we made it just in time to set up camp before the light completely faded and the raindrops began to fall

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