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Day 38 Wicklow

Landed just after midnight in Wicklow harbour (once we managed to find the entrance in the dark) – another 32 miles today leaving around 55 to go. 

The last few days have been tough and a bit of a roller coaster.  We had hoped to finish today (Friday) but the Irish Sea has given the pair of us a real hiding on three separate ocassions now – forcing us either to run (paddle) for a safe harbour or certainly slowing progress right down.

When the sea picks up on this coast it produces a short steep chop and winds can accelerate quickly round mountains to deliver conditions way above what was forecast. It is certainly making us work for these last few miles.

But spirits are high – the singing hasn’t improved but the repertoire is growing. We’ve added some Frank Sinatra and Pink Floyd – and booked the O2 for our return……

Two amazing coincidences today. We crossed Dublin Bay, dodging three ferries, but as we tried to slip through between the mainland and Dalkey Island the winds got up suddenly and fiercely. We battled against it for fifteen minutes or so but failed. We had to turn in to the Bay and headed for Dalkey Harbour.

There we met Jenny Kilbride who runs a kayak school www.kayak.ie – if you are in the area and fancy a crack at what Geoff and I enjoy so much you should look her up. Some great coastline to explore and Jenny has a huge amount of experience and knowledge to share.  The coincidence? Jenny was at college with a friend back in Cornwall, Roz Osborne. We also met a great colleague of Jenny’s – Mac who gave us a history lesson of the area.

Next a chap walking by stopped and asked if we had paddled round Ireland. Which was odd because most people don’t come straight out with that question. He then said he’s been following our blog. Now we were confused. What are the chances?

He told us he had walked past our tents and kayaks late at night on a beach at Roundstone near the Aran Islands – he made a note of our web address which is in the boats and he’d been following is ever since.

Derek (Hughes) popped off to get his car before giving us a tour of the area and buying us breakfast. Such a great chap and hoping we stay in touch after this trip too.

This trip never seems to amaze us – the conditions force us off the water and instead of feeling low about it we end up meeting some fabulous people.

  
  
The view from my tent at 5.30am – 3 hours sleep and time to catch the tide gain…..

Hope to finish Sunday.

  

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This morning Geoff and I set off from Clogher Head and paddled to Balbriggan where my brother in law’s, in laws live (if that makes sense).

We were met on the beach by Mary, Ciara and Daire, who arrived with a cup of tea and a bacon, egg and sausage roll! The perfect stop. 

Thanks so much guys, it was great to see you!

   
   

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Day 36 Clogher Head

We finally made a break for it to get out of Ardglass harbour. It was an epic day – a nasty sea rose up rapidly during a committed crossing – 3 hours of perhaps the most tense paddling Geoff and I have ever experienced (more on this in a later blog) but we also managed 45 miles so all in all a great day. We now have 108miles to go (or there abouts). 

Thanks to Fay and Andy for your generous donation!

Geoff having a rest on the way to Dublin….  

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Geoff has been keeping a tally of the number of Guinesses we’ve had since we started this adventure. Apparently I  am one behind him – 25 to 24. 

He’s just gone to buy provisions so guess what ……it is all square now!

  

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Brief post tonight but wanted to provide an update. Today we said goodbye to the west coast. It’s been exhilarating. We seen some amazing scenary and wildlife and met some wonderful people.

We’ve also experienced some incredible conditions. They’ve been testing but they’ve also been fun.

This morning as we were preparing to leave we met an ecologist who had been conducting a bird survey along the local cliffs around Horn Head. Fascinating guy who helped us identify some of the birds we had seen but didn’t know what they were.   Our list of birds now looks like:

Guillemots , Black Backed Gull, Razor Bill, Puffins, Storm Petrel, Black Guillemots, Fulmers, Terns, Skewers, Oyster Catchers, Chuffs, Gannets and a few more we still don’t know the name of.

We left Portnablagh in perfect conditions and made our way up to the most northern tip of Ireland, Malin Head where we are now. Eight hours in the kayak to cover the 30 miles.
We think we have less than 300 miles to go.

A massive thank you to Sara, Jan and Tony, and Suzanne, Richard and Family for your donations. Our total stands at over a thousand pounds now! Two thirds of the way to our target.

Tomorrow we are aiming for Port Rush.

  

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A couple of shots from our camp site this morning in Portnablagh and looking out towards Horn Head.

   
 

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