We all woke having had the most restful night of our journey thus far. It helped that we were in a private cottage with two bedrooms and tremendously comfortable beds. We had decided last night on a plan A and plan B for today, depending on the weather once we arose this morning. While having breakfast a light rain began falling so we opted for plan B. We headed toward a trailhead named Donard to hike the local Granite trail.
This was to be my first driving here. I’m accustomed to driving on the left, but all the fancy car gizmos threw me a bit. Plus, trying to get used to the size of the car on these narrow roads with hedge rows and telephone poles right on the road edge makes it a bit unnerving. Alas, I successfully managed the first outing. By the time we reached the car park a steady, misty rain was falling. We pulled out our hiking umbrellas and raincoat and started toward the path. Unfortunately we left the bag with my hiking poles at the house. Luckily, Kevin came upon two stout sticks just the right length to act as substitutes. The trail began benignly enough, but soon began being rocky and covered in gnarly tree roots. We did have a lovely creek running beside us, eventually showing us a waterfall. Mandy helped me with my footing placement on the sketchier spots, which made me feel a bit more secure. Soon enough we realized that we weren’t going to be given any spectacular views on this drizzly day and the trail didn’t appear to be getting better, so we chose to turn around. We basically had the trail to ourselves save for one dog walker and one trail runner.
We came back to the house to have some lunch and to fetch my hiking poles for the next hike. This time we headed off in the opposite direction to reach Tallymore Park, the site of a number of Game of Thrones scenes, according to Mandy. She had marked them all out on her phone so off we went. The good news about her obsession with that series is that all these film locations are beautiful. Obviously that film team knew what they were doing when they searched for sites.
This park was no different – it offered one extraordinary view after another! The other good thing was that the light rain began to fizzle out which made the walking more pleasant. The path we found which would take us to the spots Mandy wished to find was called, of all things, the red path. At first it didn’t even register with us until Kevin said aloud, “I guess we’ll be following the red path”, which suddenly amused the heck out of us.
The first portion led us down a paved section that was surrounded by huge, old rhodies of various colors. It was gorgeous! We then wended our way along the wooded paths, along a charming river, complete with multiple bridges, stepping stones, moss covered rocks and of course, the Game of Thrones spots. These included where the Starks found the direwolf pups. It also had a charming Hermitage, which was built many years ago to honor an old friend who had died early. It was magical.
We had just decided it was time to turn around when Mandy began to feel ill. Fortunately we came upon a small wooded shelter with a bench where we could rest awhile until she felt up to hiking back to the car. Once back at the house we got her to bed rest while Kevin and I went to the Tesco, the grocery store across the street, to pick up some more supplies. Here’s hoping she feels back up to par tomorrow as we have another busy day planned. For now, we’re having a lazy evening. And thanks to Kevin, for some of the best photos included here, as always. He’s got a much better photograpic eye than me….I so like the way he see the world.