The Wild Atlantic Way, part 3 day 1

Day 1

We left home about 12 noon set to pick up the clare leg of the Wild Atlantic Way. The drive through the midlands is always slow and unadventurous. Never the less we ground our way through carlow in to Portlaoise where we got on the N7 and paid the sum of €3.40 to use the motorway network.

Not long after we found ourselves in Limerick and decided to take the Tarbert ferry as it would mean a more scenic route down the Shannon rather than the more boring duel carriage way from limerick to clare. We took the ferry to clare through the choppy and windy waters of the Shannon. After a short 20 some minutes we landed and set off for Loop Head Lighthouse. 1/2 hour off the ferry passing through Killrush there was a very strong smell of diesel. We pulled in to check only to find the Diesel regulator purging more than a 15 year old on junior cert results night. We limped back to Killrush leaking and looking for a dry sheltered spot to perform emergency surgery on the Td5 regulator. Shortly after with the regulator out now realising it was 5:50pm and everywhere was closed options became non existent. I began to remove the diaphragm by taking out the clip. To find one of the seals had failed. Now,if i was standing in Dublin at 11am on any weekday this regulator would be extremely difficult to find. ( i had to buy a previous replacement from Portugal.) in Killrush Co Clare after 5pm chances were non existent. Suddenly i remembered that i bought a kit of seals in Lidl and had stashed them in an emergency kit bag. I had a rummage and matched up as closely as possible and the diaphragm popped back in to the housing with a satisfying pop. I was hoping that this meant it was going to work.

After a few minutes of refitting the regular to the engine it was time to find out if it worked. If it didnt it would mean we would be stranded on the road and have to get recovered to who knows where looking for a part from possibly the UK. It wasn’t worth thinking about the fall out from that scenario. After switching on the ignition the diesel pump surged in action and the diesel lines groaned as the air was being purged from the system. And astonishingly no leaking diesel do far. A further turn of the key and the engine fired up in its usual quick manor and again it ran normally with no leak! SUCCESS!! The leak was fixed on the roadside with minimum tools and without help. A quick wash of the hands and back in the defender bound for loop head Lighthouse.

Another hour or so of driving on roads that look like they had been bombed back in WWII found us arriving at a misty and overcast Loop head Lighthouse. We were running so late it had closed. No big deal still amazing views of crashing waves against sheer face cliffs. Shame the wind was so hard i didnt want to chance putting the drone up to get some ariel shots in weather that bad. A quick walk with the dogs and it was time to make lunch. Pan seared pork chops in Turmeric and Garlic on a crusty baguette with mixed leaves, cheese and Mayo washed down with a savage cup of tea. All packed up and off to our campsite for the night

Arriving at the campsite it was wet, windy and gloomy. Traveling down the lane we could see 2 tanker ships bracing the storm in the nook of the Peninsula. I found this place on the internet the night before departure and new little about it other than they had a Geo-dome and a Sauna!! Couldnt resist booking it. After setting up the roof tent and settling the dogs we went to the “Sauna” i was still stressed and patience were short after the diesel regulator debacle earlier so the Sauna was a welcomed rest. I have to say when i got to it i was a little shocked and didnt know what to make of it. I had assumed a nice Swedish type sauna with lap sheeted walls and hot rocks. What i found was quite different but not bad, just…. Well different! It was a handmade hut made from branches and what could only be described as a hobbit entrance. We had to get down on our hands and knees and crawl to get in. Inside we found an old gas bottle converted to a wood burning stove which was the heat source for the sauna. On the ceiling were little unobtrusive fairly lights. We sat back, took in the experience and enjoyed nearly an hour of relaxing and unwinding in the sweltering heat. Afterwards a quick cold shower and back to the tent for dinner.

Tonight i fancied something hearty as the weather was harsh and stormy. I decided to go for chicken thighs made in to a broth or soup with sautéd summer veg, (fennel, clearly, spring onion, onion and baby potatoes) a quick searing of the chicken and all in the pot for a fuss free dinner. Have to say it hit the spot.

Now off to bed to get ready for tomorrow and another day of adventure. The Cliffs of Moher, Fr Teds house and some nice food along the way.

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