CLARE Island to Belmullet, Claggan Island-46km
A dampish morning and a change in the air. This wind thing from the WEST? We’ve had a good few days of favourable winds so time to dig a little deeper.. except it was pretty calm, an oily swell seeing us across to Achillbeg and a scoot up the narrows of the bottom of Achill sound. Mist hung over the considerable heights of Achill Island. It was reassuring to see tide flying in the right direction as we entered the narrows, to see the abstract calculations become real flows in the water. Achill bridge is where the tides meet, with a handy slip and even handier shops beside it. The tides meet here, with a council notice informing mariners that the buoys are reversed hereonin! We filled our faces, and the boats and the sun came out.
We charged on down through the bulls mouth, a cheerful tidal slop firing us at 4.5 knots smack into a headwind. After that a bit of a slog but it abated, and the full remoteness of Achill head became visible – highest seacliffs in the ‘British’ Isles. And then just a matter of bashing out the kms up towards Belmullet. We knew were not able to get through as the tide was only high enough after dark. Besides, there’s weather on the way and we needed a plan to hide for a bit before setting off down the N Mayo coast.
We came ashore on a wafer thin beach crescent and camped on a grassy (slug fest) shelf. The farmer’s wife who came down to chat explained how they get cut off and have to drive across the beach. The impressive amount of vehicle hardware lying amongst the rock pools and sticking out of the sand (axles and engine blocks, suspension…) suggested there were some good stories to be had!