Monday, August 08, 2016

Monday 8th August 2016......hiking day!!!

You really need a chair and a beverage to read this long post....

as if this stay wasn't great already wait till you see my breakfast...

I was happy to have cereal and fruit and yogurt so imagine my surprise when this was presented to me...
and I must say the eggs were in the famous Pearson scrambled egg class.....Angela also gave me good details of directions and off I went for the hike!!!

Historical Interest

Croagh Patrick’s history as a place of worship reaches back in time as far as 3,000 BC. The mountain’s popularity among religious pilgrims dates to the time of St. Patrick, who is said to have completed a forty-day Lenten ritual of fasting and penance here. Legend also has it that Croagh Patrick is the mount from which he banished snakes from Ireland forever!
Each year, on the last Sunday in July, thousands of devotees from all around the world visit the mountain for what is known as "Reek Sunday", a day of worship in honour of Ireland’s patron saint. Some people even climb the mountainside barefoot, as an act of penance. Outdoor masses are held throughout the day, along with confessions at St. Patrick’s Chapel. This is one place in rural Ireland where you can meet and speak with people from around the globe.
An archaeological excavation licensed by the National Monuments service commenced on August 2 1994. It discovered evidence of Christian activity but also showed that Croagh Patrick was a place of tremendous importance in the pre-Christian era, as indicated by the discovery of a Celtic hill fort encircling the summit of the mountain.
The exciting discovery of a dry stone oratory push back further in time our knowledge of pilgrimage architecture on the summit. It is akin to the Gallarus Oratory in County Kerry and has been radiocarbon dated to between 430 and 890 AD

A daunting task to the top of that "Big hill"...

As you can see the weather is perfect and this statute is at the base of the mountain...

Took a breath and turned around for this view...

You can see the path it looks OK but actually it is hard because it is small loose stones and rocks!!!

As I was going up the clouds came in to cover the top but soon passed away!!

This was a really hard section to the top steep and very slippery rocks...
Still a ways to go the cloud came back but only for a minute!!!
Made it and rewarded with wonderful views!!!

In my opinion coming down was harder than going up.....I was about half way down when the heavens opened and the rain pounded down for about 15 minutes made it very cold and very slippery...I felt sorry for the hundreds of people going up to get wet like that and I just know from seeing the way some were dressed and their level of fitness they would not make glad I did this it was truly amazing and I was back in the parking lot in 2 hours and 50 minutes and I don't think I saw anyone who was my age on the mountain!!!

Angela told me about this sculpture which was across from the parking lot..

This stark and striking monument in Murrisk is an appropriate commemoration of the millions who perished in the Great Famine over one hundered and fifty years ago. Crafted in bronze by John Behan, the dramatic sculpture depicts a "Coffin Ship" with skeleton bodies in the rigging. "Coffin Ship" was the term used to describe the ships which left our shores horrendously overcrowded with emigrants fleeing the famine. The dire and unhygenic conditions on board ensured that many did not reach their destination.
The National Famine Monument was unveiled in 1997 by President Mary Robinson. Located directly opposite the carpark at the foot of Croagh Patrick, it commands panoramic views over the drumlin landscape of Clew Bay.

I am not really into the arts but I did really like this piece of work and up close it was very detailed and quite haunting!!!
Some more views on the way home...

THis Pub is very famous as the owner is a member of the band The Chieftains!!!
Matt Molloy (born 12 January 1947, BallaghaderreenCounty Roscommon) is an Irish musician, from a region known for producing talented flautists. As a child, he began playing the flute and won the All-Ireland Flute Championship at nineteen. Considered as one of the most brilliant Irish musicians, his style that adapts piping techniques to the flute has influenced many contemporary Irish flute players.[1][2]
During the 1970s, Molloy was a member of The Bothy Band and its successor, the re-founded Planxty. He joined The Chieftains in 1979, replacing Michael Tubridy. Over the course of his career, Molloy has worked with the Irish Chamber OrchestraPaul Brady,Tommy PeoplesMicheál Ó Súilleabháin and Dónal Lunny.[3]
Molloy owns a pub on Bridge Street in WestportCounty Mayo where there are regular Irish music sessions.[4]

My last stop was the abbey where Pierce Bronson was married but that is not what makes it famous ....



Foundation of Ballintubber Abbey

Ballintubber Abbey was founded by King Cathal Crovdearg O’Conor – Cathal Mór of the wine-red hand. He was of the royal race of the O’Connors, King of Connacht and notable patrons of the arts. The Cross of Cong, one of our national treasures, was designed for his father, Turlach O’Connor.
Though there are many references in the ancient annals to 1216 as the year of its foundation, the circumstances are shrouded in legend. Cathal was the natural son of King Turloch. Before he ascended the throne of his father he was in flight from the vengeance of Turloch’s queen.
Local folklore tells us that during this period he had been working in Ballintubber for a man named Sheridan, who treated him with the greatest kindness. Leaving Ballintubber, Cathal vowed that he would never forget the kindness shown him there. Years afterwards, when Cathal ascended the throne of his father, he paid a visit to his old friend. The king asked him if there were any favours he could do in return for the kindness shown him in the days of exile. Sheridan told him that he was now old and that he wanted for little in this world, but if the king would restore their old church which was collapsing, he would be eternally grateful. Cathal promised that instead of repairing the old church he would build a new one.
The years went by, and on his next visit the king asked the old man how he liked his new church. Sheridan reproached Cathal for not keeping his royal word, but the king asserted that he had given orders for such a church to be built. On investigation it was found that a church had been built, but in Baile tobair Bhrighde, Roscommon, instead of Baile tobair Phádraig, Mayo. And the story goes that the king vowed to build another church seven times more magnificent in Ballintubber, Mayo, and that is how Ballintubber got its abbey

Beautiful abbey and still used every Sunday!!!

Back home Angela offered to wash my clothes which were still wet so I happily accepted and so kind of her to do a load and I begged her to let me know when they were done and I would hang them out but she beat me to that!!!

She is a bit of an entrepreneur and has developed and patented two products this below is neat, a piece of Ireland bog...she had a brainwave to send a piece to the Queen and received this reply!!

Then there is a new 42 km cycle track close by so she developed this water lady

and a very kind lady who gave me a water bottle and a piece of the bog!!!

Linda sent me this great article below..

The Elephants Knew
And some will say there is no 'God', 
Try and tell that to the elephants. . . .

Lawrence Anthony,
A legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller,
The Elephant Whisperer.
He bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe
>From human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo
Animals during US invasion in 2003.
On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died. He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons, and
Numerous elephants.

Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home
Led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves
To say goodbye to their beloved 'man-friend'.

A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 112 miles 
To get to his South African House.

Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only
Because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these
Elephants sensed about Lawrence's passing, but also because of
The profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked
In such an organized way: Walking slowly, for days,
Making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat
To his house. Lawrence's wife, Francoise, was especially touched,
Knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over 3 years!
But yet they knew where they were going. The elephants obviously
Wanted to pay their deep respects, honouring their friend
Who'd saved their lives - so much respect that
They stayed for 2 days 2 nights without eating anything. 
Then one morning, they left, making their long journey 
Back home.

Of course anything slightly related to elephants reminds me of my personal encounter with the huge beast when I was in South Africa.....regular readers will have already read this but for new readers here is the post I wrote afterwards!!!   Enjoy!!!

Hello again sorry for the short posts from the bush but I did want to stay in touch...this is a catch up post and will be have been warned!!!!

It is now Saturday evening and I am in a small town called Ermelo in a very nice airbnb roundavel but more on that later...
First we have to talk about it is just Sonja, Delwin and myself and we went out for our usual 8 am game drive...I must tell you it has been lovely sunny and hot here all week whilst that is good for me not good for the animals as they should be getting rain during this month so Delwin thinks that some of the animals have moved away looking for water and good grazing....
This morning we drove around and even though the area is mainly bush and trees there are a number of lovely view points that are very scenic....

it looked like all the animals were sleeping in, they are supposed to do that on Sundays!!!!
We did pass this tree and I will try to tell you about this tree

3 years ago S & D and some of their family were driving this exact same route and came upon this tree and there was a leopard with an Impala he had just killed trying to get it up the tree.....
Delwin had shown me the movie he had taken of the whole event the day before it is the most amazing footage I have ever seen and he needs to submit it to National goes on for nearly 40 minutes of the leopard trying and eventually getting the Impala up the tree...that is the kind of experience that stays with you I can hardly imagine sitting 40 feet away with a grandstand view one of nature's most incredible that is the tree.
We decided it was time for coffee , tea and rusks so we stopped at this blind of hide

Looks very peaceful and we went inside opened the door and there it was!!!!!

The hide is facing a waterhole and a trough about 15 feet from the window and at this trough were three elephants!!!!!

We all positioned ourselves at the windows and they were approximately 15 feet from us just lazing around filling their trunks with water and then pouring it down their bellies...all these noises you could hear.
One of the elephants looked right at me and I mean looked right at me and then to my absolute horror he started walking towards me came right up to the open window and looked right into my eyes he was 15 inches away.

Delwin said the look on my face was mouth was wide open and my eyes as big as plates.....I was not frightened but I did not know what to do so I stayed perfectly still...he was still looking at me and whilst doing so decided it was time to go to the bathroom both a Number 1 and a number 2..which is what I may have done if he had come any closer!!!!!he then turned and walked away.
I do not have the vocabulary or the talent to describe how this moment was for me but I felt I had connected with one of the world's most beautiful and dangerous creatures!!!

The moment that one elephant left the water hole another arrived and then after he had taken his fill he would walk away and another one appear......six in all.
Lots of photos but check the water games

the eyelashes..... must spend a fortune in mascara on a Saturday night!!!
How did you spend the time with your morning tea today???

Meantime in the water a few feet away were two Egyptian geese, further upstream a family of warthogs

and in the same pasture a whole herd of Impala

...all minding their own was a scene that movies are made of.
I had to be lifted back off cloud nine and we got back in the truck talking about this and how nothing could ever top that today when we rounded the corner and eagle eye Sonja said “Zebra”.

Good eyes not easy to spot!!!
Now I do have to point out that I did say two days ago we would see a leopard and we did and this morning I did say before we left I would like to see a Delwin does what he always does gets us into a position to get great shots and what do we see apart from the Zebra......giraffe and elephant.....I would like to bet that not many people get a shot of these three close together like these shots!!!

This was not the end the last water hole we saw a buffalo and a hippo sharing the same pool

So what a morning we did not get back till after noon.......we needed bacon and eggs to calm us down and then we started packing up a little and then time for swimming and snoozing by the pool.
Delwin and I then went out on our own to look for lions but were unsuccessful....but we did come across this hippo without sounding a bit egotistical I did also say to Sonja this morning I would love to see a hippo out of the water......

Delwin tells me it is quite rare to see this animal out of the water....

is there no end to this magic???
We came and picked up Sonja and went to a nice look out for sundowners where these shots were taken what is that out there?

Oh no not ANOTHER elephant!!!

and as it grew dark Sonja managed to spot a hyena which I did get a fleeting glance of.
Finally my last sunset!!!

Came back by 7 pm and had our final braai that means BBQ. Where we were visited by a lovely gennet and a hyena..what wonderful meals I have had here but more on that later!!!
I did dishes and was fast asleep by 11 pm.
The drive was about 4 hours and as I was going through the gate to leave the complex the guard stopped me and asked me where I was going and I told him and he asked me if I would give a ride to one of the workers to the big town about 45 minutes away and of course I said yes!!
So I gave Mary a ride and she was fun and I learned all about her family, children and life here in SA.
All these shots were taken from the car as I drove through the park to the exit!!!

I know this is a funny angle but it just appealed to me and after all it is my blog!!!

I enjoyed being behind the wheel again …. a few stops along the way...the lovely mountain pass

Is it just me or does anyone out there think the shot above is typical of a mountain road in Mexico???

Nice view

and right in the middle of the above is this!!!

The road became flat and straight and long!!!

A lovely field of sun flowers!!!

I arrived at my destination for one night around 3 pm.....looks pretty nice I think they are called Rondevell!!

I had a very light dinner (thanks Sonja) and caught up on some computer work.
Todays route it is a bit off but gives a general idea!!

Delwin has spent many hours on getting me a route to Cape Town that is off the normal tourist track and includes a lot of the things I like so this should be a fun and interesting few weeks....I have to be in Cape Town by 10th May for a house sit assignment!!
I cannot end this marathon of a post with out saying publicly what an incredible couple Sonja and Delwin are!!!!!

 They have treated me like a king just the meals alone they served were all 5 star...the cottage is so great and in a setting of complete privacy....all the game drives...the sleep under the stars was one that many folks will never have the opportunity to do.......Delwin must be so tired of me asking questions!!!
He is such a wealth of information and in the week I have learned so much about nature, the bush, the rituals of the animals.....I can now recognize certain animal calls, a few birds, know about their habitat and even their tracks BUT most of all Sonja and Delwin plain and simple are great people...thank you so much for all you have done for me I send you both many blessings!!!
Not sure what Internet connections I will have on the road but always no worries if there is not a post everyday......
Hope you all have a great weekend!!!

Yashi Kochi!!! 

Told you it was a long post but hoped you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed living the events!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

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