RideEatCamp

Mountains and beaches

Europe

As sad as I was to leave the midges behind at our quiet campground, it was time for us to head further north, almost as north as Ireland goes, to a holiday park just south of Melmore Head.

Mt. Errigal looms in the background.
Mt. Errigal looms in the background.

After the climb around Mt. Errigal, we had a fast and fun descent.
After the climb around Mt. Errigal, we had a fast and fun descent.
A beach to ourselves but not quite warm enough for swimming.
A beach to ourselves but not quite warm enough for swimming.

Before I describe the beautiful beach that we camped above, I’ve got to mention the mountain roads we took to get there. While the Wild Atlantic Way sticks to the coastline as if the interior of Ireland were filled with boiling lava, I’m more partial to the mountains. For one, the higher we go the less my allergies bug me. Heather and moss are kind to my nose. For two, a good climb up a pass gets the heart rate up and the blood pumping. For three, my effort climbing is usually rewarded with a fast descent. For four, looking at mountains and the lands below puts a smile on my face.

So instead of following the Wild Atlantic Way around the northwest horn of Ireland, we cut inland toward Mt. Errigal and Glenveagh National Park. Mt. Errigal stands proudly above its surroundings. We got a good view of it as we approached its southwestern flank. And as we climbed the road south of it, we could see hikers making their way up to the peak. On the other side of the road was what appeared to be a miniature Yosemite Valley. The sun reflected off the steep rock walls. At first glance it looked like there was snow. It was just an Irish illusion.

We then had a really long gradual descent with a tailwind that pushed us faster than expected. We were going too fast and enjoying it too much that we missed our turn. No bother, there’s always some tiny road ahead that you can take to get you going in the intended direction again. And so we found such a road and it was splendid. It bobbed along offering views of the beaches to the north we’d soon be passing.

We arrived at the Ros Goill Holiday Park, which overlooked a horseshoe beach. In the background were the peaks of the mountains we’d be climbing tomorrow. As the sun set we took a stroll on the beach. This place would be fantastic for swimming in high summer. June in Ireland may not be the best time for summertime activities, but it does mean we had the beach to ourselves, and the campground was nearly empty.