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Portumna in the mist and rain

October 3, 2011

On Sunday I had a misty warm autumn ride on the trails in Portumna Forest Park on the banks of Lough Derg next to where the Shannon river drains into that great lake.  I had intended to go to one of the more advanced mountain bike trails in Galway, but given how wet and murky the weather had been all weekend, I thought sticking to lowland woodlands was a better option than high and wild trails.

There are two 10km long mountain bike trails in the forest park, both shared with walkers, although its pretty clear from the design that the trails were built by and for mountain bikers.  The area is flat and there is nothing technical, so its an ideal area for beginners.  The trail is really nice, it twists and curls through mature conifer, birch and oak forest, marshes, and the banks of the Lake, and it rounds a turlough (dry this weekend).  I rode both trails, and went around a third time skipping between the two.

When I arrived, I found a snail had hitched a lift on the car...

The trail flows for most of its route through tall mature pines.

In wetter areas, the forest opens out to birchwood and marsh, where I saw a rare sight these days - two red squirrels. One daredevil squirrel nearly ended up decorating my front wheel. The tail would have made a nice bike brush I think.

This open area is a turlough, a seasonal lake fed by underground streams.

The mild wet autumn is perfect for funghi, there were all sorts of interesting toadstools growing by the trailside.

The farthest point of the trail is at Bonaveen Point, a lovely and peaceful spot, perfect for a picnic if the weather was better.

By now my bike was pretty muddy, just like me.

Just off Bonaveen Point, is the little island of Bonaveen.

The spider sensibly kept out of the rain.

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