A late afternoon stroll in the Sussex countryside should be a calming, mindful experience.
That is until you come across a wall of Alpacas turning towards you in one synchronous movement. Slowly. Silently. Deliberately. 36 ice cold eyes staring you down, just daring you to open the gate and tread the public foot path across their field…The sun may sink much more quickly than expected, but you are bound to find civilisation eventually… for example, a totally creepy 12th century church. If it’s nearly dark, definitely stop to sketch it. Whilst you are deeply engrossed in capturing the sinister trees, try not to wet yourself when one of your party sneaks up behind you and calls your name to break that awkward silence.
The top of Croagh Patrick has been covered in a tiny toupee of mist for most of the week, giving me a fantastic excuse not to walk up it.Today, although it was a grey day, the summit was surprisingly clear. So I had to find a new reason.
At the foot of the mountain, I consulted with Holy Mary through the medium of sketch. When she turned into Fanny Craddock on my page, I took it as a clear sign that heading to the summit spelled doom.I abandoned the disastrous sketch and opted to do the Murrisk loop. A lovely walk with plenty of sketching and no slippery scree.
After my run in with Mary, I went subtle on St Patrick’s face.The views of Clew Bay are excellent. Even the sheep agree. Here’s Clare Island and the beautiful spit of Betra Beach.Down in the village I finally got to see the Fisherman’s Memorial. Those cyclists took off pretty quickly. Must have been the way I looked at them! My personal pilgrimage could only end at the Sheebeen with a bottle of Westport, Mescan.
The track to the deserted village on Achill Island is blinding white.
The sparkling Quartzite from the former stone quarry sits in stark contrast to the pitch black of the peat brick wigwams drying in the sun.The village itself is silent, save for the twitter of little brown bog birds and the odd ‘baa’ of the horny sheep.Around the bend, a little way on, we are faced with bus-loads of tourists in the not-so-deserted part of of the village.
I’m all sketched out so I make my way through the huffing puffing crowds.
If you are heading this way I definitely recommend setting off from the famous ‘lost beach‘, in Dooagh. Particularly since they’ve found it again now!
Traditional watercolour landscapes are not my forte, but this stunning spot in the graveyard above Killary Harbour fjord gave me itchy aqua brushes. Sometimes you just have to try!Beach-watching and sunburn at Lettergesh.
After being bombarded with rain drops the size of apples at Aashleagh falls, I was relieved to stand, legs akimbo and dry my trousers at the Doo Lough famine memorial.
The weather continued to race through this sobering spot where hundreds died in 1849.
The shafts on sunlight in the foreground of my sketch had almost fled by the time I’d finished.