There I stood…. at the Mullingar Harbour. I could go look for a train back home or I could continue on past the town. I flipped the mental coin… called tails for extending the walk and won. So… after a short look around at what seems to be a fine facility with plenty of history on offer I set off down the path again.
I wanted to stay on bit longer but the place seems to be the lovers hot-spot… there they sat… sucking the faces off each other. Makes me fell a little creepy… sticking around could imply voyeurism? There’s a limit to the amount of people watching I do… groping couples are off-limits.
Off I went… leaving the harbour behind only to round the next bend and be met with the sight of another couple at it. I hastened by… drat… the innocence of youth. 😛 I soon reached the rail bridge. This had me rather confused… I was always under the impression that when the rail line crosses to the south bank at Lock 7 it remains on that side of the canal… all the way to the Shannon. Well, I was wrong again…
This section of the canal is littered with crossing structures and only when you head past the foot bridge located close by the Mullingar Station do you again reach relatively open space. I noticed an old Railway signal… then I noticed the disused rail lines. So… you see… there are lines on the south bank. Wonder when last a train has traveled that route?
I must mention the towpath… it has been well developed all the way from the entrance on the eastern side of Mullingar to the Ballinea Harbour in the west. It was good to see the amount of folk out along the canal. Apart from the young loves the area was well supported by walkers… cyclists, runners, fisher folk… and many dog minders. Unfortunately the only boat of any description was a fellow ripping up the water in his canoe.
At about the point where the new bridge crosses the canal the road diverges… traffic noise becomes less and the countryside opens up again. The south bank is lined with large trees for much of the way. Not long had the paddler passed me… he was heading toward the town, when the heavens opened! And boy, did it chuck down! The large rain drops hit with stinging force… getting me quite damp before I managed to get the problematic umbrella opened. That will teach me to check my tools before departing home!
I walked on… expecting the worst. Soon I would have to find shelter. fortunately, almost as suddenly as the shower started it passed by. The sun made the odd appearance… the clouds put on a majestic show. The late afternoon turned into a pleasurable walking experience… rural section of the canal crossed by old bridges.
I eventually made it to the Ballinea Bridges and did a bit of recognisance while waiting for the good lady to collect me… we were blessed by a spectacular sunset. A fine reward to a fine day’s walking.
Ed’s Note… again, click on the first photo to enlarge and then use the arrows beneath each photo to navigate the gallery.
PS: – Don’t forget to go over to the Royal Canal Life Page to have a look at all the other walks and fun…