I was lucky enough to discover this event while visiting my old blog buddy Sallyann’s Walktober post. Sallyann took us for a stroll though Weymouth… her new home village. Sallyann and I have a few things in common… we began blogging within days of each other… way back in 2011. We have both moved to the seaside in the last year or two and we both enjoy the outdoors… the beach and dragging our cameras with us wherever we go!
So, I thought I’d have a look at Robin’s blog… to get a feel for this Walktober thing! Now… don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I don’t feature my area often enough but I have on occasion threatened to do another Arklow stroll post. Another? Yes, I have shared the occasional post… including boasting about the fact that a famous Irish rocker has created a song all about Arklow. Yep… Van Morrison penned Streets of Arklow, a song I have shared on occasion too! (I’ll let you find it in your own good time…)
OK… let’s get to walking… feel free to sing the song as you go along! Arklow is coming out of a period of regress. I have to be very careful here because I certainly don’t want to create a negative impression… but, signs of a more industrial past are visible all over. Also, we have a quarry on the south side of town… I bet not many other towns the world over have a quarry crammed in between the town and the sea. The photo above was taken from Arklow Rock (looking north-west)… you can clearly see the “blue stone” that the quarry is famous for. Apparently, this stone was loaded on ships and transported all over Europe… to build roads. OK… now we’ll look north-ish… still from the same spot on the rock.
In the distance is one of Arklow’s most famous landmarks. The old gypsum factory. It’s a fascinating old place… I call it Willy Wonker’s Chocolate Factory and wonder about all the shenanigans that have gone on there in the past – work and mischief related! Before we go any further I’ll show you a closer view of the building, taken from the northern side with the quarry in the distance. I wonder how long it will still dominate the town’s skyline?
OK… let’s get back up to the top of the rock… so I can show you the view to the south…
Right… let me explain. I can leave the house and walk south-east and over the back of Arklow Rock. This is the long way to the beach. This is how I get to the spot on top of the rock, where these photos were taken. However, if I want to get down to the town there are a few different routes to take. The quickest will bring me to the Avoca River… and a view of another landmark. The 19 Arches Bridge. This bridge boasts the most arches of any stone bridge in Ireland.
OK… from here we walk east to the harbour. The photo I’ll share has WWCF as a backdrop to the tall ship Phoenix.
The stroll from the bridge to the harbour is an easy 10 minutes… max! Look-see… here’s the Phoenix entering the Avoca River, turning toward the sea… and in the distance is the bridge…
Now we stroll around the harbour for another few minutes and we’re at the South Breakwater. I’ll including a photo taken just after Storm Callum… to show just how much of a hammering the breakwater takes during a storm! I’m standing on South Beach…
So… on a better day, when I get from the harbour to South Beach this is my view toward the south… the sea mist takes the edge of the harshness off the quarry landscape.
I’ll keep walking south… until I get to the car park at the beach we call The Cove, where my good lady usually meets me… and parks the car, so we have an easy escape for sore legs later. This spot was created in times gone by for the use of the quarry. They built two breakwaters to protect a jetty and loading system for ships that collected the stone I mentioned earlier.
The topography has helped create a beach… at times storms take away all the sand but then, a week later you can get back here and walk on a pleasant expanse of sand!
We often bring the little ones here for a few minutes run. They know not to ask for much more as when we collect them after school this is a quick treat. On other days we stay much longer… but at our most favourite of beaches… which is another twenty minutes walk away! From the car park we head south… along a path made by the quarry people, so as we don’t get in the way of the machines. They prefer that people walk after quarry operating hours but now that winter is approaching that makes it only possible to visit our favourite beach during the weekends. On the way to that spot we pass the old workings of the loading jetty…
If safety is your concern… it’s ours too. This photo was taken through the locked gate. I have an industrial work background and will always look at the safety of the situation before doing something. We take extreme care when walking along or near the quarry’s designated routes… especially if we have the kids along with us! OK… so, we’ve eventually made it to the top of “our” beach. Yes, we always seem to pause here… to take in the view because it differs each and every time we get here.
We’ve had a stunning summer this year… so, all you really have to do is scroll back through the months and you’ll see post after post about Arklow and environment… often featuring this beach! As I mentioned… this place is different each time we get here. It’s either the weather, clouds adding mood… or the sand. Then there is sand… then the next high tide brings pebbles and other debris. I’ve taken to collecting beach glass… in the hope of creating something with the bits and pieces. I sort of have a plan… sort of!
Phew… I’m getting worn out… but we have to get to the end of the beach so I’ll hurry promptly along! We’re often the only two souls on this beach. We choose to go down when most people are at work or school. Freedom – that’s the epitome of freedom! Right… we’ve made it to the point.
See that lil gap on the right… when the tide is right and there’s sand, one can get around the point and get onto the next beach… yes, we’ve done that but then we’ll have to keep going… and I’m getting just a tad weary… as you most likely are too! We’ll turn back… to this view…
So… we’ve been walking almost the whole afternoon. If we hurry we’ll get back to the car park – where the good lady parked when she met me – in about 30 minutes! Thing is… we’re not in a hurry so we may park off a while longer… why not?
Food? Yes… eventually hunger drives us home. We have slept on the beach one night this summer… hopefully we’ll bring our food another time next summer… and sleep again! PEACE!
Right… the end! But… my passing shot? My good lady says this is her favourite summer photo… so, who am I to argue?
Thanks for joining us… yes, it is a total advert for Arklow but who cares? Me? No… here we have found a place where we can enjoy life! Simple… but peace and freedom don’t ask for much – just tolerance, understanding and acceptance! So, in passing… I’ll leave you with a sunrise shot! Yes… taken from our favourite beach, where else?