If their was anything really active and noisy, like live music, happening during the evening at Glenmalure Lodge none of us noticed. I fell asleep before sunset. I had to contend with being awake for a time in the middle of the night but I still slept quite well. We had our hearty breakfasts at 08:00 and shouldered our packs and were ready for the trail by 09:00: a good start given the timing of things.
We said goodbye to the 2 Dutch couples, clearly quick strong hikers - just look as those long legs, who would catch up and pass us in short order. We left the lodge under clear blue skies that promised, yes again, superb weather that would be on the warm side. The Wicklow Way would wind its way gently along forestry roads through forest that while managed seemed much prettier than the sections we had walked yesterday afternoon. Maybe we just felt more energized too but it was an enjoyable walk.
We even had some big views though they won’t really stand out as stunners for us. Glenmalure waterfall could be heard but it didn’t look like much as it tumbled down. In fact, we could see the Zig Zags Path that an Irish landlord had constructed not far from the waterfall for use of his friends to reach a lake where he and they would go fishing and hunting far more distinctly. As a change in scenery it is nice but if you are expecting a take-your-breath-away moment you will be disappointed.
Eventually our forestry road walk would come to a two-track (about 4.5, or was it 5, km) and that would lead in time to an actual path up a steep slope of Mullacor Mountain. Nice change of pace followed by boardwalk that Mom and I do not like because it is covered with that supposedly anti-slip bumpy rubbery stuff that leaves us feeling less safe. Dad doesn’t mind it. A few hundred meters of that crap and we were back to a forestry road and gentle descending. A good place for a morning break even though we did not really have anything good to snack on.
The next several kilometers would continue along forestry road with some rather lengthy stretches through ugly stripped forest. A slog Of 6 or so km that while not hard was dull especially when we knew we were nearing, as the crow flies, lakes that were reportedly quite pretty. Poulanas Waterfall, passed by on a knee-twinging (yes it still bothers me on descents) paved trail was nice enough. The sounds of voices drew us steadily down towards the Upper Lake. Numerous paved and gravel paths twisted about and around this good-sized lake with small beaches and many fields for playing in. Lots of people were doing just that. We found a shady spot on the rough beach and settled down for a lazy lunch. A good spot. If the snackbar, we saw at least one fellow with coffee and learned ice cream was available, had been closer we would surely have succumbed to the temptation of food that would have been tastier than our mediocre sandwiches.
A paved path joins the Upper and Lower Lakes. The Lower Lake is smaller and doesn’t have beaches. I suppose that is why people were not skipping stones and playing like they were at Upper. An old monastic city, a home for monks at least, stands near the lake but we didn’t go down for a close look. The tall pencil-shaped tower looks like something from Repunzel’s story. At least it would have had a lake view. We left the two lakes behind and quickly came upon a roadside hotel. They had an open bar so a quick drinks break (fanta and a local red ale) was called for. We weren’t in a hurry after all and we had a climb to still do.
That ascent wasn’t nearly as bad as we though it would be and the subsequent 2km of hiking was among the nicest of the day as it wove through forest along an old two-track that was closer in many place to simple path than road. Of course, that would end dumping us out on a forestry road by a spot that’d make for a good campsite if it had water. Down we went to a different forest which was also rather nice and after a half km or so dumped us out on a minor paved road that would take us off the Wiclow Way for a km or so into the village where the Riverside B&B is located (1.5km off the way).
The notes suggest this is the prettiest section of the hike and it certainly was nicer than day 2. I hope it doesn’t mark the pinnacle of prettiness or that what remains is comparable because we still have two days and about 50km to go. By the way, the B&B is nice enough and though we were not thrilled with the 500-odd (felt like more) meter walk back into the village for dinner our meal at Lynham’s (sp) was pretty good. Early to bed again and I am finishing this not long after sunrise and the never shutting up roosters have made respective visual and audible appearances.
Stats for day 3: 19km with about 550m ascent and descent. Most of the ascent happens on gradually climbing forestry roads in the first 5km with a steep bit on pathway between 5 and 6km. Descents are gentle and even the steep descent past Poulanas Waterfall wouldn’t bother anyone whose knees are healthy. The remaining ascent and descent (just past the roadside hotel) aren’t that rough. Weather: clear blue skies all day with virtually no clouds and a high around 83F. We took 1 hour 18 minutes in breaks and were moving for about 5 hours and 56 minutes.
- Overview map. Starting at Glenmalure Lodge and ending at Riverside B&B.
- After 5km of gradual ascent on forestry roads we are climbing up the side of Mullacor mountain. It is a path of big rock slabs but the footing is good. Tiring though.
- Hurray. Upper Lake is in view. It it still a good 20 minutes walk, seemed longer, away.
- Poulanas Waterfall.
- Our view from our lunch spot at Upper Lake. Odd I thought we spent longer here at lunch but it wasn’t even half an hour.
- The tower and home, part of what our notes call a monastic city, sit not far from Lower Lake.