Clew Bay, County Mayo

Clew Bay is a well sheltered glacier-formed mass of water between Louisburgh and Corraun, in west Mayo. Famed for its ‘365’ islands (there are closer to 85 in reality), it is a quiet spot, with its best parts hidden from general view, west of the Westport to Newport road.

Clare Island stands at Clew Bay’s mouth and, with her many drumlin island friends, she keeps the bay’s waters remarkably calm for the West of Ireland. Well, most of the time anyway.

Boasting great placenames, like Rosmoney, Rosmindle, Roscahill, Rostoohy, Rosnakilly, Rosdogaun, Rosbeg, Roslaher, Rossow, Rossantubble, Rossanrubble, Rosgibbileen and Rosclave, how could you not want to visit ?

And while you’re there, go in for a pint to Fitz’s Buckfield Inn.

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Leave No Trace + Geocaching + Kettle

Altaconey River, Nephin Beg mountains.

Altaconey River, Nephin Beg mountains.

I was up the Altaconey River in the Nephin Begs last Sunday with my Kelly’s Kettle, having just located a pretty easy geocache nearby. Feeding small twigs into the kettle, I began to wonder what Leave No Trace’s (LNT) opinion might be of both the kettle and geocaching as a pasttime. 

I was confident of what LNT would say about the Kelly’s Kettle and other similar products, for the simple reason that I use it properly and do not leave a trace behind me. 

Use it properly ? What does that entail ? Well, I don’t break twigs or pine cones off trees, but use what is already on the ground. And I don’t lie the kettle on ground that might get burned or scorched, but use rocks or sand, where there is some. And I don’t discard the burnt materials afterwards, but pack them away. 

I was much less sure about geocaching. Why ? Because, even if I come across a geocache, pay my respects, maybe do a swap of what’s in it for something new, nevertheless, this is still a (typically) plastic item in the natural environment – an imposter, if you will. 

So here is the reply I got from Boulder, CO, USA, with which I’m happy : 

———————————————- 

Hello,
Thank you for your inquiries via Twitter.  In reference to your Kelly’s Kettle question:

This is similar to the http://www.zzstove.com/, which is a stove that uses natural combustible material (pine cones, twigs, leaves, etc.) and burns them in a very controlled way. It’s essentially like a fire in a can. 


Our position is that as long as it’s used in accordance with local land manager regulations, it’s both safe and responsible to have a fire (i.e. an open flame even if contained) and there are appropriate and readily available fuel sources, then we have no issue with this stove. Our only additional recommendation would be to follow our standard guidelines about minimizing campfire impacts since this device utilizes open flame. 
Regarding geocaching (from our FAQ page – http://lnt.org/aboutUs/FAQs.php#geocaching):

WHAT IS THE CENTER’S STANCE ON GEOCACHING?
 

The Center views geocaching as a fun and worthwhile recreational pursuit when done in accordance with land management agency regulations and with Leave No Trace in mind. As the popularity of geocaching has exploded over the past few years, land managers in many areas are seeing more impacts related to geocaching. However, because of geocaching, more and more people are enjoying the outdoors. Both people placing caches and people seeking caches need to research current regulations on geocaching for the areas where they wish to partake in this activity. 

The Center also has geocaching-specific information https://store.lnt.org/teach> .

Thanks again for your questions.  We appreciate the dialogue.

All the best,

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
PO Box 997
Boulder, CO 80306
P:  303.442.8222 X109
F:  303.442.8217
http://www.LNT.org
http://www.leavenotracecommunity.blogspot.com
 

Beached Minke Whale on The Mullet

Friday last was a beautiful day up on The Mullet peninsula. I went to Caisleaán strand on the western side to spot some Barnacle Geese. What I actually found were 9 Brent plus the small matter of a beached Minke Whale.

Some farmers told me the whale had been there several days and if you compare the pictures below with those I took of another beached Minke at Enniscrone last September, here, which was less than 24 hours on the beach at the time, you can see the difference in skin discolouration. Also, both the jaw area and dorsal fin of the Caisleán whale had been buried in the sand by the time I got there.

I estimated the whale at around 9 metres long.

Walking the Clonbur Cong Linear Trail

Here is a video I took a few weeks back of the pleasant linear hiking trail, entirely off-road, between the villages of Clonbur and Cong, on the Galway Mayo border.

This walk, combining native and conifer woodland, as well as caves, ruined castle, wetlands and lakeshore habitats, takes around 3 to 4 hours, at a casual pace.

Why not join me for Cong Lakes Walks, a three-day walking event down in this beautiful and tranquil area.