The Burren Way, Day 3: Caher Valley

Today was a non-travel day.  We had a choice of two loop hikes and picked the one that would get us back into Fanore for lunch at Vasco’s. The hike took us up the Caher Valley and then across an old greenway that would have connected Fanore  with the surrounding area.

The hike up the valley was in two stages. The first was a long a tiny road next to the only stream in the Burren that is above ground all year (the others sink into the porous limestone if there isn’t enough rain). The weather cooperated for a few hours and we got some lovely views of the river and the surrounding farms. It even allowed us to sit down and have a nice snack half way up.

The second stage had us turn away from the river and hike up Slieve Elva, a 324m (1,062 ft) peak. We climbed up to a greenway just below the summit.  By this time the weather and turned cloudy and the wind had really picked up, but thankfully it didn’t rain. Still, the broad open expanse of the greenway was lovely. On either side of the stone wall were empty cattle grazing areas that looked ready for occupants.

After a few more kilometers, we found the remains of an old ring fort and castle. The castle is currently for sale and could be yours for a mere €25000. At that point we turned back towards Fanore and had some great flat bread for lunch.

There’s almost no cellphone coverage in Fanore so when we needed to get back to the B&B, we had the locals ring the owners who came to get us. After dinner, the local pub owner offered us a lift instead of bothering the B&B owners. On the short drive back, we learned that he was the 4th generation of his family to own the bar.  We also learned that he has a big farm in the Caher and was getting ready for the “winter walk”. The cattle pens we had seen on top of the mountain were the winter feeding grounds for all the cows we saw in town. The walk is moving them all from the summer areas to the winter ones.

As always, more pictures are here.

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