Thursday, 2 March 2017

Abbeyside Senior Branchers explore the Wild Atlantic Way!

It’s that time of year when everyone starts planning – and looking forward to - their summer camps and trips! Thanks to Abbeyside Senior Branch for sending us the following piece reflecting on their adventure last summer:

On the 18 August 2016 the Abbeyside Senior Branch set off on an exciting adventure along the Wild Atlantic Way. Three cars left the Abbeyside Scouts’ den at 9am carrying three Leaders, five members of Senior Branch and plenty of luggage to the Burren Outdoor Education Centre, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. Here we were welcomed warmly and set off on our first activity of the weekend.

All the girls changed into a pair of long johns and buoyancy aids and left in a mini bus for the sea where four barrels,
eight planks of wood and lots of string awaited us. Our task was to build a raft and paddle it out to sea. While the raft may have broken slightly when on the water, this only added to the overall enjoyment! When we were all warm and dry again we explored the centre and raided the kitchen in order to make our own pizzas. 

On Friday morning phone alarms could be heard buzzing all over the centre as we awoke early in order to head towards Doolin and prepare for our early ferry departure. The ferry pulled out of Doolin at 10am and left for Inis Mór. When we arrived on the island we
were very lucky to find the sun shining. We hired bikes and began to cycle along the coast. The scenery was fabulous.

After half an hour of cycling the girls all went in search of ice-cream and crepes whilst the Leaders got a break and had a chance to sit down. As we headed off again the wind definitely picked up and we did more walking than cycling. All in all, it was a fantastic day thoroughly enjoyed by all; at least until the journey home began! I think it is fair to say that the journey home was extremely rocky.  We were all in a state of panic when the boat docked in Doolin again after a crossing that took over two hours. I’d never seen a group of people move so fast in order to stand on dry land again.

After our active packed day on Friday we definitely deserved a treat and decided a day trip
to Galway would be perfect. We began our day trip in the gorgeous Claddagh Cottage. We were given the history of the Claddagh ring and got to see the amazing bog wood statues that the tour guide himself had sculpted. After a brief tour we decided to go for a train ride around the city in order to see all the historical buildings and the spectacular scenery of Salthill. When we had finished all of our sightseeing we set off on a shopping tour of the city. There was a great variety of shops and side streets to explore and, after a long day, we settled down in Supermacs for pizza and chips.
When we returned to the centre we changed into our party clothes and prepared for our awards ceremony. Here we ate too many sweets and gave out some pretty interesting awards!  

After a very late night we had a chance to sleep in before packing up and getting on the road again.  On our way home we stopped in the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory and enjoyed a brief tour along with a delicious hot chocolate before heading to Father Ted’s house. This house is in one of the most remote places we had ever been to - we were sure that we were lost more than once. But on a dreary and wet day we finally came to a big grey building which was, in fact, the house of Father Ted himself. Here we were greeted warmly and rushed out of the rain into a warm sitting room and, of course, there was plenty of tea as well as enough brownies and scones to feed an army. We ended our trip on a high!

We arrived home to Abbeyside at 5:30 on Sunday evening extremely tired after a trip that will never be forgotten and always remembered for its late night laughs! Thanks to all for an amazing trip!

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