Wild Atlantic Way - Donegal Part2
Written by Jason Mac Cormac Photography
My second trip to Donegal in 2018 finds me at the start/finish line of the Wild Atlantic Way, though I’ve a few counties already visited and still a few to go to it felt right that I went back to Donegal and this time to the Inishowen peninsula, before planning future trips. My previous trip in March or April was to the neighbouring Fanad peninsula, when I also took in Slieve League and a few other amazing locations which you can read from a previous blog here..
Malin Head and the Inishowen peninsula as it happened were a revelation, so much to see and so little time!!
The Inishowen peninsula has far more to offer than I expected, so many super locations to visit that a day and a night could not do it justice, only serving to scratch the surface.
Wild camping in a wild place
My first night was an adventure in itself, having left work I discovered the motorways in Dublin were gridlocked so I headed home had some dinner and left it a little later to travel the 4+ hours to Malin Head.
Arriving close to 12 midnight at an utterly dark and sparsely populated location hardly a house to be seen and no artificial lights to guide the way, might spook some people, but the music that decided to start playing on the radio is what freaked me out Thriller, Bat out of Hell, Murder on the Dancefloor, it was as if the DJ was having a laugh at my expense. The fact that I was going to sleep beside the scary sounding Hell’s Hole probably didn’t help much to ease my mind.
Not to be outdone though I found a remote gravel road parked off road and set up my tent with the help of my car headlights. Needless to say the radio was turned off for the night LOL :)
Waking in the morning I found my way to the most spectacular coastal cliffs I have ever seen, unfortunately the weather was not going to play ball and the sunrise was not as I had hoped, with the sun hidden behind the clouds. I did however work the scene and battle the raging winds and suffer with my tired old tripod which really needs to be replaced to capture as best I could some images.
The image below I really liked, using every little nugget of information I’ve learnt over the past years with long exposures, filters, composition to make an interesting image. Sadly though my tripod couldn’t cope in the breeze and I won’t be printing this image.
After my morning cup of Mocha (very posh for wild camping) and a tin of spaghetti heated on my pocket stove I headed south with optimism that the grey skies would clear, however that optimism did not result in blue skies. Nevertheless I was enjoying my trip to Donegal delighted I had wild camped at Malin.
I visited Five Finger Strand to see the beautiful beach and the towering sand dunes, the rain and wind though scuppered any thoughts of taking a photo. Next stop was the Glenevin Waterfall, were i bumped into James and Mícheál two fellow photographers who I’d never met but had the very same idea to get out of the rain. I didn’t shoot too much there but chatted to the guys and discussed possible places to visit during the day.
I bid them farewell and headed to Moville for fish and chips at Biddy’s takeaway. The owner kindly sharing the merits of eating Haddock over Cod :) much to the amusement of his staff I chose Cod, sure I wasn’t to know Haddock was their famous dish.
After Moville I drove north along the coast through Greencastle and up to Shrove, I’ve seen a handful of images from here, the lighthouse and a small jetty had sparked my interest. It was heading into the afternoon and I still had no idea where to camp for the night, if I should stay in Donegal and venture further north to Kinnagoe Bay or start heading through Antrim to shorten the drive home the next day. Aah if only I had a week.
Shrove has two beautiful small beaches on either side of it’s prominent lighthouse banded in black and white colours. I headed up the hill to get an overview of the scene, taking a panorama of the coast with Derry coastline and the striking cliffs of Binevenagh in the background. (Binevenagh is another location that has found favour with film makers, and also little did I know at the time would be the place I would spend the next night sleeping in my car with rain and wind and images of game of thrones characters playing tricks with my mind - Though that’s a story for another blog)
I found the small jetty and took some long exposure images, I think if the tide was in it would work better as the water flowing under the arches would help create more separation between the rocks below and the jetty.
The crashing waves and receding water along the sandy beach caught my attention and as the last of the daylight disappeared I spent some time capturing lots of long exposure images trying to time it that the water was being pulled back to the sea as the next wave came crashing back in. It was fun experiment.
As it was getting late I decided to bid Donegal farewell and come back again when the weather and light is more promising for photography. Had I been a visiting tourist and photography was not the goal the weather would have been perfect for lovely strolls along the promenades, and the pathways along the coast. Us photographers are always chasing and never happy with the light !! ;)
Until next time Safe Travels…. Thanks for visiting, Jason
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More info on the Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way, is the longest marked coastal route in the world at approximately 2,500 kilometres it follows the peninsulas and coastal outcrops along the West coast of Ireland. I was surprised to learn how long that coast is too. A truly magnificent road trip. For more on the Wild Atlantic Way areas of interest, places to eat and place to stay visit the website https://www.wildatlanticway.com/home