|Date||Thursday 30 August 2018|
|Distance stage||15,5 km|
|Distance acum.||3.436,5 km|
|Quality of signs||good|
|Quality of the hike||C (interesting): some views, some paved roads between farms|
|Link to Strava|
I have slept reasonably well; I oke up a few times, looking many kilometers away in the sort-of-dark. When the day has started I get up and pack my gear together. There is not so much to pack: I have a bivouacsack, no sleeping bag or tent or so.
At 06.06 I start hiking again. I am not in a hurry, I want to maintain a modest pace and want to make a really long day, again. The Trail leads down and up on small hills. In the far distance the higher hills of the Wicklow Mountains are visible, this excitement for later today and the stheas to come. The slopes this morning are getting more and more steep. After 13 kilometers, in a section that goes gently downhill, I feel two painful stitches in my right Achilles heel. My first thought is that it must be some thorns that got stuck in my socks, or so. But the pain continues and I rub the places that are hurting. I try some careful small steps, some massaging and some light stretching but the pain continues. This is not good. I am in the middle of nowhere and I have to walk at least to a road, to get back to the civilization. By making very small steps I arrive on the next local road. I don’t want to stop just somewhere along a road (could be difficult to get back to the exact spot to continue the next time). I continue for 200 meters to a bridge that crosses a small creek at the location known as Ballyteige.
I take a break, I am very disappointed and very concerned about my leg. A fellow hiker pass me by; he is also from the Netherlands, and he is doing the Wicklow Way. It is difficult for me to be excited, but I whish him all the best and watch him crossing the bridge and going up the hill, that I have to save for my next trip. I stumble back to the local road and start hitchhiking my way to the east, to the coast, to the national railroad. It is an easy road but with very few traffic. Within 20 minutes I am lucky and I get a drive to the village of Aughrim, and later on to Arklow, on the coast. While waiting for my train south (remember: I always ravel backwards back home, although it would be a lot easier to travel north to the close-by Dublin) I chat with the railway station chief in Arklow. Again, we talk about how it is to live in a country that is attached to other countries, and the differences between people from the countryside versus city folks. I spend the night in Wexford, and continue the next day to Cork. Later on, back home it turns out that I have two microruptures in my Achilles heel, recovery can take quite some time.
But I will be back in Ireland . . .