This was an excellent trip and Location. Eleven of us met in the picturesque Village of Cong at 2.00pm in the River Lodge. After coffee and a spot of lunch we then travelled down to the put in, to pack our boat for our 4 day adventure. Once the boats were packed we organised our shuttle to Maum which is definitely better found by the road signs than the Sat Nav, as the Sat Nav brings you on a magical mystery tour of a network of lanes if you could call them that. It takes about an hour and half in total for the shuttle. Once back at the put in we completed our final checks and got on the water for our first leg of the trip from the key at Cong out to Inchagoill. As we approached the Island we could see a small fire in the bay area at the northwest side of the island were one of the camping areas is located. So we decided to go to the main slip were the other camping spot was. There was a few tents already and people arriving in speed boats with more camping gear, so a few of us took a walk across to where we had seen the fire and to our delight it was free. We set up camp, made our dinner and settled down for the night.
The next morning after breakfast ten of us of on our days paddle. Pete stayed at the camp to look after the tents and do a spot of fishing. We left Inchagaoil and headed southeast to Inisbiana and then on to Inchiquin, where we found an excellent lunch spot, fully equipped with a BBQ and tables all made by the local fishermen. The paddle across to the islands was very challenging due to the strong head winds. After lunch we paddled around the back of Inchiquin and found a small tunnel under the road to paddle through. We then had a long ferry glide to Illaunaconaun so that we would have the wind at our backs on the stunning journey back to Inchagaoil. Everyone found the days paddling both challenging and rewarding. We had dinner and settled down for our second night on the island with the sound of distant drums coming from the birthday party at the other campsite.
After breakfast on day three we packed up camp and reloaded our boats for the next leg of the journey. Before our departure we took time out to explore the island and its famous churches and graveyards. We then headed west to Doon Rock island where we had a break and admired the view and then paddled on up towards the Maumturk mountains to our campsite on Caislean na Circe, which is linked to Granuaile: Ireland’s Pirate Queen. Luckily enough nobody spotted her in the middle of the night! Cooking dinner here was interesting, due to the swarms of midges, however it was a beautiful spot to camp.
On the last day we packed up, left the Island and headed further up through the mountains to our finish point at Maum. We packed up and organised the shuttles back to Cong and had a bite to eat back at the River lodge before heading to the B&B at Castlebar for our last evening. We had a lovely meal together and a bit of craic in the local pub. After breakfast the next morning we all headed our separate ways. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip and had a fantastic time.