The second expedition of the “Explore Meath Club” took place on Wednesday 14th November. I decided we would attempt to walk from Navan to Slane along the River Boyne. Although 17kms was a bit ambitious with a 2.00 pm start and darkness falling so early, we decided to see how far we would get – and file away the experience for future expeditions.
A late start at Navan Ramparts due to my own car breaking down half way to the starting point did not deter the children. As usual they could not contain their energy and took off like hares for Stackallen Bridge, about 6 kms up the river. The walk to this point was pleasant but rather tame, the main point of interest being some interesting buildings along the tow path. At Stackallen Bridge we obtained the information from a local man that the path to Slane continued “down the side of Christy Moore’s grandmother’s cottage.” From this point onwards the character of the path changed completely and we were in quite dense forest and very close to the water, on a narrow, muddy path where one really can appreciate the sound and beauty of the Boyne. The call of pheasants was all around us as darkness began to fall. At dusk, as we turned back to the Bridge (Slane not being achievable) a minor disaster befell us when a wasp’s nest was trodden on. I don’t remember seeing wasps so late in the year before and anyone walking this path needs to be vigilant. Many of the group were stung.
The bus driver met us at the cottage. Tired and over the worst of the stings, the group chatted softly and munched Otto’s sweets on the return journey to school, enjoying a pleasant and mellow end to the day.