Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Day 21
The primary goal for today was to get my bike serviced by a mechanic in Kilfenora. Although I had tinkered with it myself to ensure that it was functioning, I knew that these were just temporary solutions. Rather than wait for the next accident to happen, I thought it would be best to nip any potential problems in the bud.
On my way to Kilfenora I stopped off at a house just outside Carron to visit another person that I had been recommended to speak with. The man in question informed me that he wouldn't be much help regarding the famine, however his son suggested that some of the walls around the farmland may have been built around that time. The land had been divided into small sections, contrasting with the larger fields that can be seen around the area. This dividing of land occurred quite frequently during the famine years, so I made a mental note to have a look at the OSI maps later in the evening.
After this visit I continued on to Kilfenora, which was only about a 45 minute cycle away. As I reached the halfway mark I noticed a loud squeaking coming from my bike every time that I pedalled, although this time the noise appeared to be related to the front wheel as opposed to the back. Thankful that I was about to get it looked at, I continued towards the village. After dropping into a local shop to pick up a few items, I walked up to the building where the bike rental service was based. The mechanic there was very helpful, and after initially noticing a couple of issues with the bike he told me to come back in an hour or so.
It was only when I returned that I realised how bad a state my bike was actually in. Probably the most significant issue was that the rear axel had snapped in half, meaning that the rear wheel would have eventually become severely damaged and may have even come off while I was cycling. The rear wheel itself was incredibly loose, which could have caused it to rub off the brakes while I was cycling, resulting in the loud squeaking noise that occurred every time that I pedalled. The bike chain was quite worn and in need of replacement. Fortunately, the mechanic had a spare one on hand. He also adjusted the rear derailleur to prevent the new chain from slipping off the gears, as the older one had been doing all too frequently.
The mechanic informed me that he had done enough to insure that the bike would last until the end of my field trip without any issue, however he recommended that I get it serviced soon afterwards. The cycle back to Carron was noticeably smoother, and I noticed that he had made some adjustments to the brakes resulting in them being a lot more responsive. All going well, this will be the last time the bike features in this blog.
When I arrived back at the facility in Carron, I had a look at the OSI maps to analyse the farmland around Carron in more detail. The farmhouse in question can be seen at the centre of the 2005 map (1st image), with much of the farmland located to the right-hand side. When comparing the 1888-1913 map (2nd image, post-famine) with the 1837-42 map (3rd image, pre-famine), it is clear that some of these constructions could very well have been built during the famine years. However, it is also evident from the maps that many of the walls around the area were built after 1913.
I'm intrigued in particular by a small track that runs from the house at the top of the map to the main road, built between 1843 and 1887. As I have stated previously, many constructions were built between 1843 and 1887 that had nothing to do with the famine. That being said, I think it would still be worth calling into that house to find out if the owner knows anything about the tracks' origin.