Walking through clouds to the Ford of the Heros.
The forecast is for a cloudy day with the possibility of a shower around noon. At breakfast in Finglas House B&B I look out over the silvery sea of Tralee Bay with patches of sunlight breaking through the thin cloud. A Jackdaw sits hunched on a fencepost enjoying the view too.
I say goodbye to Kathleen, trying out my shaky Irish. She doesn’t recognise my words at first but says that my accent sounds as if I am from Dingle – I am not sure what to make of that.
Up the road I came down yesterday and then more steeply up after the turn at the junction of the Way, I find blackberries, sweet and delicious; there will be plenty more to keep me going, throughout the day.
Off the road onto a track passing through old turf cuttings, easy walking on a cool morning. Two men are still working one of the cuts, stacking turf into white plastic sacks.
This section of the route crosses over the peninsula from the north to the south side and as I come over the crest to approach Inch beach the clouds come down from the hilltops and cling to the ground, damp at first but then wetter and colder. The waterproofs go on.
I take the short diversion to Inch, a wide, flat beach stretching out 6 kilometers or so, protecting Castlemaine Harbour which I looked over from the other side of the bay when I walked from Glebeigh on the Kerry Way. Today the sands and the skies merge together in the distance in the mizzle.
This part of the beach is busy. Cars park on the firm sands, the Paddywagon busses arrive with groups of selfie-hunting tourists who pose and move on. A café and bar serves expensive fish & chips; people surf in hired wetsuits: 5euro an hour from the orange, re-purposed shipping containers on the sands, Irish flags hanging limply on their roofs. I get a cup of warming tea, eat my cheese roll and get back to the quiet boreen above the strand.
The old boreen passes across newer roads and through woodland copses before joining the long, straight road that heads down to Annascaul1
The village is the home of Arctic explorer Tom Crean and the South Pole Inn has memorabilia of the ‘Unsung Hero’. It’s quite a tourist trap, busses arriving one after another. Their occupants get an ‘Irish pub experience’ and a talk about Crean. It lasts a few minutes before they board their coaches again. I don’t like it and eat at the Patcheens Bar up the road instead.
The weather forecast on the TV in the pub is not good: rain is on the way. Today’s forecast was wrong, perhaps tomorrow’s will be too.
Not much sketching today. The weather and tiredness were against it. I left out the people in the bar, it wasn’t that empty!
About the route
View my route in Google Maps
18.5km (11.5 miles) in about 5.5 hours. Total ascent: 432m. Max elevation: 236m.
- See this article for suggested translations of the name. I rather like “Ford of the Heros” which resonates across the ages, from Cuchulainn to Tom Crean, but locally I am told it’s ‘Shadow River’