|Twas more than the mist dripping into my eyes. I was a tad warm.|
|Briefly out of the mist at the col|
|Moody cliffs stretch away to the right.|
|Back down under the cloud looking at the Coomcallee cliffs|
|Seriously good boldering to be enjoyed. The big ones are house size|
|The route taken that evening is up the left and down the right...simples|
The last time I was in the area I did a lovely but tough 95 K cycle with 1000 meters of ascent. It starts from the hotel and heads to the Ballaghbeama Gap, then onwards to Ballaghisheen Pass , from there on to Waterville and then home the stunning coast road which is part of the ring of Kerry. Now its fair to say that I'm no great shakes on the bike and the little I have done this year didn't exactly prepare me too well for it but overall I was pretty pleased with my efforts. The climb to Ballaghbeama is a toughie with a 13 degree gradient but I managed to huff and puff my way to the crest. A brief rest and I enjoyed the downhill section towards Glencar which passes through some of the wildest and most rugged landscape in Ireland. Then it was on to Ballaghasheen and the views just kept on coming. If I was disappointed with the weather the previous morning, today I had nothing but blue sky and warm sun. It was magical.
|Shortly after starting out. Not a bad backdrop.|
|The way onwards|
It didn't make the climb to the pass any easier and I suspect some of the noises I was making towards the top would have sent alarm bells ringing for anyone unfortunate enough to have heard them. Another brief rest at the top and I think the view back towards the Reeks is truly special. Then there is the long but relatively flat ride all the way to the coastal village of Waterville and now the deep blue of the wild Atlantic is a joy to behold. Alas it isn't that easy to enjoy it as there is a long drag out of the village but boy oh boy, when you reach the high headland at the crest the scenery is breathtaking (if you had any left). The Skelligs, Scarrif island and the serene Derrynane compete for your attention. I actually felt pretty good but I hit something of a wall with about 15 kilometres to go but I managed to keep going to the end. I was banjaxed at the end but elated at the same time. With weather such as this it was a huge privilege to be able to ride through some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever been in.
|Back towards Waterville|
That evening I went after dinner and walked to the top of nearby Bheann Mhor which at 308 meters was plenty after the exertions of the morning. It is a rough wild little hill that requires a lot more effort to reach the top than you would expect. It offered a lovely viewpoint and as the sun set I soaked up as much of the views as I could. It was a fitting finale to my efforts this trip. I hope it won't be too long before we go back.
|Views from Bheann Mhor|