Quote of the Moment
"All really great things happen in slow and inconspicuous ways." Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, 3 July 2014

E8 Day 3: Beara Camping to Kenmare

To anyone who is still reading this blog: I apologise. Life took a turn for the busy and I ended up focusing on everything apart from completing the tail of my hike. Here is day 3, I will recount it as best I can.

The night of the 2nd to the 3rd of March was cold. Very cold. Exceptionally cold. Well, by exceptionally cold I mean, it was exceptional that anyone would consider that 'camping' in a plastic shed in those temperatures would be a good idea. The weather was behaving as normal for that time of year. It snowed. I spent some time outside marvelling at the flakes as they fell, and the sinking realisation that I would face another rough day on the morrow. But first I had to survive the night. My notebook reads like the scraps of prose you found in a story designed to create suspense. I wrote, "It is so cold." in a scrawly end of the world script. And it was cold. Probably the coldest nights sleep I have ever had. My winter sleeping-bag, mummy liner, hat and all the clothes I had stuffed into the bag were nearly insufficient to ensure that I would wake up in the morning. (Maybe a little melodramatic! ;-) )

But awake I did. And whilst not refreshed, I had slept a few hours and was ready to move on. With shivering hands I collected all my things and walked the mile and a half back to the route.

Today's hike started with country tracks back to the Beara Way along the Clooney Loughs which were still and peaceful and seemingly deep. I took some time to pause and relax as I was back on the hike after such a troubling and cold night, by the loughs I had warmed up again and despite the feeling of a cold I was ready for another day's hike. I walked straight up another mountain which with today's mostly dry weather was much easier than similar sections on the previous days. Towards the top of the climb I turned around and took real pleasure from the view, I saw another ridge, the very same I had come down from on the previous day and I couldn't see how I had done it. I studied the slope and the ridge and, whilst logic and the map afforded me a probable location where I had come down, at all points it seemed impassable. I really felt like a hill walker at that moment.

On the other side of the climb I was able to spy my first view of a civilised population centre, not the whole town of Kenmare, but a small slice of it that hills and trees left unobstructed. But it was a goal. And it kept me going for the rest of the day. Hiking wise it was pretty easy with track becoming farm roads becoming a larger country road which eventually came out to a the main highway from the south to Kenmare. This last part was unfortunate with speedy cars interrupting the peacefulness I had come accustomed to. But again, the closeness to a real nights sleep in a real - and WARM - B&B kept any frustration caused by the trappings of civilisation minor in my mind. This road led on for some time and culminated in the bridge of Kenmare; never a greyer construction has been made by man. I left the Beara Peninsula, it was a sad moment. Whilst it had treated me roughly I had begun to truly appreciate it's wild beauty; I hope to return to here again.

The town of Kenmare was pleasant. The greeting I got by Mary at Hawthorn House was warm, which to me by this point was vitally important. I washed some clothes, had Irish Stew, my first (of 3!!! :-(  ) Guinnesses and slept in a nice soft bed.  

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