Ballycotton to Courtmacsherry, via Crosshaven and Kinsale

Day 107, Sat 15 April 

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Looking out over the harbour towards Ballycotton Island Lighthouse at high tide this morning before departure, the glassy sheen of the sea and the deep green of the island backdrop reminded me of last night’s words of wisdom from young Saoirse. When I asked her what she could tell me about Cork, her home  county. “Well,” she said, “Ireland is like a beautiful bottle floating in the sea. But without Cork, it would soon sink.”

From here, towards Cork City, Cobh Island ferry, then the first port of call: Crosshaven Lifeboat Station. The crew had just finished a training exercise on their B-Class Atlantic lifeboat. Thanks Patsy (LOM), JP(DLA), Ian (Helm), James, Warrren, & Chartai (crew) and Philomena (SHELL).

Across the road to The Oar, a great pub run by the Lifeboat DLA, JP English. Thanks JP, for the home made soup & bread lunch, just what I needed to help me up the climb out of Crosshaven. Good luck and best wishes to all the crew here for a safe season ahead in this busy leisure boating harbour.

Next stop, Kinsale. A relatively young Lifeboat Station by RNLI standards, in the scenic and rich historic setting of Kinsale’s natural harbour. Thanks so much to two long serving, senior Lifeboat men, Robert Acton and Kevin Gould (both DLAs), for turning out on a Saturday afternoon, plying me with gallons of tea, several thick chunks of coffee & walnut cake and a good hour of fascinating and sometimes hilarious debate.

One more leg on this long day to make it a total of 65 miles/ 108Km to Courtmacsherry. After another hour and a half of heavy going and a fast, winding descent, the beautiful Courtmacsherry Harbour was reached. The bright orange lifeboat was tantalisingly close, just a few hundred metres across another long, narrow natural harbour. 20170415_183133But there were a few more miles still to pedal… up, across and back down to Travara Lodge, my bed for the night. But first, refuelling time in the busy Lifeboat Inn, just two doors down. After so much good meat, fish and potatoes over recent days, I thought a more balanced diet is needed this evening. So I went for a salad starter. Warm Clonakilty black pudding and bacon salad, washed down with a pint of something cold and black, followed by code & prawn buttered crumble with chips and more salad on the side. Enough to replace some of the 3,800Kcals that Garmin tells me I burned off today.

And so to sleep.

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