Mizen Head to Castletownbere

Day 110, Tues 18 April

From the end of the long Mizen peninsula, back eastwards along the northern edge, with views of the other side of Mount Gabriel, around Dunmanus and Bantry Bays, via Bantry Town and Glengarriff, then west again along the Ring of Beara to Castletownbere.  The geography is becoming more like the north west of Scotland. Dramatic views ahead and to the right, with the dark and rugged Slieve Miskish mountain tops slowly disappearing into thickening cloud. My climbing statistics are increasing impressively, along with a slight drop in average speed! The reward of each climb seems to improve in proportion to the height gained and effort needed to crest each brow. Thankfully, the cloud-base is still too high to obscure the stunning views back across Bantry Bay towards Sheep’s Head.

Castletownbere Lifeboat Station is relatively new to the RNLI, established in the late 1990s with on old but well loved Arun Class Lifeboat. This was then replaced in 2004 by a brand new Severn Class, the Annette Hutton and a fine new Shore Facility was built in 2014.

Many thanks to Brian (Cox’n), Marney (Mech) and Michael (RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager for Cork) for a great welcome.

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Thanks again Brian and all at the Castletownbere Lifeboat Station for the extremely kind and generous insistence in arranging my accommodation at a fine local hotel.  Thanks also to Michael, Brian, Marney, Tony, Paul, Felix, Martin and Dave for the invitation to sit in on the ALM’s evening meeting. More later, on this unique opportunity to understand the many elements of running a modern Lifeboat Station.

But for now, I’ll end with one of the local tales from Brian & Marney’s repertoire:

An American tourist sitting in a Castletownbere bar, sipping his first pint of Guinness, watches a couple of local fishermen approach the bar after a long day at sea. They pick up their beers and knock them back in just a few seconds. Down in one. “Gee!” says the American. After a brief chat about the beer and their thirst, the visitor lays down a challenge. “If you guys can drink 10 of those in 30 minutes, I’ll pay for the beers and give you €100 each.”    The two local lads have a quiet consultation and reply “Ok. We just have to nip out for half an hour first”

Half an hour passes, they return in good spirit, ready for the challenge. The beers are lined up. Ten pints each, knocked back well within the time. The American, in awe, pays up. “Gee fellas, I’m impressed. But tell me, where did you go for the half hour before you returned?”

“Well,” one of them replied “we just went to the pub away down the road to be sure we could do it.”

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