One morning Kevin, Anna and I got up early and set off to walk to Kilcrohane, over the top of Rosskerrig and Seefin and then down the Goats Path before being picked up again. The last time I had done this walk was also with Kevin, it had been grey and damp with not much to be seen.
This time the sun was clear and bright although there was a breeze that quickened the higher we got. On the road past Hillcrest B&B and then the sharp right turn onto the track that quickly falls away as it goes up the hill and you are on the trail of posts with their yellow walker showing the way. The walk up was easier this time. We took it more slowly not being dragged forward by those fitter than us.
The walk up is a series of ridges a hard slog up and then down again, and then another hard slog up. Each ridge takes you higher and periodically we looked back and could see Kitchen Cove tucked into its corner of the bay, the boats dwindling as we got higher. Ahakista a smudge of green fields in its valley down to the sea. Over another ridge and we could see over the Mizen to the Atlantic, the Fastnet Rock and light rising some 10 – 15 miles away a grey smudge in the white sea. Higher still and the ridges became tighter, the climb up the other side steeper and we paused more often for breath and to look back at the view until finally we were at the top of Rosskerrig.
Here the breeze thickened to a quick wind blowing over the top of the mountain. We could see the green valleys falling away, the farms in the hills and what looked like a dump for used cars and we looked down over the pier and Kitchen Cove. Kevin called Julie on his phone and had her and Andrea come to the end of the pier to wave at us. We could just about see them, like being in a plane that final moment before it reaches into the clouds and the barely made out bones of the earth disappear into the white. They had to stop waving as they spotted our famous neighbour walking his dogs in his garden and he clearly thought they were waving at him.
We carried on the walk. The path to Seefin rises slowly and more easily to the ridge that straddles the whole of the peninsula, the two bays, Bantry to the right and Dunmannus to the left, laid out either side and the hills rolling out to the west. It was clear and blue though the wind now took our breathe away and I had to hold onto my hat as we became exposed on the crest. The last time we had done this walk there was nothing to be seen. Now either side of us the hills ran down to the water, brakish browns and greens scarred with the outcrops of rock, each bay taking on a different shade of light depending on the corner of the eye that caught it, Dunmanus silver and sharp, Bantry a deeper and forbidding grey even under the clear sky. The path kept skirting around the crest of the hill favouring the south side for a hundred yards or so and then the north side as if it also was trying to take some shelter from the wind until gently it wound to the top of Seefin.
Anna climbed to the top of the survey post and the wind try to buffet her down. We were at the top of the peninsula, at the old man’s seat from where he could look around and survey the full reach of his sea and land. There was no quiet in the wind. Over the Mizen the sea seemed to disappear into light. The islands in Dunmannus Bay were smudges of black against the silver, the distances and extremes distorted and seemed as nothing. The Mizen a thin finger of land stretching out to the sea and the granite lump of Knockmardree reduced to a kink in the landscape.