The day after we ate the eight lobsters Hugh and I did the long walk to Kilcrohane. We agreed on the walk towards the end of the evening as with the good food and white wine something to clear the head would be good.
I had to haul myself out of bed in the morning having successfully set the alarm clock. Before putting on my clothes I walked out into the garden to look at the weather. It was grey and overcast but the top of Rosskerring was clear. The walk would be on.
Walking up to Cotton’s Cottage I wandered if he would be up. I suspect he was wandering, perhaps with more justification, if I would be arriving. Having established that we were both awake and that the top of Rosskerrig could no longer be seen because it was obscured by trees we set off.
The first part of the walk was easy going up the hill past Hillcrest Farm and onto the old Kilcrohane Road. We then turned a sharp right and started the steeper ascent.
As we got higher the cloud came down and the light drizzle turned into a heavier rain. We carried on stomping up the hill, following the wooden posts marked with the yellow walking man of The Sheep’s Head Way. We paused at every third or fourth post to get our breathe back and look at the view. As we got higher there was less and less view to look at.
The last few hundred yards to the top felt like hard going. The wind had picked up with the height and it blew the rain hard into our faces so that each drop coming in felt sharp quick prick of a needle. The was a dispiriting feel to the walk at this point as the hill is broken up into a series of ridges. Having got to the top of a ridge there was an immediate and steep drop into a valley before having to make your way up the next ridge. Fortunately the rain eased as we got to the top. The cloud cleared so we could see the valley in which Ahakista lies and the extent to which it runs back into the hills.
We didn’t stop for long but carried to get to the top of Seefin. The way here was slightly confusing and there were a couple of alternative routs which would have taken us back to Ahakista and even the way to Seefin seemed to double back on itself.
Although we were still going up hill the walking was easier. The rain had stopped now but the wind was picking up. The view over Bantry Bay was all but obscured but looking back to Durrus we could just about make out the cut of the fills against the clouds.
At the top of Seefin the wind had gathered itself up into gale. We both lay down under the cairn and closing our eyes it felt as if the whole hill was shuddering with the force of the wind.
We then made our way down to Fin Mac Cool’s seat and the road down to Kilcrohane. The wind was now unnerving. It flattened the grass against the ground and unsteadied our feet as we tried to make our way down. It was strong enough to be able to lean back into it without falling over. I had a hat to hold onto my head which further unbalanced me. The wind was coming hard from the southwest and as we passed over onto the north side of the hill it quietened although we could still hear the noise it made in the grass, a hard angry rustle.
We made it to the road and as we did so the wind eased. The walk down the road was easier than I remembered it from previous times and we got to Eileen’s pub just three hours after we had left the Cottage. Eileen was in there and worried over how wet we looked. We each had a pint to put us right and organized a lift back to Ahakista. Eileen also offered us a lift back.
Rather than wait we finished out pints and started back on the road. We made it almost half way back before a car pulled up to take us back. We should have done it all on foot.