The Fastnet Trails are a developing network of waymarked routes on the Mizen Peninsular in West Cork. Currently there are seven trailheads at Lisheen, Kilcoe, Ballydehob, Schull, Colla/Long Island, Toormore and Goleen providing loop and linear walks. An interactive map is available online based on a large wall map in the Bank House Ballydehob which I drew the illustrations for. The Bank House acts as a seasonal tourist centre.
The Gorttyowen Loop (Gort Tí Eoghain – Field of Owen’s House) starts at the Toormore trailhead which is by Altar Church (Teampall na mBocht – Church of the Poor) on the R592. The little church has a fascinating history, described by Finola Finlay on her blog: Roaring Water Journal: Saints and Soupers.
Herself and I went to Toormore on one of those crisp, clear, calm Autumn days that are perfect for walking. I won’t describe the route step by step because the Fastnet Trails website does a good job of that (See link below), but here are some brief highlights…
- The grassy track that rises gently beside the church alongside a small river cascading down towards the sea over rocky outcrops shaded by lichen-covered oaks that look as if they had been there forever.
- The romantically overgrown little bridge spanning the river at the top of the track,
- The small lanes with ample grass in the centre for softer walking,
- The route through the fields, newly fenced to avoid cattle,
- The views across Dunmanus Bay to the Sheep’s Head from the highest point on the route in Arderrawinny (Ard Doire Mhuine: Height of the Oak Thicket),
- The ruined house near the turn back down the track.
About the route
An easy route with great views across to the Sheep’s Head and along the Mizen, passing along small lanes and tracks and through fields thoughtfully fenced off from cattle.