Cahersiveen to Waterville
Cahersiveen is some way off the main Kerry Way so I get a lift to Cours where the way crosses a road. It’s a cool hazy morning with thin cloud hugging the higher peaks as I climb over a ladder stile.
There are rocky outcrops ahead. I scramble up the crags, wet and slippy, challenging my knees. Once up, and for the next 5 kilometres or so, the route rises and falls along an undulating ridge, getting steadily higher from crest to crest. It’s like walking along the spine of a mythical serpent, one hump after another.
The serpent has slimy skin: slippy, squelchy, boot-sucking bog. The going is slow. Every step needs care to avoid the deeper bog-holes that can sink half a leg or more. Avoiding the bright green sphagnum pools requires meandering detours. Some of the worst sections have wood or rock stepping stones but many are submerged and often don’t actually reach the other side.
But the views are worth it. Four behemoth wind turbines turn lazily below me. Drung and the hills I came over yesterday frame a wide valley, much if it covered by flat brown fields cut for turf.
After two hours, the going has been so slow that I have covered little distance. I take a break on what looks like a pair of cairns with a small stone circle nearby but there’s nothing marked on my map.
After the final hump on the serpent’s back I start down it’s tail. Fresh cowpats and hoofprints signal the presence of cattle and there they are, a small herd sitting right on my path around a standing stone, chewing the cud. They watch me and I watch them as I skirt around to rejoin the track that leads steeply down through a farmyard and onto the road.
There is a choice of two routes through Mastergeehy, I opt for the shorter one and turn right along the small road.
A sadly derelict old school building sits at the crossroads by the Post Office at Mastergeehy. 1 It’s Sunday so the office is closed but the postmistress readily agrees to fill my water bottle because despite the wetness on the hill there has been no flowing water to filter today.
I climb out of the valley past the church, now a home, and up a steep boreen. More cattle block my way and with nowhere else to go they walk slowly ahead as I approach . Eventually they find a place to turn off to let me pass.
I stop for lunch at a stile at the top of the track: two oatmeal scones I bought in Cahersiveen, some cheese and fruit from this morning’s breakfast buffet and a glorious view back across the Inny valley.
The Kerry Way divides here, one fork on a very long route to Caherdaniel, the other along the 5.5km (3.5 miles) Termons ridge to Waterville.
The ridge is another switchback of boggy ground, not steep but cold in the wind blowing in from the coast and too many ladder stiles. By now I have had enough of the boggy conditions and I don’t enjoy this section, pressing on as quickly as possible, but seeming to take forever, towards the small town of Waterville standing between Lough Currane and the wide Ballinskelligs Bay.
Entering Waterville is quite a change. Lines of pink and cream bungalows, each with a ‘standing stone’ on their nice lawn. The stones get progressively taller in what looks like a ‘mine is bigger than yours’ competition.
Clifford’s Ocean View B&B is at the end of the long line of buildings facing out over the bay past statues of Charlie Chaplin and Mick O’Dwyer, one a regular visitor, the other a sporting legend. I let myself in as instructed and later eat at the Lobster Bar.
About the route
This was a less than pleasant walk in the boggy conditions and I didn’t enjoy it as much as it deserves. Tiredness was on me today but after a short route along the coast to Cahersiveen tomorrow, I have a rest day.
18.5km (11.5 miles) in 6.5 hours. Total ascent: 763m. Max. elevation: 363m