Leaving the Celtic Ross Hotel this morning I had two choices. I could turn left, inland towards Dunmanway or I could cross the causeway, turn right and make my way along the coast. Checking the forecast informed me that the day would begin overcast and clear later, so I turned left and inland.
In this part of the country once you begin at sea level there is only one way the road will go, and that is up. The first fifteen kilometres or so were mostly uphill on the road to Dunmanway. However the surface was good and the traffic was almost nonexistant. It was so sparse that I began to count. In forty minutes I met two cars, one van and a tractor with a quad in the trailer behind. This is a safe, quiet road.
My planned route veered right in the picturesque Dunmanway. For the next twelve kilometres or so I was on a busier main road. Busier, rather than actually busy.
The twin villages of Ballineen and Enniskean were my way point for turning right, back onto a quieter road once more. Then a left turn brought me into the hills far away from all signs of traffic bar the odd sheep or cow.
The crossroads of Ballinascarty produced an interesting piece of memoribillia. A bright shiney stainless steel replica of a model T Ford caught my eye and I went to take a look. It turns out that William Ford, the father of Henry Ford left this crossroads back in 1846 in a horse drawn carriage bound for a boat that would take him, his parents and siblings on a one way trip to America.
William’s son Henry built his own motor car. Then he teamed up with a racing cyclist called Tom Cooper to build an 80 Horsepower racing car which actually won a race.
Now he had a taste for success and set about building an affordable car for the masses and the Model T was born. The rest, they say is history but an interesting insight into Henry Fords determination and desire for success can be found in this story.
When the Ford motor company was up and running he called his engineers into his office one day and asked them to design an eight cylinder engine cast out of one solid block. The engineers, who were the best in their field told him that it was not possible. Fords’ reply was that he did not care if it was possible or not, just do it. The engineers went away and after many failures Ford got his way and they succeeded. This determination and persistence played a big part in the success of Henry Ford.
Back on the bike I headed cross country once more towards Timoleague. Another picture perfect part of West Cork and the location for my joining The Wild Atlantic Way again.
A footpath/cyclepath joins Timoleague to Courtmacsherry and on a day like today is one of the most beautiful places on earth to ride a bike.
It was now approaching lunchtime so I was on the lookout for a coffee stop. A sign for the golden pheasant cafe caught my eye and I rolled in through the garden entrance. This is one of the most incredible cafes that I have visited. It is a cafe, a gift shop, a garden walk and an avery all rolled into one. I sat outside soaking up the surroundings and enjoyed every minute of it.
Coffee break over it was time to get back on the bike and ride the roller coaster up and downs of the coastal road towards Clonakilty. Again the traffic was almost non existent and I met as many people out picking blackberries as I did cars or vans.
I found a pub with my name on it, but didn’t venture inside. The flat harbour road route to Clonakilty was more appealing.
Skirting Clonakilty I was soon back on a road with a constant sea view out to my left. I wondered to myself if passengers on the QE2 would have seen as much of the ocean as I did today.
A steady stream of picturesque coves, inlets and beaches culminated in ‘The Long Strand’ just three kilometres from my return to the Celtic Ross Hotel. The water looked so clear that I was tempted to go for a swim in my Assos shorts. I thought the better of it though and just took a photo instead.
Back at the hotel I bumped into a group of English motorists in some beautiful classic convertibles. They too had travelled along The Wild Atlantic Way today. Their total distance for the day was just over sixty one miles. I had travelled further on my bike 🙂
Here is a downloadable map of todays Celtic Ross 111k
Here is todays Strava file
And here is a smartphone downloadable file on mapmyride
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