I rushed my breakfast in The Celtic Ross Hotel this morning. It was delicious, but the sight of two swans gliding gracefully along the clear water as I looked out from my breakfast table made me impatient to get out on the bike and make the most of my last day in West Cork.
I began with a short 2 kilometre roll down to the pier, beside the estuary that presents itself in front of the hotel. A lone fisherman cast out his line in competition with a few ducks, swans and water hens. This roadway is popular with walkers, joggers and casual cyclists who all enjoy the fresh sea air along with the incredible scenic delights.
A small pier indicates the point of return. A small English registered camper van had set up base for the previous night but there was no sign of life as yet at this hour of the morning.
A return along the same roadway was just as enjoyable before I began my ‘proper’ spin for the day.
Once again, I was immediately on quiet back roads as I left The Celtic Ross in my wake. The roads were deserted and meandered gracefully around twists and turns, up and down.
The road less travelled is always my favourite so a back road, off a back road led me to a short climb that could just as easily be described as a staircase. Luckily the view at the top was worth the effort. On the way down I had to duck under a fence placed across the road to direct cows into a milking parlour. Obviously the farmer wasn’t expecting any traffic, that’s how quiet this road is. A little further on I came across the remains of what must have once been a palatial home.
Now heading in the direction of Glandore once more I detoured into a field to check out the Drombeg stone circle. Worth a look if you are in the area.
Just around the corner I looked out to sea again before rounding the next corner to look down upon Glandore and Union hall.
In Glandore I spotted a sign for The Strand and my curiosity getting the better of me ventured down the narrow path and steep steps to check it out with my bike over my shoulder.
The silence of an unoccupied small inlet, save for the lapping of small waves coming ashore as gently as is possible , was incredibly relaxing. If anyone ever felt a little stressed, then this is the place to come to.
The silence was then disturbed by a soft padding behind me. I turned around to see a black Labrador flick a green tennis ball from his mouth towards my foot. I fell for the bait and threw the ball. Once was not enough for my new friend who was pretty quick at playing fetch.
Back on the road once more I passed the bridge to Union Hall and proceeded on towards Leap. With a large body of water on the left of this inlet and the forested hills across in the distance I was reminded of a smaller version of The Puget Sound up near Seattle in the USA. A planned diversion back inland before Leap went out the window as I wanted to take in every bit of this spectacular part of Ireland.
In the village of Leap itself I turned right onto the main road for a few hundred meters before another right brought me back onto the hilly backroads once more. Save for two tractors I met no other traffic for the next 12 kilometres. The road climbed up high enough to display much of West Cork out before me, before descending back down to sea level at the Celtic Ross Hotel once more.
For a short route this had plenty of challenges to offer along with some stunning scenery. With over 508 meters of climbing it would have a difficulty rating of 5/7 for this distance.
Here is a downloadable map of todays Celtic Ross 26k
Here is todays Strava file
And here is a smartphone downloadable file on mapmyride
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