It is a long bus ride from the hotel here in Kenmare to the cable car terminus on the mainland for the cable cars that run across the water to the island of Dursey. It took us nearly two hours to make the trip though that did include a stopover in Castltownbere for a rest break. For practical purposes this means we didn’t start our walk until just before 11:00. Perhaps that was a good thing though because by that hour the clouds that had totally obscured any views of the land and sea as we motored along were lifting and things were becoming visible. Steve would lead the harder walkers today. Our group was much smaller consisting of just 6 walkers plus Steve. The longer walk wasn’t much longer than the shorter one: one more hill to climb up and over adding about 2.5km and 150 meters of ascent and descent. It would turn out to be more than worth the extra effort.
The clouds cleared out and Dursey Island gradually appeared in the distance. It was overcast and rather windy with the wind whipping around us at speeds pushing 30MPH. We struck out across the open grasslands that stretched out along the hills wondering why the grass so so short. Soon we saw the small white dots of sheep in the distance and that mystery was solved.
As the clouds blew away the views became better and better and we found ourselves really enjoying the walk as we climbed steadily up the narrow path that wound up past various hilltops towards the final peak. It isn’t terribly tough climbing but sometimes that path does snuggle against the edge and you could feel a bit nervous about that. If the weather had been wet this could be a nasty bit of hiking but even with the very brisk winds it was still a lovely way to start out the hike.
As morning turned to afternoon the temperature steadily rose into the mid-60s and the sun actually managed to burn through the clouds. We had long since picked up where the folks doing the easier walk had already trod. A road walk along a tarmac road that hugged the coast passing alongside never-ending hedges with buttercups, dandelions, foxglove and who knows what else. With the improving conditions, even though the road could feel a bit like a slog as it gradually wound its way up the hills, we thoroughly enjoyed our time outside.
After a couple kilometers we left the tarmac and dirt road for a path that lead us through pastures that were home to mostly sheep and bog cotton. The bog cotton today really did look like cotton and it feels remarkably soft to the touch. We climbed up a hill and soon began descending to get out of the wind. Finding a modest bit of shelter in the lea of some boulders we settled down for a late lunch looking out across the waters towards the village of Alihees. The sun came out and the wind blew but we were happy.
Dropping quickly, and this was a bit steep, off the hill we found a road that would take us a few kilometers more around the bay to more pastureland that would in turn take us to the outskirts of Alihees. We walked into the small village under bright sunshine having completed about 12km of hiking that featured about 320 meters of ascent and descent. Finding the cafe in the Copper Minie Museum was a final wonderful treat. While we did not visit the museum we did settle down to superb slices of lemon cake and chocolate cake. What a nice way to end the hike.
- An overview map showing the route we followed from Dursey Island to Alihes . The route is actually slightly longer than you see on the map because I neglected to start recording at the start: probably lost about 500 meters distance and a modest bit of ascent.
- The clouds are actually clearing out even though it might not look like it as we watch this sailboat pass in front of Dursey Island. Photo by Mom.
- On top of the hills, about 130 meters above our starting point, the weather has temporarily closed in a bit. But this won’t last as we leave the tops and work pour way down the northern sides of the hills towards the sea.
- By this time, about 12:35, you can see just how completely the weather has improved as we look out on the sea looking a bit back from whence we came. We will climb, along roads mostly about 130 meters, into the hills again working our way around the bay to our lunch spot. Photo by Mom.
- Lunch spot. Gazing out across the bay towards our eventual goal: Alihes(Ali-hees ) Village.
- Mom in the cow and sheep pastures. Photo by Dad.
- The pastures outside Alihes. You really do slow down on these manure strewn lumpy ground paths. As you can see the weather has improved quite a beit