There is something more to recount from yesterday. Round about 5 o'clock Ken set off from Toormore to finish the designated mileage for the day at Ballycommane, close to Bantry and roughly an hour's ride. I wanted to take some photographs in and around Schull and, as sometimes, or maybe that should read, as usually happens, it took a bit longer than expected. It was nearly 7.00pm when I reached Ballycommane House and to my surprise Ken had not yet arrived.
Bronze Age Altar Wedge Tomb near Schull, Co Cork
I waited for another ten or fifteen minutes and thought I should find out if anything was amiss. It was at this point that I discovered that there is virtually no signal anywhere in Durrus or Ballycommane other than if you climb a tree or go to the top of a substantial hill. I settled for the latter, got a single bar signal and tried to phone Ken. Not even a 'It has not been possible to connect you' - nothing.
'Ah ha', I thought, 'I'll use my recent acquired knowledge of WhatsApp to get him through the web.' Still nothing. I went back into Durrus wondering if he had perhaps missed the turn for the B&B.
The whole story is probably worth putting in another blog on its own and involves a local lady called Theresa and a hotel in Bantry. I've really got your interest now, haven't I?
Ballycommane House and Garden was a sheer delight. Andy and Ingolf, from Germany, bought an old farmhouse and some land around twelve years ago and the transformation has resulted in a exceptional B&B setup.
The amount of detail they go into to make guests welcome is remarkable. This was exemplified at breakfast time this morning when the presentation of the food was such that, long before we touched it, we had eaten it with our eyes. It was really quite something. Another B&B with a hearty recommendation, and not just because they were extremely generous in their contribution to Fields of Life.
Ken leaving Ballycommane House
I left Ballycommane shortly after Ken this morning and on the road into Durrus I met two farmers having a chat on the road - a common enough event you might think. What made the conversation different was the fact that each of them was in the cab of their tractors and there was a queue of five or six vehicles in each direction. It was also fairly clear that the people waiting, evidently patiently, were also farmers who, on previous occasions, had required similarly urgent conversations. I remember John O'Donohue, in one of his books, referring to a similar episode.
For me, the Sheep's Head Peninsula is one of the most beautiful and least known parts of Ireland's west coast. For walkers and cyclists, the facilities are wonderful and the views are never less than remarkable. When we left Duress, Ken took the road on the south side of the loop and I went along the north side. We met up for lunch in The Old Creamery in Kilcrohane, and more about that later.
Gerahies, Sheep's Head Drive
On the way from Castletownbere to Kenmare, where we stay for two nights, we took a fabulous 'long cut' over the Healy Pass where, more years ago then he cares to remember, Ken photographed the Circuit of Ireland Rally.
Ken has a little 'catching up' to do tomorrow but he is pretty well up to where he'd hoped to be at this stage.