The delicious steak dinner we ate the previous night was followed by an overly large Traditional Irish Breakfast in the morning. Freshly squeezed orange juice was the highlight of this meal! Not to mention the canine companion, Scruffy, who joined us periodically throughout the meal. Thankfully breakfast was served later, at 9:00, so we were able to sleep in an extra half an hour. I had set an alarm as a precaution but it was, once again, necessary. We’ve been sleeping close to ten hours a night and yet it still doesn’t always feel like enough. Our eyes droop as we dig in to the meals laid before us each morning.
When our alarm went off at 8:30 the sky was mostly cloudy but no rain. As we packed our bags for the day’s journey it began to rain softly. We geared up in rain jackets and rain pants and covered our packs with our waterproof pack covers. Our B&B was located less then a half mile off The Kerry Way so we returned to the road that had been the bane of our existence the previous day. However, we weren’t allowed to leave until our hostess, Breda, had insisted that we take along some snacks for the journey. We weren’t sure why she gave us this special treatment, or even if it was special, could it have been because of our age, or possibly because we were the only ones who had stayed at the inn that night. We just don’t know… But we couldn’t refuse her.
Today’s hike is the shortest and easiest of them all, thankfully! The trail followed a back road where we encountered minor traffic and a larger group of German Way hikers. We left the road to begin walking along a paved farm road. The pavement ended as the trail became steeper and we were soon on a rocky old farm road. We were traveling through sheep pastures once again and were ever mindful of closing the gates behind us. Today’s hike did have an option of the direct route, which we took through the Windy Gap that was recently added to The Kerry Way in 2010, or you could take the “scenic route” that would add on an additional eleven miles. The scenic route circumnavigated a mountain, while the Windy Gap took you up through a saddle between two mountains. Yesterday Bobby had briefly mentioned wanting to do the scenic route. I had laughed in his face. Today he felt much differently as we huffed and puffed up the somewhat steep trail. Although the elevation gain was minor, around 1,200 feet our sore legs were definitely feeling the burn!
A slight drizzle became our constant companion for the day but it was never bothersome. Bobby was so warm that he opted to remove all his rain gear and he wasn’t that wet upon reaching our B&B for the night. We stopped for a snack after having crested the saddle and beginning our descent into the valley. There was a bench at an opportune spot where we laid out my rain pants to sit upon and have a little bite. Though it was close to noon the large, late breakfast we had had that morning was doing a good job of keeping us full. We didn’t get bag lunches from the B&B because the hike is so short and restaurants were available at Glenbeigh, our destination for the day.
This hike ended much the same as the other two days, with a road hike into the town. Although this hike did have the added attractions of the odd plant life that lined the road not to mention the incredibly nice homes! As we entered the town center we couldn’t believe the number of cars lining the tiny lane we were walking down. We got stuck hiding in the hedges along the side of the road as five or six cars took turn going down the road. It was a squeeze! I had wondered briefly if it was Sunday and if there wasn’t a church nearby. But then I realized that it is Saturday and that yes there was a church nearby so maybe it was a wedding. People began to spill from the church as we passed and we soon realized that it was First Communion.
It was a bit passed 12:30 and our B&B – The Village House – looked closed. We decided to find some lunch before bothering our next hosts by requesting our room ridiculously early. We went to the nearest (and turns out only) pub in town for a bite to eat and a pint. The locals, having completed First Communion, were flocking to the pub for celebratory drinks. We ordered a coke, a pint, and some sandwiches. It was wonderful to not have to eat a crappy cheese sandwich for lunch (the usual packed lunch we are to expect along the way). The highlight of the meal was when a sheep dog came out from behind the bar and wandered from table to table saying hello. It was pretty fantastic!
We checked into our B&B after lunch and were shocked to hear that there was no ATM in town and that they don’t take credit cards. Our cash supply was seriously low and we knew we didn’t have enough to pay for the B&B the next morning. Panic set in. Our hostess explained that we could return to the pub we had just eaten lunch at and order a pint and request cash back when paying for the bill. We decided to take a quick nap and then head out and figure out this whole cash situation. Bobby was pretty worried about it but I was confident that it would all work out!
After a brief snooze we headed to the small grocers in town and double checked to make sure there was no ATM. Then we learned we could get cash back there if we spent a minimum of 10€. We loaded our arms with chocolate and biscuits and then the cashier informed us that our cards wouldn’t work. We left empty handed and heavy hearted. Concerned that our cards wouldn’t work at the pub Bobby really began to panic. He was talking wildly of catching a bus to the larger town that wasn’t far away. I decided to stop into the pub we had just eaten at and see if they could help. Indeed they could! The barman was exceptionally helpful! He didn’t make us order anything and allowed us to get 100€ cash! When we mentioned how nervous we had gotten he reined cheerily, “Yeah, it’s a bit of a disaster really, not having an ATM. The grocer used to have one but it broke and they never bothered to get it fixed.” We returned to our room with lighter hearts and the knowledge that we would be eating at that same pub for dinner not only because of their kindness and understanding, but also because it was the only affordable restaurant in town! We spent the rest of the afternoon napping on and off and watching Babe on our iPad. While the our room does have a tv it doesn’t work… This is the cheapest B&B we are staying at and it’s pretty obvious why it’s so cheap. But, it’s a warm bed and a hot shower and what more could we really ask for?
Tomorrow is looking like a rainy day and we have a long way to go. Thankfully this B&B starts serving breakfast at 8:00 so we’ll be able to get a bit of an earlier start. The guidebook calls for a 19 mile day tomorrow but, thankfully the B&B I happened to pick is only about 15 miles from here! The town with the next available accommodations is actually a five mile road walk off of the way which is what would make the day 19 miles in length. Since our B&B is well before the town we needn’t worry about that section of trail tomorrow or the next day!
In 2013 we hiked The Kerry Way over a 10 day period (we had 2 rest days). Read all of the posts in this series: