5 July 2010
Fred and I got up early and humped our gear down to the dining room. While I was writing postcards, drinking a cup of coffee out of an awesome Batman mug I found in the dish cupboard and worrying about the retired Belgian Army beating us out onto the trail Fred was using band-aids and moleskin in some ingenious combination that I wouldn't have dreamed of in a thousand years.
It was a drier morning than the other two and we were in good spirits as we headed up the road from the hostel. We had planned to do 17 miles and we were both nervous about the distance--neither of us had done such a long day before. But, we had all day and nothing else to do but walk.
Shortly after leaving the hostel we passed a famous pottery shop (Louis Mulcahy Pottery). The guide book promised coffee in the cafe, but we were passing by an hour before opening and didn't feel like taking a break yet. We dropped down over some dunes and passed the beach where Tom Cruise once stood--they filmed Far and Away on Dingle. Fred and I took a picture, but neither of us had ever seen the movie, so we weren't too impressed.
We ambled over beaches and fields for the rest of the day. Around the town of Ballynagall, after we'd walked the square of Smerwick Harbor we crossed a few creeks headed to the bay that were full of giant scallop shells. I tossed a couple into my backpack for souvenirs. In town we stopped at the Post to buy some Cokes and candy bars. Fred was looking for more moleskin, he'd already gone through my whole supply. Irish Posts have pretty much anything you could want (including fresh baked bread) but sadly no moleskin. The Belgian Army was there when we pulled up.
The rest of the day was a blur of wet feet and road walking. We missed a crucial turn around Feonagh and accidentally headed east up a road off the Dingle Way. By the time we figured out our mistake and made our way back to the Dingle Way we'd added a few extra miles onto our trip. Around 5pm we were nearing our critical exhaustion point and passed a Bed and Breakfast. Rooms were 80 euros a night, way beyond our budget so we pressed on.
When we reached what looked like the last house on earth, right at the base of Brandon Mountain we hollered over a high wall into a paddock where a man was working on a tractor. Fred asked him if we could camp in his yard. He seemed a bit put off--maybe by our forward desperation, but he offered us a small private corral for ourselves and even showed us where the spigot was.
I hung my socks on the fence, spent some time lamenting my sore feet and discussing nutrition with Fred. Based on his calculations and the assumption of 10% efficiency of human metabolism coupled with the force it takes to move our weight a certain vertical distance (not accounting for horizontal distance) he figured we needed only 97 calories to power us over the mountain in the morning. I scoffed and had a second helping of our gourmet trail dinner--rice and cheese.
We kicked the sheep droppings out of the way, dodged the 3 foot high thistles and settled down for the night after watching some tv on the ipad. Luxury camping.