If you were to drive from Inishturk to Kilbaha, it would take according to Google about four hours and distance of at least 267 kilometres. It would also require taking a ferry from Inishturk to Ronagh Quay, and to go on few motorways. If one was to walk this route it would be about 206 kilometres, with one ferry to Ronagh Quay, and then one from Rosaweer to Inishveer and from Inisheer to Doolin. We did go from Inishturk to Kilbaha, however obviously not by land but by sea. I don’t know how many kilometres that really was, yet it seemed to be a long way over few days.
We left Inishturk after nice evening in local community centre. We liked Inishturk, it has been inhabited since early times. We stopped in the harbour of Port an Dun, a natural harbour used by first settlers and many after. During our stay here we met here a group of people from Inishbofin, who liked it here as well and came for a day trip. They told us that if we were to pass Inishturk on our way south, we should stop for tea in their house by the flagpole.
We paddled over to a Inishbofin and indeed happen to land next to a flag pole, which actually ended up being the flag pole. We visited Rachel and Malcolm, who live here, and their friends. What a great stop this was, Lindsey got tea, and ai got coffee. They also came to help us with the boats as tide was running out of the bay quickly. We were quite worried about having to carry them long way after our stop, so declined any offers of longer stay, so
Rachel prepared cheese sandwiches for us, all wrapped up for our long journey. We launched, waved, turned around the first set of rocks, and once out of view ate them all at once.
The sandwiches were so loaded and delicious that they gave us enough power to cross straight to Slyne Head, one of the many headlands on our way south. The day turned hot to the point that at lunchtime I couldn’t resist a swim, the sandy bay just looked too inviting. We continued further, we were on a mission. Rachel told us about the most amazing banana cake to be had on Inishmaan, and we wanted that. We flew past Connemara, made a brief overnight stop, and next day crossed to Aran Isles. Our plan was to lunch on the first one, have cake on the middle one, and perhaps quick stop on the smallest one. However, we ended up staying on Inishmaan, the middle one. Two days Lindsey and I were entertaining ourselves with the idea of banana cake on Inishmaan, it helped us to paddle late into the evening, to cross, to continue to the east of Inishmaan.
Only when we landed we found out that the cake shop up is shut on Thursdays. Never mind, at least we were in good position to cross the following day towards the cliffs of Moher and beyond.
Cliffs of Moher, up to 214 metres high, but we didn’t see any of that starting our crossing on a bearing only due to fog. The day was long, we passed the cliffs, crossed several bays, passed Morton Island. That one had a impressive napoleonic lookout tower on. Our landing wasn’t the most exciting one, but in the end the steep single wall provided straightforward haul of the boats up beyond high water mark, and launch, and in the end the shingles once we removed the big boulders were quite comfortable to sleep on.
Our next and final leg of this mission was today. We wanted to get around Loop Head ready for Shannon the following day. According to Oileáin, the Irish Sea kayaking guidebook, this stretch is the most committing one on the West coast. Yes, it looked like tens of kilometres of cliffs with a headland at the end. And for us, the weather had something special, it decided we have to do it on a bearing mainly hiding the cliffs behind low clouds. At the start especially, then they were appearing and disappearing until the head itself.
On the other side it was different story, swelly turbulent sea was replaced by smooth waters, clouds by sunshine. We pushed all the way to Kilbaha mainly for its name, but the promise of a pub, too. It is time for tea and coffee after all.