Sunday, 18 June 2017


The Beara Peninsula is in the far south west of Ireland. It is an area of wild beauty surrounded on three sides by the sea with the Slieve Miskish Mountains as its core. It is thought to be the warmest and most romantic part of Ireland. Among the things you should know are that the Mare's Tail is the highest waterfall in Ireland and Berehaven is the second safest natural harbour in the World with 7 miles of safe anchorage. Castletownbere, its main town, is the largest white fish port in Ireland.

The Beara Way Cycle Route is signed and 138km long. For the most part it is on safe quiet roads. The route varies from being flat in places to having challenging hills on others. The north and west coasts in particular have hills around every corner but the rugged coastal scenery make every rotation of the pedals feel worthwhile as if expecting something new each time.

At one moment, I found a hare running in front of me. On another, I could hear the sound of the sea over 1km away yet the only other sound was the lowing of cattle but there was no other noise. Beside the sea, there were gannets diving and I could see shoals of fish in the crystal clear water. 

I have been here twice and on each occasion, there were very few motorists and many coffee stops. The colourful little villages were competing with one another to be the tidiest place and local people always give a welcome asking how are you.

There is more to see on this route as many cyclists come to climb the Healy Pass while there are numerous little side roads that disappear off only to reappear beside a cove with perhaps a jetty or beach.  

For another view of this route, this is a link.  The image above is the Healy Pass and below are a few around the coast:

View from the copper coast:

Eyeries main street:

Castletownbere trawlers:

Cyclist climbing the Healy Pass:

The north coast road with the Kenmare estuary on the right

I stayed in Castletownbere and used this a base for short tours cycling between 25 to 40 miles per trip.

Friday, 9 June 2017


June is the month that I join Devon Wildlife Trust for 30 Days Wild. This is its third year and it is a month long nature challenge to see if it is possible to do something wild every day. Living in Devon, this is not difficult and I use my bike wherever possible. It has been wild and windy for many of the first few days and here is my diary:

The month started with a bike ride to  Brent Tor 4 miles north of Tavistock accompanied by two friends where we found a church sitting precariously on top of a hill having astonishing views over Dartmoor. It was only possible to walk to it through some beautiful wild flower meadows to reach it. 

Another bike ride followed on Sunday where I was the guide for a 50 mile cycle tour around Dartmoor. I had 14 cyclists with me. The ride started by exploring the beautiful southern foothills then turned sharp left to climb onto the high moors and back again. We discovered ancient woodlands, fast flowing rivers, rugged granite tors and fine open moorland.

Near my home, I found beautiful ragged robin flowers in full bloom, see a fox, discover a recently built nest, watch a mother canada goose and five chicks.

I will continue with my 30 Days Wild tomorrow and hopefully see much more of nature's bounty