The Copper Coast

I’d been spoiled with good weather, sunshine and mostly tail winds for the first half of the week. On Wednesday things started to change, the sky now grey and with frequent showers. It wasn’t all bad. I still had the  wind and tide in my favour as I completed the 16km crossing direct from Kilmore Quay to Bagginbun on the Hook peninsula in a couple of hours. There the coastline changes too, with low cliffs and short bays breaking up the coastline, a welcome relief from un-ending sandy beaches.

Some years ago I’d been whale watching here by kayak. On that occasion we saw a humpback quite a distance off-shore at Hook Head, so I kept my eyes peeled. There were folks with binoculars trained on the sea at the lighthouse, but none to see on this occasion.

Passing Hook Head lighthouse

I crossed the wide estuary uneventfully to Dunmore East and briefly explored the harbour. Nice as it was to see some fishing boats, there was actually nowhere easy for a kayak to land and with an oily film of diesel on much of the water it was a bit off-putting. Fortunately just outside the harbour there’s a big concrete slip leading up to the adventure centre. They sell coffee and crisps (and some other things).

Harbour light at Dunmore East

I continued on for another 5km west, around a choppier-than-expect head just outside Dunmore to a handy slip in the middle of nowhere at Ballymacaw. There was a family barbequing on the beach (it wasn’t sunny) and easy camping just behind, if a little squashed onto the only flat patch anywhere nearby. Dinner cooked and eaten, I headed up to to the local pub-cum-shop which I’d been told about at Dunmore!

Choppy water rounding Black Knob / Red Head (Dunmore East)
Sheltered camping at Ballymacaw (5km west of Dunmore East)

Thursday was greyer and really rather wet. In fact it rained almost continuously, but there was no wind. I just about made out the “metal man” atop an old chimney overlooking Tramore Bay and continued with the intention of getting to Dungarvan about 40km west.

Sea arch at St. John’s Island (mid-way between Tramore and Dungarvan)

The scenery was very nice, this is the Copper Coast, but it wasn’t a great day for exploring. Nothing much happened, but it did rain a bit. I stopped short at Clonea, where there’s organised camping, hot showers, a shop, a hotel and that’s about it. After I’d pitched I found the shop closed, the hotel given over as a refugee centre and pouring rain. Well the refugees had a case, but I’d hoped for a pint in a warm place with WiFi! There was just about WiFi chez camping and no mobile signal at all. But the showers were hot and I got special permission to pitch at the front, boat dragging distance from the sea!

Sea view at Clonea Bay, but rather exposed to the wind!

Friday it was wet, but the wind had turned too and was now a force 5 to 6 headwind with more forecast in the coming days. Not wanting to stay exposed to even more wind at the campsite, I decided to cross to the more sheltered Helvick Head and to see how I got on. It was slow going and lumpy, enough to remind me that Helvick Head would be far enough today!

And that’s where I am still (Sunday) waiting for the wind to drop. I had an excursion to Dungarvan yesterday, in the rain, to buy some glue and rope to fix things broken already. Nothing too serious. Did I say about the pump? I bought a new one in Anglesey when I realised mine was at home. I discovered yesterday that it didn’t work! With the power of Facebook I got the word out and friends Willie, Ruth and Pawel delivered me a new one all the way from Tramore, same day. Fantastic!

Glorious sunshine in Dungarvan, after torrential rain!

Talking of which, I’m having a pleasant few days in the Ocean View B&B, whilst the RNLI have again been kind enough to look after my kayak in their boathouse! Nonetheless, I shall be keen to get going again when the wind abates.

Wind stops play. Home for a few days.