South coast paddling

Ive been fairly busy since my last post, doing a range of work for tollymore and mountain sojourns, however last week, I had a few days off so decided to get away for a bit of an adventure! The weather wasn’t looking great, with reasonably strong winds blowing in from the northwest, so we decided to head for the south coast. This gave us the best chance of finding some shelter, but was also somewhere that I had never been before.
We set off on Monday morning, heading for cork, then on to roaring water bay. This is an area that definitely does not live up to its name, as your can paddle hear in almost any conditions and still find shelter.
By the time we were ready to get on the water it was almost 8pm, so we opted for the reasonably short paddle out to castle island, where we spent our first night. Tuesday saw us back on the water and heading for Clear island, the most southerly inhabited island in Ireland. We spent a lot of time exploring the coastlines of all the islands we passed on the way, finding lots of great caves and little secluded coves to have a look at. When we eventually arrived at Clear island, we set up camp at the south harbour and after a bit of a walk around the place and some food, we headed for a well earned pint.
Although the paddling of the previous two days had been really enjoyable, we hadn’t covered a huge amount of distance (too much time spent exploring!) so Wednesday was our big push, with 35km between us and our next intended camp site. The weather was fantastic, sunshine, light winds and a sea like a big sheet of glass. This meant that we could get out and away form the coast, allowing us to get assistance from the tide, and also travel in straight lines, linking up the headlands, rather than follow the twists and turns of the coastline. Even though we had pretty long day, it was a fantastic paddle and we saw some amazing sights along the way. We stumbled upon and otter feeding on a fish right beside the sea, a cave over 200m long with an exit at the other end allowing you to paddle the whole way through. We also saw five or six seal pups that came right up to our boats, and in the crystal clear water we could watch them swim underneath the boats, and staring up at us.
Eventually we arrived at our final campsite, and from there we would head on the next morning, to paddle the remaining few km’s to union hall, where we had left another car. Our wee four day exped had come to an end, and reluctantly we got off the water to pack up for the journey home. It was a great little trip, in which we managed to cover 60km’s of amazing coastline in a fantastic area, and far from being glad to be off the water, most of the way home was spent discussing where the next trip would be!

Finally on the water after 350miles of driving

Striking camp on tuesday morning
Mikey exploring one of the many caves we came across

Looking out into Roaring water bay, from the middle calf island

Carnage at the campsite!

The last bit of exploring after our big day on wednesday

Approaching our final campsite

Team photo in union hall
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