Kilbaha to Doonbeg – 45 kms
After our retreat from Loop Head a couple of days ago we spent yesterday morning weighing up the pros and cons of trying again. The weather was pretty much the same and it was always going to be a hard slog. However, the main event of yesterday was that my wife Wendy and our friend Fiona were visiting from Edinburgh. They had travelled by car and had brought supplies, replacement parts and loads of goodies from respective partners back home.
I’m sure we’d pretty much made up our minds about paddling before we piled into the car for the short drive out to Loop Head lighthouse to view the sea conditions. It was easy to convince ourselves to await the better conditions forecast for tomorrow.
After a big Full Irish breakfast the very friendly proprietors and staff at Keating’s of Kilbaha were happy to welcome two more temporary residents to their impromptu back garden campsite. We were now free to spend the rest of the day shopping, eating and sightseeing by car.
We were on the water early today to make the most of the good conditions. Loop Head was tamed and we were on up to the Bridges of Ross within a couple of hours of setting off. As we pulled into the bay north of the one remaining natural bridge we were greeted by Wendy and Fiona waving flags (the Lone Star of Texas State and the Saltire of Scotland). We were to see them again a few hours later high on the cliffs above us as we approached Kilkee.
For us it was heads down to get the mileage in. Straight past Kilkee on to Doonbeg where we’d arranged a campsite spot in advance while out in the car yesterday. The Strand Campsite is ideal for paddlers as it is situated just across a small road from the bay… assuming you have arranged for high water as well. We arrived a couple of hours before HW and had to walk our kayaks a few hundred yards up a small stream before getting them over the road. It was well worth the effort though as the campsite had all the facilities we could wish for – showers, washing machines, phone charging and flat grass camping next to a covered picnic table and cooking area.
We retired cleaner and happier tonight knowing that another of the challenging headlands was behind us.