A magic spring morning ride to Brandon.
With the #fitforfeb campaign now history, it’s time to focus on re-discovering the 69 towns and villages of Kerry
After much debating with myself I opted for West Kerry. Admittedly it’s not always a route I’m particular fond of. The main road from Tralee to the Conor Pass seems so straight and bumpy. That is a fact! But when you weigh that against the fact that you have sea on one side and mountain on the other, not to mention the stunning views, it’s better to cast aside the negative and focus on the overwhelming positive.
Anyway it was an early start at about 7.30 with the destinations of Brandon, Cloghane and Castlegregory on the agenda. After the awful cold and windy weather from the previous week, today was without doubt a turning point. Sunshine, clear blue skies, newly born baby lambs in the fields, the daffodils blooming and fresh green shoots of grass poking through the winter mud.
The first 25 km is on the N86 and R560 and offers spectacular views of the Sliabh Mish mountains to the left and Tralee Bay to the right. Personally I think things get better as you leave this road for the Cloghane road. Straight away the road is a bit more narrow, twisting and tighter. You have a lovely natural harbour constantly to you right and fantastic views of Mount Brandon straight ahead and to the left. Before entering the sleepy village of Cloghane there is an adventure over ancient bridges and through wooded forest.
My turning point was the village of Brandon and it’s pier. An exhilarating morning with a calm sun drenched ocean, old men chatting on the pier and the high mountain backdrop. On my return I decided to take a left turn in the village of Stradbally. This takes you towards the beach and Castlegregory golf links. Close to the links you have a fine view of Loch Gill. If you go right at the bridge and keep to the left, you will eventually come to Castlegregory, the gateway to the Maherees. Today the village was sleepy and getting itself ready for the Summer. After a nice coffee and a donut I spun the pedals up the gentle hill and and back onto the main road. Back home to Tralee for lunch.