In the second part of his photo essay of a bicycle ride through the lanes of his beloved West Cork, André Jute shares his memories of the return from Kilmacsimon Quay to Bandon by a different scenic route.
Bicycling from Kilmacsimon Quay to Bandon
a photo essay by André Jute
The journey from Bandon to Kilmacsimon Quay is here. This is the return journey.
Here we are at Kilmacsimon Quay, Country Cork, Ireland, about to eat lunch. This is the estuary of the River Bandon, looking downstream towards Kinsale on the Irish Channel.
The tributary of the estuary at low tide, with appropriate debris. The view from a few yards inside the driveway of the house of the famed yacht designer Ron Holland.
Looking back towards Kilmacsimon Quay from the road towards Innishannon.
There are no ancient forests in Ireland; whatever trees you see
are deliberate plantings.
The road winds along the river. Gorse is pretty from afar and even prettier from close up, as long as you don't touch it with either your skin or your clothes: it has nasty thorns. Walk around it and don't cycle carelessly enough to fall into the gorse and ruin your day.
Two fortunate little girls' ponies and the road winding on pleasantly. This road carries a good bit of traffic but it is too winding for cars to speed and one often sees other cyclists who chose it for that reason.
Here and there you can catch a lovely glimpse of the river through the trees but most of the time the trees are too thick and you merely hear the river.
A romantic teenager told me this is a wild countryside. Actually, you're never more than ten minutes' on foot from the nearest house.
Looking downstream from another favourite stopping place. This is about as far up the estuary as any kind of substantial vessel can come at high tide.
Innishannon lies at the end of this road along the river.. But then the direct route between Innishannon and Bandon is a piece of fast road that is unpleasant at its ends for cyclists. There is a safe path alongside that road, but it runs only part of the way. So I normally return to Bandon by one of three roads that turn away from the river. This is the first and my favourite.
Through the branches of the tree in the previous picture. These photographs were taken fitteen feet and two days apart. The weather in Ireland is never as bad as it looks -- you can go out in all weathers except the rare storm and return only mildly damp -- but it is changeable. A cyclist should carry a light showerproof jacket or at least a sweater.
There are enough trees on the least travelled of the three cycle-safe return roads to give the illustion of a small forest. I once met a huge car transporter truck on this road; the driver was from Holland and made a detour on his delivery every week in order to enjoy the peace here.
There is no reason you shouldn't get off your bike and walk up the hill. Mind the gorse. As long as you don't wreck his fences or bother his animals, and close all gates behind you, most farmers don't mind a couple or a handful of people walking across his land. These are the only signs at the crossroads beyond the lane through the trees, pointers to two convenient guest houses. At this point you really need a map, or to stop a passing car or to ask at a farmhouse.
The road not taken. When we rode from Bandon to Kilmacsion Quay, we several times had the choice of taking a shortcut home, usually over a sharp hill. That's it there, seen from the back, with a little piece of road visible. In fact, we're in the middle of a spiderweb of roads and lanes here but you need local knowledge or a map to discover it because the roads and lanes are hidden in folds of the land or behnd hedgerows.
The yellow stuff may be rape, grown for cattle feed; I'm no countryman, I just live in the country. The clover leaf is the symbol of a government-inspected guest house, which is cheaper and usually more pleasant to stay at than a hotel. This is the guest house the roadsign a mile or so back pointed to. It is a gentle eight minute cycle from the centre of Bandon.
You're not hallucinating. That is not a telephone box left by Dr Who (British low-budget scifi cult television series character). It stands on a working farm, though the phone itself doesn't work.
Closer and closer. It is still real. I touched it and photographed it.
More yellow stuff. Looking back: here one of the parallel roads we could also have taken joins the one we did take.
Everywhere in West Cork the photographer finds the most interesting trees, sentinels against the skyline. In a car you would miss seeing many of them, or not have an opportunity to stop and photograph them.
This is Bandon. An anticlimactic traffic jam which I simply rode past on my bike.
Back home. Flowers arrangements Roz made for the stairwell landings in our house while I was out riding: all the beauty isn't in the countryside!
•André Jute’s most recent book on aesthetics in action is
Grids: the structure of graphic design (Rotovision, Switzerland).
All text and illustration Copyright © Andre Jute