Dry land. We’re staying on dry land, Rosana insisted. Sure, lied Dan. Well, not lied exactly, but he had his fingers crossed.
Our fist stop was in Ballinskellig and something we’d seen while looking for a camping spot the previous evening, a chocolate factory. Skelligs Chocolate Factory is located near the coast and as well as offering tasting sessions, provided a great view of the Skellig Islands, certainly a better view than we’d had the day before when we were actually on them. An enthusiastic young chocoholic guided us through the various chocolatey offerings before we settled on some we really liked, rather than liked a lot, or merely just liked. Since we had a working fridge this year we bought a few bags with the intention of bringing them home. One bag even made it that far.
Stopping for lunch and a cup of tea on a lovely sandy beach we considered our next move. Valentia, suggested Dan, leaving off the word ‘Island’. Rosana was immediately suspicious. She was cleverer than that and knew it to be an Island. Ah, but we can get onto the island on the bridge at the southern end, explained Dan, failing to mention the ferry crossing back to the mainland from the Northern end of the Island.
An interesting and pretty place, Valentia Island takes you back though history. Quite a long way back as it happens.
Before we sent satellites to circle the planet, but some time after that era when dinosaurs were masters of the earth, all electronic communication across the atlantic was achieved using some very long strands of copper and Valentia was home to the first permanent communications cable between America and Europe. It was a story of real perseverance and there were a number of failed cable laying projects before a successful link was established. Today the site is marked with a memorial stone.
Speaking of dinosaurs – which we might have been a few seconds ago – if we step back in time a little more, say about 385 million years or so, we would have found little dinosaurs running around the place. Luckily the little critters left their footprints and dragged their tails through the mud to let us know that they’d been there. We’d had the argument before when we visited the Isle of Wight. Rosana didn’t believe that they were dinoprints. Dan will believe anything you tell him about dinosaurs (and still hasn’t forgiven Steven Spielberg over the whole Velociraptor thing). Slightly closer to now a man of science found some holes in the rocks and declared them to be Tetrapod footprints.
Dan saw the holes and agreed, declaring them to be wee footprints left by our prehistoric friends. Rosana declared Dan to be an fool who’ll believe anything you tell him.
The argument raged on to the point that Rosana almost failed to notice the ferry crossing off the island. Back on the mainland we headed a little bit north around the Ring and found a picnic area to camp in. Up half a mile or so of unpaved, potholed, bumpy and suspension killing track, the spot would have been idyllic if not for the midges that descended upon us when the wind dropped.