The story so far…
We’ve had a pretty horrid day today, more of which later, but safe to say that we have arrived at a B&B with fully functioning internet, so my first duty is to bring you guys up to speed with route stats and photos from yesterday, which if you’ve been paying attention you will know started in Scotland! So first the route:
The first 20k was straight forward enough – just over a bloody great hill and then an easy descent to the ferry terminal at Cairnryan. Two and a half hours later and we were docking in Belfast. It took us a while to navigate our way out of the city, past Stormont and on to Newtownards, and our first visit to a McDonalds of the trip. Coffee and doughnuts and we were off on the final leg, a gentle 30k to Portaferry along the shores of Strangford Lough – or so we thought. As it turned out the weather started to deteriorate as soon as we got on our bikes – first rain and then a stiffening head wind. The road itself was a bit of a nightmare as well – at times it was like cycling around the lanes of the Scilly Isles, but with A47 traffic! We eventually got to the rather grand Portaferry Hotel by 5.30, when the weather started to improve, leaving us with a sunny evening but still with a chilling breeze.
Bryan preparing for departure from the Kings Arms, Ballantrae
On board the Stena line ferry with the Ayr coast in the background
Me, doing a bit of sea watching – mostly watching the sea!
The Belfast city skyline, with the River Laggan in the foreground
Stormont – location of many controversial ‘peace talks’ in the past
The exterior of the rather grand Portaferry Hotel taken from the harbour
The lounge of the Portaferry Hotel
The setting sun over Strangford Lough, taken from across the road from the hotel
….and now, a bath time story – but not one for the children!!
For the first time on this odyssey, as Bryan likes to call it, we arrive at our accommodation and, unlike previous places which have had a perfectly serviceable shower, the Portaferry Hotel had a bath in the room!! I can’t believe my luck – finally a chance to soak my weary limbs in a hot tub. I dump my bags, turn on the taps, get my kit off and run to immerse myself…..only to discover that it’s one of those ‘optical illusion’ models, only about four foot long. What a cruel twist. If you are of a nervous disposition – look away now!
Well that brings you up to date. Todays exploits follow shortly.