It was obvious from the moment we woke that today was not going to be pleasant! One look out of the hotel window and we could see the leaden skies, the rain on the pavement and the wind bending the tops of the trees. We watched the ferry cross Strangford Lough a couple of times whilst we had a leisurely breakfast – putting off our departure as long as we dared. We’d already reviewed our route and considered a number of options – agreeing that our proposed night time stop at Blackrock, south of Dundalk, was a little unrealistic. We decided to follow the original coastal route to Clough, a distance of about 22 miles. It was raining steadily and there was a stiff cross wind all the way to Ardglas where a slight change of direction eased things for the run in to Clough – a rather drab urbanised road junction. Our salvation came in the form of the Eurospar, which had all manner of facilities – toilets, an endless supply of coffee and cheesey chips and they didn’t mind us quietly dripping in the corner! It didn’t take much at this point to decide to abandon the original costal route to Newry, instead opting for the straight line option via the two ‘hill towns’ of Castlewellan and Rathfriland, each with ‘lung-busting’ up-hill approaches of epic proportions, a distance of 25 miles. The weather for this leg was variable, from sustained to torrential rain! We arrived at our hastily rearranged B&B (thanks again to Jane at ‘mission control’) at about 3.30 and spent the next two hours drying off practically everything in our possession. For route/stats see below:
One look out of the hotel window and we knew today was not going to be pleasant.
Bry and bikes on the Portaferry to Strangford ferry, which requires a phenomenally skilful bit of steering to negotiate the fierce tides
Along the salt sea strand … This bit of beach did produce our only two trip ticks – Turnstone and Pale-bellied Brent Goose…nice!
The Eurospar at Clough, comes highly recommended in adverse weather conditions (probably OK when fine too!)
I’m really enjoying this Bry – thanks for inviting me along!
..and the views of the Mourne mountains are to die for (and we nearly did!)
Four miles to Newry, and things couldn’t get worse….or could they – a thunder storm!
Well it’s half past nine, we’re dry, fed and watered and relishing the prospect of tomorrows ride down to Dublin, just 70 miles and about 4500ft of climbing….ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH!