There’s nothing ‘low’ about these ‘bad boys’ I can assure you! From the moment we set off from the Times Hostel in Dublin we were going up hill. It took us about an hour to clear the city and then the climbing really began. This was a lung-busting, heart-thumping, eye-popping, thigh-throbbing, calf-clenching, relentless, unremitting, ‘shit bucket’ of a climb! The sort of climb that is steep enough to make you doubt yourself from the outset, which winds around the hill-side never really showing itself, testing you with sharp rises, never giving you respite, drawing you in then blowing you off. All done in a long, drawn-out kind of a way without ever giving you the real satisfaction of ‘arriving’. By the time you’ve reached the ‘top’ you’re rolling down the other side again! Well actually you emerge onto a barren plateau which goes on for several miles, gently rising and falling, before the real descent beginnings. It was misling when we set off, raining when we reached the outskirts of Dublin and it continued to pour down most the way to the top, some 25k later. The descent to our lunch-time stop was hampered by poor road surfaces, which were running with water ,and a stiffening head wind. By the time we reached the cafe at Laragh it was nearly one o’clock, having taken nearly four hours to do the 45k. We were dripping wet, exhausted and ready for a break. The glorified shed that was the cafe, doubled as a general store of sorts and a rather surprisingly well stocked wine merchants. The food, all home-made and ‘organic’, was superb – soup with home-made bread, followed by filled rolls, washed down with excellent coffee soon lifted our spirits, whilst our clothing gently steamed away on our feet and backs! Refreshed and invigorated we set off on the remaining 25k or so to our overnight accommodation, the Woodbridge Hotel – reputed to be the oldest hotel in Ireland. Having arrived early and in the middle of another cloud burst, we decided to dry out (again!) over a beer. The very friendly and engaging company at the bar, having enquired as to our purpose, quickly made a donation to our funds. You meet some of the nicest, certainly most generous, folk in pubs!
Bryan enjoying a slightly more modest breakfast than we’re accustomed to..
Ready for the ‘off’ from the excellent Times Hostel.
Three hours later, at what serves as the ‘summit’ of the Wicklow Mountain road.
A slightly better view than we had of the Mourne mountains.
Bry finishing lunch at the slightly curious but excellent Laragh cafe cum wine merchants!
The stats for todays ride. Some of the data is a bit dodgy since I forgot to turn it on and off when I should have!
On the birding front, not a lot happening I’m afraid – only Reed Bunting added to the list. Rather bizarrely appearing to nest close to the top of the mountains!
If the internet continues to behave itself I hope to be publishing a ‘gallery’ of previously unseen Scottish pictures shortly – don’t worry, nothing too racy!