Tuesday, June 14, 2016

LondonDerry to Ballycastle June 14, 2016

It was poured rain all of last night and was pouring rain when we got up.  However it had nearly stopped by time breakfast was served in the B&B and we were ready to roll.  I had done a lot of work plotting the route out of Londonderry and it really paid off.  There was about four turns, up a hill, quick left through a tunnel and within a few minutes we were out in the country.  

The road had a lot of water on it from all the rain which had come down in the last day, so it was a game of dodge the puddles and try and time the puddles which oncoming cars would hit throwing huge waves of water up.  The rain itself had dwindled down to a light sprinkle but the clouds hung ominously low. 

About 15 kms out we had to ride up the A2 for a few kms and although there was a bike lane it was full of pot holes, gravel and rubbish.  It wasn’t a very fun few kms.  I was glad to turn north onto the Giant’s Causeway Highway.  There was hardly any traffic and no trucks.  In addition we were now out of the hills and following the coast so it was dead flat.

As Ken and I cruised along it was getting brighter and brighter.  In fact the heavy clouds were breaking up and a spot of blue sky appeared.  Then low and behold at the 40 km mark I looked down and was startled to see my shadow,so off came the rain gear.  The Garmin was registering a blistering 17 C. 

Just before we got into Coleraine we climbed a big hill and the town was laid out before us in the sun.  It was so pretty. We felt just great having the sun on our backs.  In town we foraged some sandwiched out of a Spar convenience store and were delighted to find 1 liter bottles of Chocolate milk on sale for 1Pound.

We had another 23 kms up to the Giant’s Causeway so we pressed on past a bunch of beautiful cliffs and beaches.  We got to the Giant’s Causeway and as it was now 2:30 Pm, Ken and I decided we would only do the walk down to the stones rather than go through the interpretive center and do the cliff walk. 

The Giant’s Causeway is a series of octagonal basalt columns which run from the cliffs down into the ocean.  This lava flow is said to look like a causeway of paving stones, and as they are quite large they most have been for a giant’s causeway.  It is actually quite a small area where these occur so it is unique.  In comparison to the huge basalt cliffs of the Columbia River Basalt Plateau of Washington, Oregon and southern Idaho this is not much.  Having said that it was fun walking down the 1.5 kms from the cliff top to see the rocks and climb on them.  After all these are famous and nobody knows about those other rocks.

Ken and I still had 20 kms to get into Ballycastle and a bunch of big hills to go. The road would climb up over a cliff and then dive down to the ocean.  Some of the views from the cliffs were absolutely stunning.  We were done by time we rolled into Ballycastle it had been 105.6 kms and 1093 m of accent.

Jos and Patrick took the train from Londonderry up to Coleraine as it was raining in the morning.  They did go in and see the Bushmills distillery in Bushmills and cycled in the afternoon.   They missed a great ride, and gave up their EFI.  In addition Jos was in contention for the coveted “White Jersey” being one of the youngest riders. However I believe that this pretty much takes him out of contention. 

Tomorrow we ride into Belfast for a two day rest period.


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