Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

A big ride

By Stuart Lowe on

It rained all night so i gave up on reaching the Fallcaragh parkrun. Best laid plans and all that. It had tipped it down all night. I didn't fancy putting all my damp stuff away in the rain so I waited. Laying in my tent at about 8.30 I heard the boy from the night before saying "why hasn't that man gone yet?". Because it has been raining rude little man.

The family headed off somewhere when the rain stopped. I then took my tent down and headed off in the clothes I'd been sleeping in as they were dry.

It hadn't been a friendly start to the day but the weather improved and the sun came out. I saw the first signs for Eurovelo 1 perhaps since Norway.

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Doe Castle

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First Eurovelo signs in a while

I had lunch at a picnic spot just after Dunfanaghy. I ate a whole carrot cake. I didn't reach Falcarragh until early afternoon so even if I'd had any earlier start I wouldn't have reached parkrun in time.

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Wild Atlantic Way

After Falcarragh was the beautiful Inis Bó Finne and Tory Island off out to sea. I slightly shortened the headland as I was now heading further than I'd planned today. I'd called a youth hostel in Glenties who had said their housekeeper had been ill. When I asked about camping they hung up. So I was headed for Carrick. I'd have to get a move on.

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Lunch stop

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Inis Bó Finne panorama

The roads got flatter and more manageable. I found dedicated cycle lane but it turned into a bumpy gravel surface that cut my speed in half and shook my bike. So I went back to the smooth road.

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Flatter roads

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View from a bridge

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Cycle path

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Flowers by the roadside

On the way to Ardara I met Martin and Michael who accompanied me for a few kilometres chatting. It was nice to have some company. We parted ways in Ardara where it was show day and they gave me onward directions.

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Michael and Martin

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Do you need directions?

Out of Ardara I knew I had a climb ahead. Google maps had been able to warn me of it. It was Malaidh Ghleann Gheis; a steep, switchback, climb. As yesterday I kept going up it in my lowest gear and only stopped at the viewpoint near the top. There I met Michelle who cycled from Vancouver to Panama last September. She was cycling around Donegal for a week. It turned out she'd also had a similar insight into Us politics that I'd had in 2014. We'd both predicted the outcome of the 2016 election. Perhaps more politicians and journalists should do cross continent bike trips.

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Heading up to Malaidh Ghleann Gheis

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View from the top

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The awesome Michelle, from Ireland, who cycled 9000km from Vancouver to Panama last year

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Sunset at the campsite

I said goodbye to Michelle and rode mostly downhill to the hostel. I was quite late but they were very friendly and, after pitching my tent, I made a big plate of pasta and ate most of a packet of digestives whilst admiring the stars above.