Navan to Newry. 98km
Woke up in the hostel with no breakfast to be had. Not bothered too much as we will get something back at the start hall we are assured.
Paddy Wagon is there before nine to collect us . So bags ready and off we go. It’s a long haul but arrive before most others.
Back at the start hall in Navan there is a lot going on. A great buzz around the place. Lots more are joining us this morning for the leg to Newry
It’s a fine sunny morning heading off and it looks promising for the day.
Steady pace and im feeling good today.
Lots of chat going on. Its great, meeting new people too as well as greeting friends. Nice easy roll out. Typically a hill start. I hate hill starts. I need to ease myself in on these trips.
Nobber is our first stop for water and some bananas. Lots had heard about Nobber but few had been in it. It’s a lovely town. But most just fly straight through.
Starting to get roly now, into Drumlin country . Climbing into Kingscourt was a good test and we are all strung out now. But we ride together so there will be a regroup before going through the town.
Lovely road to Carrickmacross but sky looks menacing. We have already had the remnants of a heavy shower and it has got appreciably colder.
Now just as we are entering Carrick the heavens open and before we are across town and into our college we are drenched to the skin. And freezing cold to boot!
In the hall we are treated to delicious curry and lasagne and salad along with strawberry desert and tea and coffee. Pure delicious. Im ready for seconds too.
Cold in the bones now so I have layered up for the second leg through Crossmaglen and South Armagh to Newry.
Terrain is now more lumpy as we cross the border through Cullaville and Cross. Through Slieve Gullion and drop down into Newry. But not before we get another torrential downpour.
I have so many layers on now that im impervious.
Newry is bigger than you think but we finally arrive at a football ground were we stow our bikes. Sun is out now and we are all drying off.
Collect bags and make contact with my homestay just as my phone dies.
Coincidently my homestay is Ester Boyle, whose husband was John Boyle , no relation. Just a curious coincidence.
What a woman! She had heard about it here at the last minute and decided to offer her help with a room for one. Her son in law is the driver along with her grandson and im driven to her lovely flat were im treated to a delicious Ulster Fry before which I get a most welcome hot hot shower.
After dinner a lovely night chatting to Ester and her daughter who comes to see the mysterious John Boyle
The chat is wonderful and uplifting. A wonderful homestay and a wonderful lady. I am so privledged to be allowed into this beautiful home of Esters.
Eyes eventually begin to fade and I retire happy under the watchful eye of Elvis Presley above my head. The beautiful Marylyn Munroe and the iconic Deborah Carr. Mother Teresa has her place too. What a relaxing room.
Tomorrow is another day and now I know the nature of this trip. And why I choose to come. The bike carries me to places and people and situations I would never otherwise encounter. Meeting good people. Hearing about great lives and great struggles and im humbled by the experience.
Tomorrow we journey to Belfast to stay with my sisters.
Source: Cycle Against Suicide Blog