STAGE 5: Achill to Ballina
Achill is a place where you need to go back to! We saw it at its most rugged and unforgiving. Sailing out today with the sun trying to get through, makes me feel like I need to come back. We are adding on the Corraun peninsula that we missed yesterday. Rolling out I am choked with a cold and not really feeling like 150km + spin today. Sun is in the air and all bodes well. Over the bridge to the ‘mainland’ is a much different place than last night. It quiet and benign! What a beautiful rugged place. Setting the scene for the day ahead. Coming past mass goers and looking out over beautiful islands and headlands to Achill and beyond is magical.
We have overhead drones and cameras tracking our every move and it adds to the excitement. Mulranny comes and it cross country through the most wonderful scenic parts of Ireland. Unknown and unspoilt. Populated by roadside sheep. It’s like the top of the military road with the Wild Atlantic in your left side. Imagine that!!
What an unbelievable place! We never hear of. Ballycroy is our coffee stop. At the interpretive centre we are greeted with coffee and fresh scones and jam. Beautiful! Pressure came on then! Speed was the need! Bombing it to Bangor Erris and on to Belmullet for lunch. I broke a chain when I got out of the saddle to hammer out of a town. Mechanics pull up to sort me. Stick me in the van and speed me up the road to re-join the peloton.
Need new chain so have to protect this one for the day. Belmullet for a delicious lunch and it’s straight back out again and heading out into the wilds of Mayo. Got more of the same of this wonderful county.
What a place to go bike cruising! Flat and downhill over rugged countryside with the Wild Atlantic on your left. Up to the Ceide Fields and stop for a photo. Stunning place. So full of history and ancientness! No time to linger. Crank it up for the last 45 minutes of hard pull into Ballina. Descending again at pace toward Killala it’s eyeballs out and the best part of the day.
Rolling into Ballina after 149km is a wonderful feeling given the miles we have done before. Ballina is a nice town and very welcome. Can’t wait now for a hot bath, a soak and a relax before a monster dinner and a few pints..