Ireland end to end: Donegal to Buncrana

We’re getting there. Another 54 mile day and by this time tomorrow we should be at Malin Head and our third national end to end (LEJOG, La Manche to Med and Mizen to Malin). Then it’ll be a couple of days round the Causeway Coast of Co Antrim back to the ferry at Larne.

We had a superb ride today. Over the Barnesmore Gap from Donegal town with the Blue Stack mountains looking very inviting in the welcome sun. Stopped in Ballyboffey for coffee and cake and sat outside in the sun, luxuriating in the warmth and wishing summer could be like this all of the time.

Beyond Ballyboffey we decided to abandon the main R15 trunk road that had served us so well from south of Donegal and take to some minor roads to Convoy and then back to the main road just south of Buncrana, our destination for the night. What a brilliant decision that was – the roads were well surfaced and very quiet and we raced along partly paralleling the border between NI and Eire, which was the River Foyle. 

Sometimes you get a sense of wellbeing from feeling fit and alive and today was like that, a satisfying combination of feelgood, great weather and lovely, gentle scenery. This is cycle touring at its best, but it wasn’t to last.

We stopped at a place called Burnfoot because the sky had gone black and there had been a couple of flashes of lightning. Thunder echoed from the hills. We expected it to downpour so thought we could sit it out for a while. Another cyclist from Derry was doing much the same, but he’d had a puncture and didn’t have a pump. We offered to fix his wheel but he had already phoned his wife who was well on her way.

We chatted for a while about the cycling scene in the north of Ireland and he told us how exciting it was to have had the start of the Giro d’Italia in Ulster last week. He said the place was still buzzing…

We left our new found friend to await his wife and we popped inside for a coffee. After half an hour or so the sky looked a bit brighter so we went for it. Twenty seconds into our ride the heavens opened.

It was a fast, and wet, final few miles into Buncrana but we found what looked like a nice quiet B/B down a leafy lane and soon dried off, showered and caught up with emails etc. Now, we’re off for a wee look at the town and find somewhere to eat. And tomorrow? Malin Head!

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