We met a couple of lads in thenpub in Buncrana who asked what we were doing in Ireland. We told them we were cyclingbto Malin Head and one of the guys told us we were in for a real treat.
“We don’t really do things like cycling,” he said. “We’re more interested in going clubbing in Derry, but I’ll tell ye this. When you get up to Malin Head you”ll never have seen scenery like it. It’s just fantastic.”
We had a fantastic day for it. Ireland glowed and pouted under a blazing sun and we set off full of enthusiasm, only to take the wrong road out of Buncrana.
we cycled for almost 2 miles up a long hill when I suggested to Hamish we stop and check the map. I just had a sixth sense feeling we were going the wrong way, a sense of intuition that has got me out of many scrapes over the years, particularly when navigating.
We returned down the long hill, found the junction we had missed and set out once again up another long hill. This one took us high over the inishowen Peninsula, a superb high road across rolling moorland before a long and swift descent brought us into Cardonoagh and coffee and cake.
By now it was hot and we couldn’t believe our good fortune. We had a beautiful ride out alongside Trawbreaga Bay and through Malin village before climbing again, this time over the hill to Malin Head village, a much scattered community of farms and holiday homes. A final run along the north coast and the last climb of the end to end, and what a climb it was. Steep and sustained but thankfully not too long.
We had hoped to arrive at Malin Head cool and collected but that final climb flustered us just a bit. We dod all the touristy things – posed for photos, took selfies, did a wee bit of exploring, dumped the bikes and walked out to the actual Head then we did what every sane person would do. We lay down in the sun for an hour and dozed…
It was great to get to Malin Head, the third of our Triple Crown of national End to Ends after Lejog through the UK and La Manche to the Med through France. We both agreed this trip through Ireland was probably the best. As we lay and dozed in the sun it was good to think through some of the highlights – Mizen Head in the sun, the Caha Pass and Molls Gap, the lovely Lakes of Killarney, the West Coast of Clare, the wonderful Irish piping at Doolin, the Aran Isles, visiting the grave of WB Yeats and the lovely cycling country of North Donegal.
It’s been a joy made extra special by the lovely Irish people we’ve met on the way, folk who have gone out of their way to help us and encourage us. Thank you Ireland.
But we’re not quite finished yet. We still have the Causeway Coast of Co Antrim to enjoy and that starts with a ride down to the ferry at Greencastle. I hope the sun continues to shine on us for a couple more days at least.