Saturday 23 June 2012

The Great Grail Grab Grand Tour - Day 4

Waking to blue skies and sunshine streaming through the windows of the B&B was a welcome change from yesterday's interminable rain. With most of my gear now dry the decision not to camp was justified and soon after sitting down to a huge "Fry" as a cooked breakfast is called in Ireland, definitely justified my decision.

Outside the B&B Tuesday morning

Getting on the road, I followed the A2 round the coast through Annalong and on to Kilkeen a great road clinging to the cliffside in places and great views out across Dundrum Bay. In Kilkeen I missed a right turn in the town to stay on the A2 and found myself on some great little roads closer to Carlingford Lough, a turn right when I saw a sign to Rostrevor, my next destination soon had me back on course rejoining the A2 shortly after.

Continuing through Rostrevor and Warrenpoint, I was soon in Newry, crossing the canal and heading south at last. I picked up the A1 towards Dublin. Crossing the border was another non event, I passed a raised parking area beside the dual carriageway with a sign saying "Police Vehicles Only", a couple of miles down the road, I passed another but this time the sign said "Garda Only" oh was that it then?

Soon after a road sign with distances in Kilometres appeared and before joining the M1 motorway I turned off into Dundalk for fuel and to convert my speedo to kilometres again. Looking at the map and the time, I decided that the motorway was most probably the safe bet to get to Dublin and then on to Dun Laoghaire in time for my ferry, which also explains the lack of photos for this section. So I just headed south paying the princely sum of 1 euro on the toll section south of Drogheda.

Rolling into Dublin, still bathed in glorious sunshine I narrowly avoided the toll tunnel that wanted 3 Euro for a bike! As I have no Irish maps on my GPS, I was navigating by my 4.7 miles to the inch road atlas, not a lot of help in a city the size of Dublin, up until now it had been a simple matter of following the signs "To the Cathedral" in the much smaller cities. I had taken the precaution of printing a map from Google Earth of the city centre and knew I had to be south of the River Liffey so after crossing a bridge I pulled up to consult the map. It turned out I was just round the corner to Christ Church Cathedral. After riding past, I did a quick circuit round the block to get in a good position and grabbed a quick photo as time was getting a bit tight for the Ferry.

Getting out of the City Centre was fun, being choked with buses, taxis and hordes of jay walking tourists! My past experience as a London dispatch rider back in the eighties came to the fore and aided by the Arrow Race pipe that certainly got the attention of the tourists making them scatter from my path on more than one occasion.

I eventually got out of the centre of town and just missed a partially overgrown sign to the ferry port, doing a U turn I headed off into the residential suburbs of Dublin. After a few wrong turns I eventually found my way to the ferry but Dun Laoghaire, which certainly goes down in my book as "The Ferry port most hard to find".

After a very pleasant two hour crossing on the HSS Stena Explorer, I rolled into Holyhead and straight onto the A55. What a difference to last time I was on Anglesey when you had to use the single carriageway A5 and that invariably meant a long queue, this time I was on the mainland 15 minutes later.

Not long after I was outside Bangor Cathedral...

Once on my way the GPS found me a great little route back to the A55. Up the hill past the cathedral, turn right and then first left up a winding narrow hill between old buildings and them immediately into a single track country lane than climbed up to a fantastic view across to Snowdonia then plunged down a steep hillside to a shallow but very fast flowing ford to eventually pop out on the A5 and then soon after rejoined the A55.

A quick blast along the coast saw me at St Asaph less than half hour later.

Now according to my original plan, I should have been looking for a campsite but as it was only just gone four o'clock and the sun was shining, so I decided to press on.

Well the sun didn't last and stopping near Holywell for fuel I took the opportunity to put waterproofs on as it started to rain. Luckily it didn't last and I continued up the Wirral and through the Birkenhead Tunnel to Liverpool Cathedral.

Now Liverpool is not exactly the place to find a campsite, so I decided to take advantage of the fact that the sun was out again and headed north. An hour on the M6 saw me in the Lake District and a fantastic ride over a deserted Kirkstone Pass. Deserted that was apart from the idiot who decided to stop so his girlfriend/wife could look at the cute lambs on the road, only he chose to stop on the wrong side of the road? Luckily I saw him in time and was able to avoid both him and his stupid girlfriend who was hanging out the open passenger door trying to attract the two lambs that were providing yet another obstruction in the road!!!

I arrived at the Sykeside Campsite at the Brothers Water Arms at just after 7.30, booked in for the night and enjoyed a great meal in the pub and a couple of pints whilst the rest of the place watched some football match going on in Ukraine???

No comments:

Post a Comment