Monday, 18 June 2012

Ireland and Northern Ireland
We said goodbye to Wales, would have loved to see more but there are lots more countries out there!
The crossing was incredibly smooth and it was nice out on deck but a little chilly.  It took about 4 hours for the crossing to Rosslare, a small port in the south of Ireland.
Ireland turned out to be quite expensive and even the camp sites were pretty dear, but you get that! And we think this field was used for cows in the off season as you could feel their footprints in the ground.
There were also a few rules to follow!!!
And yet more rules!

But the views were superb.
We found yet more old railway cycle paths and canal paths which we love to travel along.  Some of the sights along the way are wonderful as as we are so quiet we don't scare too many things away.
Along the way there are cycle route markers, which not only point the way but give the mileage from and to.......

We finally entered Northern Ireland and the first night was spent on the banks of Loch Neagh.
From some points it looked like an ocean it was so large...
As we travelled along the coast, we were always drawn to the beautiful little harbours

And we have been totally amazed at how calm the sea is between Northern Ireland and England!  It 
would be good to see it in its angriest moments though!!!
In Ballycastle we went for a walk to get some fish & chips for dinner and found a Gannet on the foreshore.  A local said that it was stunned and he was calling the wildlife people, but it was just so cute - and enormous!!
We had a few days in Larne staying with and catching up with relations....Nice to be spoiled for a bit and having a house to come back to.   We took the time then to travel up to the north and visit the Giants Causeway.  That was really something else.

and you can see how lovely and warm the summer weather is !!
Not only is the scenery and wildlife great to see, the wildflowers are so prevalent and colourful.
There are just so many castles over here that we have lost count and I just can't remember the name of this one but it starts with a 'D' and it's near the causeway....
All through the country the scenery continued to amaze us and I have to include at least one shot although it really does not do justice as it was always a bit misty or cloudy when we took them.
The people in Northern Ireland were so friendly and nice and we met  one guy and his two little girls at a campsite in Antrim and then Willy met up with us again a week later at a pub in Strangford.  Dave was introduced to Guinnes here and has developed quite a liking for the brew!!! 
Couldn't resist adding a shot of Dave with Willy ( the cheeky Irishman!!)

My Uncle Charlie's local was so well supported by him that they actually have a little plaque dedicated to his spot in the bar! This pub also has some good old rules -

and there was another saying  on the wall in the rear lounge that we have really taken on for our journey.....we will leave you with this and the next report will be from Country No 6 - SCOTLAND...........

Saturday, 2 June 2012


Wales was a place of many extremes.....and many challenges, especially the hills!!  We began our introduction to Wales in Chepstow where they have a great old Castle.(see above)  We also saw our first real sandy beach for the trip....
As we cycle through all the little villages we are constantly drawn to the old churches....Dave keep saying that I will be struck down if I go inside, but so far so good!!  This one was just all on its own - not even in a village....fron the 12th century!!!

The biggest challenge though wasdefinately the hills!  We are getting stronger but the steepness of some of them is not fun, especially pushing the weight that we are carrying ( and the weight on the bikes!!!!)

The really good thing about the hills though ( there's always good with the bad)  is that we gat to see some tremendous views!

We made a real discovery in Wales that our Daughter in Law is going to love us for!! We found where Chocolate really comes from........A Chocolate Farm and we have the proof.....

We battled on and we were very lucky that the weather was really good.  Nice and warm and the winds were not too strong and every time we asked a local for directions they told us we were over the worst part and it was only small hills from now on - DO NOT BELIEVE A WELSHMAN WHEN IT COMES TO HiLLS !  Also do not ask one for directions unless you have some time to spare.  They were allvery nice and helpful and we didn't meet one that was not up for a chat.  This is their version of not a hill!
On the flipside - this was the view from the top...
r last leg of the journey across Wales took us towards Tenby which we had been told several times was a beautiful little seafront town. We camped at a farm on a cliff top the night before and made our way down a seafront path into Tenby the next day.

We really liked Tenby and decided to take a rest day and catch up with washing etc, so booked into a B & B and soon after arriving the bathroom looked like a laundry with the bath full of washing ( we try and save wherever we can!!)  So after the chores were taken care of it gave us a chance to explore the town.  With it's pretty little harbour.

The amazing ancient town walls that still stand!
And the Island that I fell in love with that you cannot visit, but if I ever win lotto!!!!!!
We left Tenby and made our way to Pembroke where we were to get the ferry to Ireland.  Once arriving in Pembroke we couldnot fail to see the Pembroke Castle and for a change it was pretty reasonable to enter so we spent a lovely afternoon exploring all the rooms and towers and passageways of the castle.
Dave said he thinks he could be suited to be the Laird of a castle......

But alas no-one offered him the position so it was 'on yer bike'  and off on the next leg of our adventure - Over the seas to Ireland.....