As part of the Wild Atlantic Wayfarer project which involves seeking out adventures in and around the North West of Ireland that ‘middle-aged adventurers’ can take part in and will culminate in a photography ex. I contacted Wild Atlantic Ways to see what they had to offer.
I met up with Jarlath and Sean at ‘The Bike Shed’ in Drumcliffe, although they are also based at Lissadell House and Sligo town. So if you are coming to Sligo and want to hire a bike just give them a shout. Jarlath sorted me out with a bike, helmet, hi-viz vest and bike lock, then he gave me a lift in his van up to a quiet road in Cashelgarron where I could cycle all the way to Ballintrillick, up around the Gleniff Horseshoe and back again.
I have to say it’s years since I was on a bike so I was a bit apprehensive. The bike I was given was an electric one, now before you think you can just sit there and let the bike do all the work, you can’t…but it does help you along. It took me a little while to get used to it because when you start peddling the motor kicks in and gives you a bit of a boost. So after a bit of wobbling I was soon flying along like a good thing…the cows didn’t know what to make of it all!
It’s a lovely way to see the countryside going around on a bike. I’ve driven around this area many times but you really miss so much of it. A lot of the animals came right up to the fences to say hello and pose for photos. Even the flies were friendly – stupidly I was cycling with my mouth open so I swallowed about 15 of them! On a positive note I’m sure they are full of protein.
If you a regular reader to the blog you’ll know that the horseshoe is one of my favourite places. I was up there last year during a blizzard and got the photo below.
Thankfully it was a beautiful day when I was cycling around and the first time I’ve ever seen tourists there. I also saw a ‘professional’ cyclist in all the gear on a very sporty looking bike, he stopped to say hello and asked if I wanted to go ahead of him, I declined (I didn’t want to show what a great cyclist I was 😉 ).
After the river there was a fairly steep bit to contend with. I kind of thought the bike might take over and I could just sit back – I was wrong. After much puffing and panting (from me not the bike) and resisiting temptation to phone Jarlath and tell him to rescue me I finally made it to flat ground.
If you are going cycling don’t attempt to take photos as you are on the bike, I tried and almost fell off…don’t worry Jarlath the bike was safe. Also be prepared for a sore backside, some of these roads are very bumpy and even though the saddle was comfortable and I’m well padded I still felt quite a few of the bumps. I could still walk the next day though so it was all good.
I’d forgotten how much fun cycling is. It’s even more fun with an electric bike, as I was flying along back to Cashelgarron, a poor postman had to do a double-take as I whizzed by him. I did the whole journey in less than 3 hours which I thought was great considering I did stop loads of times to take photos. Wild Atlantic Ways can recommend other routes for you to take if you don’t fancy the horseshoe and if cycling isn’t your thing they also do bus tours. Huge thanks to Jarlath and all at Wild Atlantic Ways for such a great day out – you can contact them on Phone: (+353) 0 85-88 88-181 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org or find them here.