The hotel in Lahinch where we spent Thursday night, the Lahinch Golf and Leisure Hotel, was exactly what you would expect from such an establishment. Everything was of an incredibly hight standard. Everything ran like clockwork. The staff were polite, helpful and knowledgeable. There was nothing that was not 5 Star
You know there is a but ………. coming, don’t you? The room was exactly like every other room in every other hotel which caters for frequent business travellers. OK, maybe the colour schemes will differ slightly but in terms of facilities – size, bathroom, tea maker, ironing board etc – they are the same.
For the previous six or seven evenings we had stayed in B&Bs and, while they may have had much in common, there were delightful idiosynacies which made each one unique. I think it is the slight uncertainty about what awaits me that makes B&Bs so appealing.
Enough of my meandering mind – how did Ken do yesterday? It was not such a long haul as on the two previous days – 93 kms with 841 metres of climb and 2135 cals used.
However, not very far into the day there was a minor catastrophe. OK, I’m exaggerating a little perhaps but I have to promote my role in this venture whenever I can. I was in a beautiful little village named Doolin which is quite a way off the beaten track and wondering how on earth it could be so jam packed with hikers, cyclists and tourist buses plus the required delivery vans and lorries essential to cater for all the needs of the afore mentioned hikers, cyclists and tourists – all before 10 o’clock in the morning.
The phone rang. It was Ken. “Merrill, there is a bit of a problem. I think the bearings have gone on the front wheel of the bike. You’ll need to bring the other bike over. I’m at the Cliffs of Moher car park.”
It really didn’t take too long for me to get to Ken and for him to make the second bike ready for the road. The road in question led to Lisdoonvarna.
With the demise of it’s very popular music festival over thirty years ago, which incidentally now takes place in Doolin, this small town is now particularly noted for its annual Matchmaking Festival held in September each year.
In the town square there are sculptures representing both events.
Continuing north east from Lisdoonvarna, the road goes through one of the most fascinating areas in all of Ireland – the region known as the Burren. It is a rocky and windswept landscape largely made up of striated limestone with a number of unique aspects.
However, the Burren also somehow enables the co-existence of different ecological species. There is nowhere else in Europe where Mediterranean, Arctic and Alpine plants grow together in a similar way.
The road through the northern part of the Burren takes in Ballyvaughan and Kinvarra before you reach Galway, though it is worth remembering that Ken is following the Wild Atlantic Way which took him around Black Head and through other small villages and towns.
The day’s travel ended in Galway and will began there again on Monday morning following a well deserved rest for Ken and I think I might take one as well.
Aside from those at petrol filling stations, this is only the second rubbish bin I have seen in the last ten days. The first one was in Glengarriff and this one is in Rinville Park in Oranmore. Lest you worry about any strange obsessions I seem to have – it was the fact that I have not seen any rubbish either which made me aware of the apparent absence of bins. The ‘Take your rubbish home’ slogan seems to be working.
Please don’t forget that this road trip does have serious purpose. We hope to raise £4000 to finance the digging of a well in Uganda by Fields of Life, an organisation which Ken has supported for many years, having in the past helped in the building of a school in Uganda.
If you would like to help in the financing of the well, please go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/missionbybike
See you Monday!