It rained all through the night but we stayed warm and dry and by the time we came to taking down the tent, while not dry, it was OK to pack it away.
And here are our loaded cycles just as we were leaving. The day has been much better than forecast and while not too warm it has been dry.
We started on the Loughside track of Lough Neagh, it wasn’t brilliant and at one point it was resurfaced with very loose gravel. Although I had my usual breakfast stuff, I felt really under powered and I had a chocolate biscuit to see if that would provide some energy. It helped a little but I needed something more. Could it be the lack of bananas might be the problem?
We continued following the route until near Crumlin and then decided it was more prudent to head more directly to Belfast. So in Glenavy, we stopped and I bought bananas and a few other consumables and we sat in the bus shelter and had 2nd breakfast. After 2/bananas and vegetable crisps , as well as cereal and yogurt, I felt much better.
Just after the war memorial we got onto the B30 which showed about 13 miles to Belfast. There was a long steady climb for much of the way and we pulled in for a short breather near the Joey Dunlop stadium where I believe there is some sort of motorcycle racing but I could be wrong.
The view from the top was impressive and we swooped down for miles, having to stop as both of us where getting tingling in our hands. We had to cross the main road but there was a cycle track for most of the way. We followed city centre signs and I saw some of the murals and along with Republican flags knew we must be on the Falls road.
We stopped to ask if there was a quieter way but was told it was better to stick to the main road despite the traffic. Apparently, there is a problem with youths stealing phones etc.
Once in the city centre , we asked at tourists information about the city campsites and determined to do to the one at Dundonald near the Ice Bowl. Its very secure with key only access to the site with good facilities. The downside is traffic noise but to be honest it doesn’t bother us.
We sat and had lunch in the grounds of City Hall before trying to find the cycle route. A young man on a clunky bike showed us some of the way. We saw/a Li*l so I went and got yogurt for tomorrow’s breakfast while he determined the way ahead , as although he had used the path, he could no longer remember it. He was interesting to talk to, as he showed us bonfire wood being stored for the 11th of July when there is the start of the parading season. He said there are still extremists trying to exert power but 15 years ago he could never have lived where he lives now – a Catholic, all be it not church attending, in a Protestant area.
So we found the path, just as he said, a green corridor called the Cromber corridor , up to Dundonald. We met these two delightful, senior cyclists coming back from a days ride. One had a Primus stove that must have been over 60 years old and they use it for drinks making. They only do about 50 miles a day now though! Both are almost 80 years old.
We got camp set up , and Al and J and their delightfully behaved 7 year old took us to an Italian restaurant for dinner. We had pizza and a desert!! So lovely of them. Its been years since I have seen them as we all used to work for the same company. They are both working but for different companies now.
One of the things that is much more obvious here in Northern Ireland, is the amount of religious advertising on billboards etc and most people would say they have a religious belief. This his reflected in the discipline of children which seems much better than in where I live. Interesting.
We cycled 40 miles today.