I was beginning to think we wouldn’t get to see one of these things this year, the scheduled North West trip fell due to the madness, but we kept ferry crossings and plumped to book them in September. Luckily we chose the last hot spell of the year and headed over for a few miles on empty roads.
We extended the trip by a day, heading up through Teessdale and Alston on the way to an overnight in Dumfries before catching the ferry the next day.
A short hop from Dumfries to Cairnryan and we dispatched the two hour ferry crossing in, well, two hours. The coast road up to Bushmills is empty and well surfaced, feeling the love for the GSXR11 I pass a couple of cars, the ride is spirited. I am hitting my lines and my 30 and 40 speed limits. But, as I am about to reach the next set of nationals there is a blue light behind me! Like a muppet, I have overtaken an unmarked car and stupidly not glanced in to see who’s driving as I normally would. I get a dressing down, eat humble pie and am sent on my way. Relieved, you bet, not that it stops me from catching them up again!
Friday dawns bright and clear and we make the most of the weather with an early start, riding north west. The planned ferry crossing from Magilligan point is abandoned, mainly due to the ferry terminal being abandoned. A quick recalculate and we take the longer way round, skirt the edges of Derry, ride through Muff, always a pleasant experience and take the R240 cross country, the speeds aren’t warp speed but we tracking along nicely.
Friday and Jim has looked at the map, suggesting we ride to Rossbeg on the west coast of Ireland, for no other reason than it’s a pretty straight line from where we are staying, although the straight line on the map translates to stunning roads and the wonderful R250 from Letterkenny to Glenties, open, fast, bumpy with stunning views, best of all we get to to ride it twice today.
Our final day of riding is local to Bushmills, down the coast to Ballycastle and order what seemed at the time to be a good idea, full mashing breakfast. A heart attack on a plate duly arrives!! Followed by the Dark Hedges before nipping over to Joey’s bar for a coffee.
1100 miles of riding in super warm conditions, a rarity at any time, but September, in Ireland, we dropped lucky. A couple of drops of rain on the visor as we come back home through Barnard Castle, we return via Alston and the deserted roads of the north pennines. As for Bernard, well, he missed all this fun, some old excuse about work, whatevs, you missed out buddy and we made sure you knew it!