Turning Left in October

So you’d think that cycling somewhere new would be pretty easy this month, seeing as we actually are somewhere different and we remembered to bring our bikes. There’s just one problem with cycling around here though, if you want to go a bit further afield – the map* looks like this:

OSNI map of the Mournes

Note: not a lot of roads, but a large number of contour lines

There are only really 4 roads out of Newcastle, and none of them are a lot of fun to cycle on, and we’ve already cycled to the two nearest places that aren’t too horrible to ride to. Anyway, with a bit of discussion and looking at various maps, paper and digital, we settled on Castlewellan, via some back roads which turned out pretty pleasant for cycling.

Back road to Castlewellan

Even though we were cycling away from the worst of the contours, Newcastle is on the coast and Castlewellan is not, and I hadn’t really clocked just how uphill the whole outward leg was going to be, nor that it was straight into a fairly ferocious headwind, so I was glad to have a little encouragement just before we topped out the climb.

big ring time

(There were slightly less encouraging words on offer for the way down. We did wonder if these get changed seasonally …).

The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved

I suddenly realised, looking at the chapter and verse for this, why we talk about ‘jeremiads’.

Still, it was worth it when we arrived – not just a lovely walk around the lake at Castlewellan Park, but the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you’ve saved £5 by not arriving by car.

beech trees in Castlewellan forest park

We then invested the savings in our ongoing project to sample the cake offer in every cafe in the area (chocolate fudge cake with ice cream plus two bottomless coffees in Bilbo’s Bistro, if you’re interested), and rolled home, very glad it was downhill all the way …

downhill home
* If you were following along in July, you’ll know that this is an OSNI map, not an Ordnance Survey one.

2 Responses to Turning Left in October

  1. welshcyclist says:

    Northern Ireland is a fabulous place to cycle, much as I suspect Scotland is, though I’ve yet to try the latter. Cheers

  2. disgruntled says:

    We could do with some more of those quiet back roads here!

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