Wednesday 24th August 2016 – From Londonderry to Malin Head, c. 50 miles

Breakfast at Derry City Independent Hostel is part of the deal so we adequately provided ourselves for the day’s cycling and set off to the Tower Museum. It gives a reasonably balanced account of the troubles – through people’s own life stories. This does mean that there’s a implicit contradiction between some of the descriptions – one man is heading out to fight for the British Army on the front while another is planning an uprising. The other half of the museum is concerned with an Armada wreck – the Santa Trinidad Valencere (spelling?). Cannon, bits of guns and clothing, etc. It sank off the Inishowen Peninsula, where we are heading, and was only recently recovered. Marvellous stuff. The inhumanity shown to the survivors was remarkable, many of whom seem to have been shot. Then off out on the road to Buncara, tho’ there a lovely lane paralleling the busy A road and we reached Buncara without too much traffic. Then we set off on the Inishowen 100 route, lunching at Dunree Head, then over the Amazing Grace Col, or Gap of Mamore, with some walking. Wow sea views, then rims overheating along towards Clonmany. Then to Carndonagh before which we got diverted over a tiny hill road, packed with other diverted traffic. I had two punctures – glass coming out of Clonmany and then a pinch puncture on the diversion in light rain – this is the fifth puncture and cycling can induce a fair amount of stress as you sit in the rain at the side of the road trying to stick a patch on. Thank goodness patches these days seem to be super good at sticking and compensating for weary fingers. Then, time and daylight starting to press, on through Malin (tried an off licence for beers but only the usual suspects, Coors, etc) and then a brief deviation to see the Five Fingers – basically a gorgeous beach with scars running out. Surfing was distinctly conceivable, tho’ you’d be on your own, I guess. Then out and out to the bay just before Malin Head – Sandrock Hostel. It’s Gorgeous, with files of into about shipwrecks (three U boats out there), local history, and surrounded by Crocosmia, grows wild locally in great clumps, Hebes, and New Zealand flax. But it was 8.15pm…

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