I will begin with a little bit more about where we stayed last night. The Rossgier Inn was fantastic. The owner who was running the actual bar was so helpful and kind. We tried to order a take-out using an App, but couldn’t get it to work without a postcode. Ireland doesn’t have postcodes. Aiden, the owner, ordered for us and then paid the delivery driver in cash, as I didn’t have any Euros, letting me pay him with my card. He also bought us both a drink in the bar later. One of the best places we have ever stayed in.
It looks better when the shutters are up. We also chatted to Aiden about Brexit, which is hugely important for the border towns. Most days he crosses the border two or three times. A hard border would make this impossible, and understandably would hit the local economy, as well as having the potential for violence to start up again. Brexit is proving to be hugely unpopular everywhere we’ve been so far.
This morning we were a little apprehensive about our route. Once again Helen was route master, but she was worried that it was going to be on main roads all the way to Armagh.
The first couple of miles to Lifford and over the River Foyle to Strabane were really bad. The town of Strabane was featured in a short documentary about setting up a parkrun, staring Kelly Holmes, which you should watch. Also interesting to see posters for an Ireland unification referendum. I can’t see the British government agreeing to that any time soon, especially how reluctant they were for a Scottish independence referendum.
Back to our route, and after checking with Google maps we set off on our revised route, only to re-join our initial route, as on Helen’s Garmin. We opted to stay with our original route and if it joined the main road we would look at the map again.
The route ended up being on brilliantly quiet roads all day, albeit slightly lumpy ones. It also stopped raining after out first hour.
We skirted Omagh and stopped in a great little cafe in Killyclogher. I had a toffee popcorn slice with my coffee. It was so good I almost had a second one.
The rest and coffee was much needed and came at just the right time as we were soon past the halfway point. The hills were still ever present and the rain was once again falling hard, but we pushed on. Not only was today one of Helen’s routes, she was also in charge of the Garmin, making sure we went the correct way at junctions. A Garmin 500 has an annoying habit of zooming out and showing you the whole route when you slow down or stop, just when you need more detail. We only took one or two wrong roads and only briefly. However, Garmins also have a bad habit of bleeping to let you know that you’re off course, even though you’re not. Our Garmin did get called a “tweeting piece of shit” on more than one occasion.
By 50+ miles we were both feeling tired, and Helen’s brakes were not working at their best, something that we have to look at in the morning. We are staying at a wonderful place called The Log Cabin on the outskirts of Armagh. The owner had a good chat with Helen as she used to live in Morecambe.
We’ve just walked into Armagh to obtain beers and another take-out, before crashing on the very comfy sofa.
Today was a very hilly 55 miles with plenty of rain. Tomorrow is our last proper cycling day as we ride back into Belfast, once we’ve sorted Helen’s brakes.
Day 5 can be found here.