As we finished LEJOG last year R wanted to do the reverse, JOGLE, there and then to get home, and was a bit tearful on the train as we made our way back. I said perhaps next year. That was kind of the plan. In the meantime we went off and did a few shorter trips in the holidays. During this time R’s Mummy (Y) informed me she & R were going on holiday to Ireland with her cousins and their kids at the beginning of the summer holidays. I changed the plan, somewhere new, just as adventurous, Mizen Head to Malin Head, or MizMal. In the process me & R could climb both Eire’s and Northern Ireland’s highest peaks, Carrantoohil & Slieve Donard respectively to bag all 5 of the British Isles’ as we’d conquered the other 2 on our short adventures after doing Ben Nevis during LEJOG.
The Grand Tour Overview
Almost a complete circumnavigation of Ireland in 27 days. The final 2 highest country peaks of the British Isles climbed. Lots of rain, lots of sun, very fun!
Route & Rest
I’d pick R up from Y over in County Waterford after their holiday so planned a route from there to Mizen Head; I’ve ridden that part of the country in the past and crewed group holidays there so that part was easy. Next I anchored the route to Malin Head, dragged it over to Carrantouhil, continued it to Sleive Donard then back down to Roslaire for the ferry home. Jiggled it and left it at that for quite some time. Did a few further edits for some places of interest, adjusted the ferry return to Dublin so we weren’t away for so long, then set about looking for likely places to stay.
That was the hard bit! Finding campsites in Ireland on the internet is tricky, most are caravan parks with some space for tents, some won’t accept tents without a vehicle. Wildcamping in Ireland is a little harder as most of the land is private. I managed to organise a few Warmshowers hosts for some of the nights; one even as we were en route! Got in touch with an old scout friend for a couple of nights at theirs. We had options, it could be fluid and we had a buffer of a day or 2 if necessary. Most was finalised just before I left.
Mine was given a service a week before we left. R’s was rebuilt after his first frame was ‘off’, Bamboo MK2! In doing so R got his rack back so would be carrying his own kit; he loves this and did so on our first solo camping trips back when he was 5! The MK1’s geometry meant I stripped the rack off after the first stage of LEJOG. A local welder modded an old rack of mine to make it perfect for his MK2 keeping the panniers and rack low.
Same as last year but I upgraded our sleeping mat to a Klymit Static V double that was faultless and extremely comfortable. Shopping done for food etc just before I departed. Rather than lots of noodles and rice meals this time I just took a big bag of rice and several seasoning flavours, adding veg as we went. Easier, cheaper, more compact and fresh veg.
- Panniers/bags: Ortlieb 2x Roll Top Plus large, 4x Roll Top Plus small (1 pair each), 24L rackpack, Barbag.
- Tent & Shelter: Vango Spectre 200 and cheap tarp.
- Cooking: MSR XGK II Shaker Jet Stove (can use pretty much any flammable liquid). GSI Outdoor Pinnacle Dualist. MSR Billy Can. Homemade carved wooden spoon.
- Sleeping: 2x 3 season Vango sleeping bags, 2x silk liners, Klymit Static V double matt.
Getting there and back
Well, R would already be there, Y took his bike, panniers and his kit. I’d be training it from Temple Meads to Pembroke Docks to catch the night ferry. I booked my train tickets in advance and split them almost halving the cost of the same journey booked as one; bonkers! The other side from Rosslaire I’d ride the 60kmish to Dunmore East using part of an old route of mine.
Coming back was an early ferry from Dublin arriving midday at Holyhead, time for lunch at a cafe in town, then hop on the train for several hours back in Bristol by evening. Luckily I checked our ferry tickets just before I left as I’d got them round the wrong way; free amendments thankfully!