04 July 2012
Trip as far as Milstreet uneventful. (Cheers to the guy there who gave me some oil for my squeaky chain.) Ate supervalu salami and gluten-free biscuits for lunch. Lashing rain in the Derrynasaggart mountains--of course it started as soon as I was in the middle of nowhere, relying on my compass to pick the right overgrown sheep roads becase I was off the map and the instructions in my book were too vague (as long as I was going roughly southwest I was okay). Long treacherous descent in the rain toward Ballyvourney. I wouldn't want to go 40 kph on those roads in a car, much less on a bike in the soaking wet. But you can only pull so hard on the brakes...
About halfway down, there were these three lost sheep trapped on the road between two fences. I ended up basically chasing them downhill half a kilometre before they panicked and ran headfirst into a fence and I managed to get around them. Poor things :(
Didn't even know if I was on the right road or not till I was suddenly dumped into civilisation again. Went to buy skittles (been having two small packets a day since I started) and everyone was speaking in Irish! They spoke English to me of course but it was cool hearing them just naturally converse with each other, buying groceries and so on. (Nota Bene to my American peeps: "Gaelic" is actually Scottish; Irish is just Irish, or Gaelige (gale-guh) if you want to be fancy.)
Back into the mountains and lashing rain again from Coolea to Ballingeary. Poorly-surfaced sheep roads. At one point I descended into a valley with mountains jutting up on three sides and didn't know how I was supposed to get past without ditching the bike and turning into a mountain goat... But then the road curved around into some trees and I started climbing out of it without even realising.
I really want to start camping in these glorious piney woods around here, but my personal rule is not to set up camp when it's actively raining. Don't mind if it rains on me once I'm tied up in my bivvy bag but when I'm soaked to the bone and can't change into dry clothes before crawling in... I'll go b&b. This one, Corinn's in Ballingeary, is REALLY NICE btw. Why are hotels more expensive when b&b's tend to be so much nicer?
Toward the sea tomorrow. Slightly shorter day.
P.s. Lemme know if adding a picture to this post worked. If it did I'll try to put one every day.