Helvick Head to Ballycotton via Youghal

Day 106, Friday 14 April 

Having already been down to the remote Helvick Head and back last night, this morning’s departure was from Dungarvan, where I had spent the night in the Park Hotel. Many thanks to the management and staff for their kind support of the RNLI. A great place to stay, with great food and almost every conceivable leisure facility. Alas, no time to indulge.

Today’s first rendesvous was with a few keen cyclists from Youghal Lifeboat Station. John (LTO) had already insisted on arranging for all my baggage to be picked up, so that unladen Fondo and I could breeze through Dungarvan and up the long climb out…   8 miles later, we were still climbing, into a gentle but cold headwind! Thanks be to Laura, on this Good Friday, that I was travelling light today. John(crew training co-ord), ‘Tuck’ (Helm), Liam (ILB crew) and young Jason (future crew) met me, as planned, about half way to Youghal, turned back into wind and set a cracking pace, like a mini peloton, all the way down & around the coast to Youghal.

20170414_113624An unexpected and impressive reception had been arranged for our arrival at their ILB Station, where lunch had been prepared. And that’s not where the Youghal hospitality and support ended. A very generous contribution to the fund plus continued company on the road all the way to Ballycotton ALB Station. If I had cycled solo, as normal, fully laden, into wind, I might have arrived just about on schedule. But with the Youghal effect, we were there about an hour ahead of time.

Many, many thanks this time, to Derry (LOM), Mark(DLA), Brendan (DLA), Seamus (mech) and Laura (catering & transport) plus the aforementioned intrepid cyclists. On arrival, it was immediately clear that the crews of today’s two flanking stations get on very well, sometimes meeting out at sea on a joint exercise or combined call to service.20170415_092709

Ballycotton Lifeboat Station overlooks the harbour, with a good range of small fishing boats and the tall Trent Class all-weather Lifeboat proudly taking centre stage on it’s mooring at the harbour entrance. More crew to meet here, including Eolan (Cox’n), Peter (Mech), Sìla, Clare, Stephen & Barry (crew). The early arrival allowed more time for shared refreshments and Lifeboat banter. Where does the time go? Many thanks Eolan, Nessa and Saoirse for the warm welcome and invitation to join you at your family table for a very Good Friday fish supper.

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