Red Bay to Larne

Day 136, Weds 17 May

My shortest day ahead, a mere 23 miles of snaking coastline, just a few feet above sea level, a very short stone’s throw from the ebbing tide and no hills! Not as thrilling as yesterday’s roller-coaster, vertigo inducing, leg burning, brake-block melting ride along County Antrim’s North East coast, but still a great ride, this time around the bottom of some mighty tall cliffs, along a boulder-strewn shoreline. No time for rolling back the stones. I can still just about see The Mull of Kintyre over my left shoulder.

I had to try very hard to find something to complain about today. Then it occurred to me that there were several cyclists, often in pairs, zooming past me, going in the opposite direction at a very rapid pace. Of course! The wind was on their backs! Wimps! Where were they all yesterday, when I was struggling over Benmore, Fair Head and Torr Head? I don’t recall a single cyclist other than me all day yesterday.

Having estimated a journey of a little less than two hours, I was crushed to discover that, as Fondo’s front wheel made gentle contact with the white painted wall of Larne Lifeboat Station, Garmin had recorded and now displayed 25.2 miles in 2hrs:01min! Was it the moderate southerly headwind or the missed left turn short-cut to the harbour? Or a combination of both? I’ll get over it.

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An undeserved but very kind welcoming committee greeted me upstairs in the crew room. Thanks Derek (Station Mech), Fiona & Barry (A&ILB crew and parents of wee Isla, future crew), for the instant production of a generously filled chicken, bacon & mayo sandwich, pink fondant fancies and mug of hot tea! Later, Willy (ILB Helm & ALB crew) and Norman (2nd Cox’n and world record breaking pilot, the first and so far only one to circumnavigate the world in an Auto Giro) called in to say hello. We’re both wondering what to do next.  Maybe a joint ANTI clockwise rotation of UK&ROI in an Autogyro fitted with floats.

What a great bunch. A full tour of the LB Station, which included some unusual extra kit, this also being the North East Ireland base for the Flood Rescue Service. Next to their regular D Class ILB,  is another more basic version of a D Class boat and a second, specially equipped very low mileage, semi submersible RNLI Landrover.

Thanks again to Derek and all the crew here for looking after me so well, including organising my bed for the night in the neighbouring Harbour House Inn B&B.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s scheduled rest day. Meeting up with senior brother John and sister in law Nicky who are staying in Belfast City.

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