Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Road to Bally

A bit of work took me across the water. The plan was to get the ferry to Belfast, run to the site near Ballyclare, do the survey and get the bus back. I had to take my 'tools' which fitted into a medium sized backpack. When I felt it the night before it didn't seem to weigh much at all.

The A75 is some sort of Truckfest with artic's thundering along the winding and scenic highway from Gretna to the ferry terminal at Stranraer which I'd never been to before. I caught glimpses of some nice hills through the trees north of Newton Stewart and Creetown that might be worth a visit. The roads a little like the road along Loch Lomond in parts. I dumped the car and occupied the customs team for about 5 seconds as only 1 of 7 foot passengers.

The trip on a flat murky green sea was 3 hours long and it took another 20 minutes to disembark by which time I was late. As with all good British transport, the bus had left 4 minutes before so an executive decision had to be made and I grabbed the only taxi before the 2 ladies and 4 lads had a chance and we sped off. What a gent!

I wanted the driver to go via the Doagh Road to see what the road back was like and we got snarled up in some roadworks. The meter rose with alarming speed and I de-bunked a half a mile early in an effort to avoid the national debt. He was very helpful and asked how I was getting back. Dressed in my hoodie and ron hill bottoms I replied I might run, to which he recoiled 'what are ye, some kind of marathon man?!' After all whats 12.2 miles to a time seasoned old blogger like me, eh?

Work done , I collected the gear and hit the road back to Old Smokie. Hillhead Road was narrow with no footpaths along much of its 2 miles and its an old road that's banked up at the sides. The drivers were pretty considerate on the whole though. I chose Cartmel Road at the roundabout with some modern artwork. It is the old 'high' road over the motorway and it was grind up the hill with a sign at the top just in case I didn't appreciate the sweat. After that it was downhill through Mossley, past a biddy who didn't know her geography but tried to be as helpful as possible and then down the Doagh road at 7 miles by which time the backpack was making its presence felt.

A stop for water and a long 3 mile jog along the flat Shore Road (with the light and my legs failing) earned me a fish at the chip shop and I walked the last mile through the deserted docks to catch the evening trip back across the water. A mini adventure.

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