Belfast – Cairnryan – Mull of Galloway – Newton Stewart
After an uneventful crossing on the ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan, I exited the boat to find that the Irish mist had turned to Scottish rain. I sheltered under the customs search area while I donned my waterproofs, and almost got locked in to the port, as all the traffic had disembarked, and the security person was shutting the gates.
The rain continued in various shades of severity all the way to the lighthouse at the Mull of Galloway, which I reached at 12.15. I had been looking out for Belted Galloways, a breed of cow, en route, but the only one that I saw was on a road sign, where some wag had put some strips of white tape down the middle. I’m not a connoisseur of cattle breeds, but I think that most of the cows that I saw were either Friesians or Jerseys.
As I approached the lighthouse, which I could at least see, unlike the one at Mizen Head, there was a section of road with no fencing, and cows were wandering across it. I passed them slowly, repeating “No need to be alarmed”, thinking that hearing a human voice would be more reassuring than merely seeing a fluorescent figure. Round a corner I saw a fully grown bull, and I did see a need to be alarmed myself. Thankfully the bull wasn’t interested in me, and I passed it unscathed.
After lunch at the café, looking out at the sea, the weather seemed to have cleared up, so I dispensed with my waterproofs as I started my journey northwards. I hadn’t got more than a few miles before I was stopping to put them back on again.
I was making good time, and so when I passed a sign to Kirkmadrine standing stones, I thought that I would take a look. The signposting petered out, however, and I didn’t find them, although I did see a rather lovely old church, now abandoned, nestling in the undulating hills. I would have gone to investigate, but didn’t feel comfortable leaving my bike unattended this early in the trip.
Once back on the route, it didn’t take me long to get to the A75, which would take me all the way to Newton Stewart, where I would be stopping for the night. Once again I was fooled by brighter skies into shedding my waterproofs, and once again I had to stop two miles down the road to put them on again. I decided to keep them on, come what may, until I reached the B&B.
The skies did brighten a little as I approached, and I got my first glimpse of the Galloway hills, through which I will be riding tomorrow. I also saw my second ‘Belted Galloway’, this time at the B&B in the form of a ‘no vacancies’ sign!
All my clothes are now drying on the towel rail in my room, and I have just enjoyed tea and biccies. Off to find food and internet access to upload this!
Day 1 Statistics
Miles ridden: 6.8 (NI) + 70.4 (Scotland) = 77.2 miles
Feet climbed: 113 + 2243 = 2356 feet
No of Belted Galloways seen: 0
No of bulls chased by: 0, thankfully!