Frday 13th, leaving for the Troon Ferry in drizzle and in commuter traffic- oh joy! Looking forward to an unknown destination in terms of facilities, comfort, food, cold/hot- again- I should have stayed in bed.
Just out of Glasgow on the M77, the weather dries out & by the time I get to the ferry, 1st one there, it looked like it would remain dry.
Ferry departed on time- no crisis. We had arranged that we would eat on the boat, to give us more time to get to Lisnaskea in time and use more interesting routes.
We gathered together with our hosts, the Ulster 30 Club & the Mad Dog Club (well named!), just out of Larne. Greetings over- we were offered 2 routes “steady” with George leading, and “anything but Steady” behind Ken.
I can only comment on the “Anything but—!” Ken took us a real bikers route via Ballymena, Toome, Ballyronan, Coagh, Coalisland, M1 to the tea stop at Upper Clonanesse Presbyterian Church, near Dungannon.
Unusual to have tea & goodies (supplied by Ken & his bakery), out in the open. The Church Hall was available if seriously wet.
After refreshments we set off in 2 groups again, with similar agendas (I can’t quote any figures)- to let you understand, The faster route went via Ballygawley, Augher, Clogher, Fivemiletown, Maguiresbridge and just after 5 pm, we arrived at the Share Village in Lisnaskea.
Initially, we were shocked to find we had to make up our own beds, no towels or soap in the wet room. However, most was sorted out, & the rest of the stay at the Share facility was great fun. Helped by the fact we were the only group staying in this huge place,
The Friday evening meal was fine, plenty of drink consumed before, during & after the meal, & your writer (who should know better), consumed too much, too quickly & was a disgrace for a man of his standing or leaning.
After a hefty breakfast on Saturday morning we gathered for a 10 am start. This time joined, at last, by a significant number of Mad Dogs. (they have a reputation to uphold in the stopping of traffic at junctions) A fabulous run, lead by Ken, in and out of the Republic.. At a good rate, with climb up to Anterin Mountain being the highlight at the car park at the top.
There, acouple of sheep seemed to be more interested in our arrival, & seemed to know Ken. I don’t know why? We returned to Lisnaskea to have lunch at the “community” Centre (I believe part of the Church). We lingered in the sunshine & let Grumpy take fotos.
Saturday afternoon was a choice of back to Share, to perhaps recover from the night before (me, me), afternoon run, or tractor show before a boat trip,
What a hoot the boat trip was. The fotos on board give the game away- Loadsa booze, rapidly consumed & more believe it or not, reserves brought by speedboat to enable us not to die of dehydration. The young girls in charge had never experienced a drought such as was disgustingly demonstrated by those on board.Restocking with drinks!
On Saturday evening, we were advised by P & O that the Troon Ferry was cancelled the next day. Kenny Hair guided those affected (with the help of a Mad Dog) starting 9.15am to get the alternative ferry via Cairnryan, & all turned out OK.
The rest of us departed at 10.am via Newtownbutler, Clones, Monaghan, ArmaghCity (ecclesiastical capital of Ireland), Portadown to Lurgan, were we lunched at Brownlow House, beside the magnificent public park.
Thereafter we split up going our separate ways.
A fab weekend, thanks to George & Ken and their helpers.