It’s better late than never, and this whole video editing lark is a lot harder and more time consuming that I initially would have anticipated, however after far too long a wait here is the footage from Day 1.
I literally had to trawl through hours of footage but the fact that it is over a year old is pretty irrelevant, the route itself is still very much there, it took 10,000s of years to for the earth to make the coast, hopefully it has millions more years left for us to enjoy, so once again apologies it took so long, and apologies for the fact I am a supreme novice when it comes to video editing, however hopefully you can enjoy the scenery, (and the soundtrack) and maybe even be inspired to pop over to Ireland to experience this epic route!
The remainder of the videos are coming and will be uploaded as soon as I can piece them together, if you want to make sure you get notifications when they are available make sure to follow this blog or me on Twitter or Facebook.
One thing I did notice (for example in comparison to the Irish Wild Atlantic Way) was the lack of signage. Unless you knew you were actually on the NC500 you probably wouldn’t know you were on it.
The GPX file is available from the official North Coast 500 site, along with a printable map however my Sat Nav (a Tom Tom Rider V) found it far too complex, there are thousands of way points on it, and the sat nav just just refused to load it. The printable map is nice, but let’s be honest an A4 map covering 500 miles isn’t an ideal solution either.
Thankfully there is a good solution. I found this GPX, I have no idea where, or who made it but is sat nav friendly and guides you perfectly around the route.
Here are the links to the complete ride report on my #WAWIn1Week Trip, there is plenty of other interesting stuff on the site, I hope, so feel free to have a look about, but if you have come here for the Wild Atlantic Way reports, here is everything you need. Thanks for stopping by and having a look and hopefully you enjoy the photos and reports!
It is now Saturday 1st August 2015, the last day of my Wild Atlantic Way Trip. From start of the trail to this point has been five full, long days, today being the sixth. My target – The Wild Atlantic Way in 1 Week. I have only one more leg to do and it will be achieved, with a full day to spare. Result, almost.
Today’s leg looks a short one, Letterkenny to Muff in Donegal. Muff as you can already expect must be one of the most photographed town signs on the whole island. It is called Muff after all! I estimated today leg about 200 miles, for once this estimate was reasonably accurate!
Yesterday’s horrendous weather is a distant memory, but there are still a few very dark and ominous clouds floating about. Fingers crossed!
One Signature Point on the Route today : (The most Westerly point on the above map is Fanned Head which was covered on 31/07/2015).
Malin Head :
Rugged yet inviting, Donegal’s Malin Head is steeped in history and offers activities such as walking, fishing, swimming and bird watching. Here, north of Trawbreaga Bay, you can view Five Finger Strand, home to some of Europe’s largest sand dunes. At low tide, you can even spot the wreckage of the ‘Twilight’, which sank in 1889 while sailing to Derry. For more history, follow the coast road. You’ll pass the old radio station, built in 1910, and The Tower, a derelict signal station located on Banba’s Crown, the most northerly point in Ireland. It’s the perfect place to relax with a picnic, as the stunning panorama includes Inistrahull and Tory islands, as well as the Scottish hills on a clear day. Plus, you can work off any extra indulgences with a walk along the cliffs to Hell’s Hole, a chasm where the tide rushes in with impressive force. If treasure hunting is more your speed, head east to Ballyhillion beach, which dates back to the ice age and is known for its many semi-precious stones.
Friday 31st July 2015 takes me onto the penultimate day of my Wild Atlantic Way adventure. I mentioned previously that by Day 4 I was really enjoying myself and after a long day yesterday, and a night in a great hotel I am thinking I need to get back here and do this whole thing a whole lot more slowly. I remember the few things that were annoying me over the first couple of days and now realise they weren’t really that annoying, just a fact of travelling on a tourist route growing in popularity.
I take a look over the map, the route taking me from Sligo to Letterkenny, and it looks like it is another long day, but then I look at the weather. Oh dear. This does not look too promising, there is a yellow warning for rain! I’m going to get wet! Also my initial and completely inaccurate distance calculations have me travelling 186 miles today. So I’m definitely more than that!
Leaving the hotel and things are dry, however the sky is very dark, grey and ominous and it doesn’t take too long for the skies to open and boy they open! I got wet on my journey down to the start of the WAW, and that only took me 4 hours, today I’m sure I have 10 -12 hours of it it looks like the only question will be how will the gear hold out?
Three more Signature Points to visit today (Downpatrick Head is the most Southerly Signature Point on the map, however it was visited yesterday). Today’s points are :
(The other point on the map above between Sliabh Liag and Fannad Head is Donegal Airport – a small airport with services Dublin with two daily flights.)
Thursday 30th July 2015 and we have safely arrived at Day 4 of the #WAWIn1Week Challenge, and at this stage of the game I am really enjoying myself. The niggles I had over too much traffic and what can only be described as piss poor driving are still there but only so very slightly. I am much more in tune with it, I know what to expect and to ‘get out and round’ as soon as possible and when ‘they’ are holding me up, to just relax and take in the breathtaking scenery. All is good as we commence Day 4 and I am now finding it all going a little too quickly, when you look at the map this journey is not too far away from being completed and that’s actually a little sad. So best get enjoying it!
Today the journey takes me from Clifton, Co. Galway to Sligo, Co. Sligo. My panning stages have me to be believing this section of the route to be about 250 miles but if I have learnt one big thing from planning this trip is that I have always under estimated. Normally by a good amount, Day 4 was actually closer to 300 miles, it was a long day and that was the greatest downfall of the day.
This is also the Day that instead of booking into a B&B I got a cracking deal on a hotel and stayed at the Yeats Country Hotel at Rosses Point, Sligo. This is where the long day fell foul, this hotel is lovely and I would have loved to have factored in an earlier finish so I could have relaxed and enjoyed their facilities. The bar looked great, there was a brilliant fitness centre and the restaurant as I was arriving was closing but the place smelled great!
I ended up with a curry chip from the only take-away in the town, a Chinese that was getting ready to close as well. As I say that is the only disappointment and it was self made, I didn’t get enough time to enjoy this brilliant spot!
Although from the route above it looks like there are four signature points shown on this section there are again 3, the one closest to the bottom is just before Clifden and it was done the previous day (Derrigimlagh).
Wednesday 29th July 2015 and we are at Day 3 of the #WAWIn1Week. Today’s route takes me from Ballybunion, Co. Kerry to Clifden, Co. Galway. My initial planning had worked today out to be somewhere around 205 miles, however again I underestimated a bit and it clocked up at closer to 270 miles.
One thing that makes this leg a little different is that you have the option of getting on a boat, this is a good idea as it will keep you away from Limerick, which is big, busy and is going to take up a good bit of time to pass through, either of the ferries will keep you motoring on and keep you on track staying on the coast.
It was another long day in the saddle, with few breaks, other than at the signature points, of which there were three today, namely :
Tuesday 28th July 2015 and it is Day 2 of the #WAWIn1Week. Today’s route takes me from Kenmare, Co. Kerry to Ballybunion, Co. Kerry. I had worked this out at about 230 miles when planning the route, however this is a long, long leg. It’s probably closer to 280 – 300 miles and the with a pretty heavy volume of traffic, and some pretty small tight roads it leads to a long day in the saddle. Today I was on the bike for a solid 12 hours with few stops. Lunch for example was about 2.30pm at a garage on a picnic bench on the way to Dingle. Tasty fresh sandwiches though, and friendly staff so it was grand, but time was the main issue I had today.
This section of the route took me to two signature points today :
Update : 28/10/2016 : The YouTube video of Day 1 is now available for your viewing pleasure…Enjoy!
So this is Day 1 proper of my trip along the Wild Atlantic Way. The route takes me from Kinsale to Kenmare and is approximately 287 miles.
As you can see from the map above there are 3 Signature Points in this section of the route, namely :
Old Head of Kinsale
The Signature Points along the WAW are what have been deemed as the ‘unmissable’ along the route and to be fair they are unmissable, when you are here make sure you check them out! On my trip I managed to stop at each of these points my only warning in relation to them is – they are busy. You can go for many many miles and not see another soul, however as you approach these Signature Points everything else increases, so the traffic can get quite heavy at some points, annoyingly heavy and be aware no one in front of you seems to care or be aware of what is going on behind them.
Old Head of Kinsale :
The Old Head of Kinsale is a remarkably dramatic piece of Ireland, protruding more than 3km into the Atlantic Ocean. Located on the Southwest Coast in County Cork, it is famous for its world-class, 18-hole golf course. Nine holes play along the tops of the cliffs, but all 18 holes boast stunning views of the ocean. Long before it became a golfer’s paradise, Old Head was known for its lighthouse, established in the 17th century by Robert Reading. This is also the nearest land point to the site where the RMS Lusitania sank in 1915, after being hit by a German torpedo. Nearly 1,200 people perished in the incident. While Kinsale is a beautiful place to admire on land, it’s best seen from the sea. You can take in views of this port town and learn more about its history with a trip aboard ‘The Spirit of Kinsale’, which brings passengers across the harbour, past Charles Fort and right to the edge of the harbour where you will get a great view of the Old Head of Kinsale before returning to port passing James Fort on the way.
The Causeway Coastal Route, in Northern Ireland currently sits at Number 3 in the Top Ten Driving Roads in the world! That is amazing, and it has been in the top ten consistently for the last 10 years!
It runs from Belfast to Portrush and takes a good couple of hours to complete, or many more hours if you decide to check out the numerous scenic points and forest drives along the way. It truly is stunning and on a bright, sunny day it is simply outstanding. If you ever have the privilege of visiting Northern Ireland the ‘Coast Road’ is an absolute must.
However as you travel along it you will come across a sign post for Torr Head Scenic Route, this is one of many brown ‘Tourist’ Signs dotted along the Causeway Route, and it can be hard to decide which ones to go for and even harder – which ones to miss.
This is one you can not miss. This is one of my favourite roads in the country and although I love the Causeway Route I often drive it just to get to the Torr Road. The views here are breathtaking as you weave up and down the mountains before arriving at Torr Head View point. An old abandoned Coast guard post remains, and when the weather is good you can clearly see Scotland, which sits a mere 12 miles in front of you. It is a nice climb to see the Coast Guards’ Station but truthfully it is all about this road, it is like something in the movies, honestly, drive it, you will not be disappointed!