Sorry we missed updating you yesterday. Just to explain why; we woke up to driving rain, a yellow weather warning for central Scotland and winds. My nephew, Connor joined us for the start and arrived soaking wet just from the other side of Edinburgh! He wasn’t put off though and started with us. Carl filmed from the back of Robert’s van, so the film may have lots of close ups of our wet, streaming faces. Time restrictions meant we had a long stint to do on the A71, so you can imagine.. lorries hurtling past sending extra water and wind and lots of mud our way too…. Robert found us after 35 miles and bought soup and sandwiches… and we gradually thawed out and got a bit of strength back. Carl took over from me for a couple of hours and although it was dry, there were some serious hills. I got back on my bike to join Reka who of course was cycling without any break, although she did stop in a bus shelter in pouring rain for a moment to phone her lovely husband! I managed the last 15 miles into Troon, again in more rain. We finallly arrived at the wonderful South Beach Hotel in Troon, where the lovely, welcoming staff met us with big smiles, help with our bags, took our bikes to be locked up and an hour later,after a hot bath, a Glenmorangie and dry clothes… we were all smiles again. Pru and Toddy arrived from Troon station to ride the Ireland stretch with us. It was lovely to have their fresh enthusiasm and excitement and to know they would be with us for the next few days. Thank you everyone at the South Beach Hotel in Troon. They sponsored us with lovely rooms, breakfasts and just couldn’t do enough for us. So anyone going to Troon for any reason, that’s the hotel to go to. Took the ferry to Larne this morning and met David, antoher cyclist from Belfast on his way home. He’d been staying in our hotel and very kindly offfered to start us off on the best route to Belfast, via Glenoe waterfall. So of course, we had to stop for a dip in (photos to follow as evidence)the fall. Thank you David for taking the time to start us off. Oh and thank you P and O Ferries for very cheap ferry tickets! Pru had bought a perfect picnic so just a few hours after our usual huge breakfast, we were ready to demolish a picnic with ease… We got into Belfast about 4 and decided today was the first day we had the time to do a photo shoot with our Boden sponsored clothes… a 25 mile ride today has felt like luxury…. So Reka, Pru and I had a brilliant fun hour trying on dresses for the photo shoot. We went into Belfast and did a shoot underneath a beautiful mural made by a local primary school near the Antrim Road. Whilst we were modelling our sponsored dresses for Boden, a group of little girls came to see what was happening and it turned out that they’d been involved in the mural and showed us the flowers and spots they had painted. Thank you Melissa, Paula and Emily… and for being in our photos! Don’t forget to follow the blog with us. Pru and Toddy are staying at the Somerton House hotel, big thank yous to Mannix and Elaine for their sponsorship and Global Village in Belfast also offered rooms, infact Belfast has been amazing for hospitality. Reka, Carl and I are staying with Di and Stephen and their lovely family in theri gorgeous house tonight so as I’m blogging, Stephen and Reka are working out tomorrow’s route, our wet and dirty cycyling clothes are in their washing machine, our trainers are in their drying rooom and a sunny day is forecast for tomorrow so although it’s going to be a long route, about 75 miles, the countryside looks beautiful and no rain means so much! Forgot to say thank you to Jury’s Inn, who gave us all a 3 course dinner earlier this evening. Carl has promised to crop some photos for tomorrow… he’s filming, driving, photographing and cycling, plus downloading film every night so we have to be patient… It’s been a couple of days of big ups and downs, huge hills, busy roads, lots of weather… but also generous and lovely people, warm dinners and comfy beds, laughter and survival….. which leaves us with big smiles and warmed hearts at the end of the days.
Bye for now…..