Ian rises to cycle challenge which takes him the length of Ireland

Ian catches his breath on his journey from Mizen Head to Malin Head.
Ian catches his breath on his journey from Mizen Head to Malin Head.

Portadown man Ian McDowell is taking some time ‘out of the saddle’ after an epic cycle adventure for charity.

Ian (51) was accompanied by a friend from the BB on the 420-mile journey the length of Ireland, from Mizen Head to Malin Head to raise funds for friends from Portadown Baptist Church carrying out a mission with Fields of Life.

Ian, a paramedic with the ambulance service and a member of 4th Portadown Boys’ Brigade, provided the Times with a diary of his five day adventure.

Day One:“We were seen off from Portadowntrain station at 7am by the group travelling to Uganda from Fields Of Life. After arriving in Goleen, we cycled out to Mizen Head to the most southerly point of Ireland.”

Day Two: “We’d a gentle ride to Bantry and climb up the Caha Gap into Kenmare, and over Molls Gap with spectacular views over the lakes and snow topped mountains, into Killarney.”

Day Three: “We had a frosty start from Killarney and a long climb into Tralee, across to Listowel for lunch halt. Afternoon cycled to Tarbert to catch the ferry across the Shannon into Killimer, following the Shannon Estuary into Ennis clocking 80 miles.”

Day Four: “From Ennis we cycled miles over the moon-like surface of the Burren then followed around Galway bay into Galway City. Not having enough time to soak up the atmosphere in Galway we pushed on to Ballinrobe and ended up in Claremorris where we met with ex-Portadown residents Jonathon and Nicole McCracken who are based here with European Christian Mission.”

Day Five: “From Claremorris we kept heading north towards Sligo and followed along the coast road through Bundoran and into the beach resort of Rossnowlagh. Unfortunately everywhere was closed for the winter and we had to push on in fading light into Donegal town by torch light. Eventually clocking 102 miles for the day.”

Day Six: “On the last day we had to make a big push north for the top of Ireland and Malin Head finish. Unfortunately the weather turned for the worse and persistent rain and mist ensued for the whole day.

“Through Barnesmore Gap, Ballybofey and over the hills into Raphoe and St Johnston and Buncrana. From here it was all hills up to Cardonagh and Malin Village and through the mist Malin Head eventually emerged in the distance.

“The last miles were awash with rain and then we eventually arrived at Malin Head with the mist rolling off the sea, leaving us exhausted cold and very wet. However we were overjoyed to have arrived and a sense of achievement set in that we had made it so far from our southerly start point to our northern finish point averaging 80+ miles a day on our bikes.”