Lady Ann and I have just returned from our annual road trip. Something we started a couple of years ago when we discovered we were not getting any younger and if we left it much longer it would be too late.
We decided the day after boxing day that this year’s adventure would be on the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. So after months of planning and booking hotels and what we would like to see it was all planned with military precision (that is how deluded I am, it never goes to plan does it).
So early on a Sunday morning, we packed the car with enough clothes for a month, satchels containing ferry reservations, hotel confirmations, route plans, maps and even the iPad just in case we needed technology backup. I know I said it was going to be wild, but the Comfortable Atlantic Way doesn’t seem to sound quite like an attractive proposition.
We arrived in time for our ferry to Ireland, had a peaceful three hours eating and sleeping ready for our dash across to the west coast for our first nights stop in Galway.
Our next stop was the Cliffs of Moher and onto Lahinch for Pizza with some Surfer Dudes who looked at us as though we were in the wrong place but very pleasant all the same. After a quick trip on the Kilrush Ferry, it was onto Limerick for another overnight stop.
Now the highlight of the trip for me was to explore the Dingle peninsula with all its incredible scenery and some great beaches. We even took a boat ride out to spot Dolphins which we did in Scotland last year which didn’t produce any significant sightings. This was very different. We spotted one so close you could have reached out and touched him.
So this is where the adventure really starts. After three days travelling Lady Ann was getting Cabin Fever so we decided to take a short cut to our final destination which when we looked on the map seems a rational decision to make. What could possibly go wrong?
To help us along the way I put our destination into the Sat Nat and pressed go and away we went following the instructions from the very annoying lady in the device.
Everything was going swimmingly well for the first 20 or so miles then she told us to turn left into a single track road which I duly did. I thought it must be a short cut through to another main road, how wrong was I then.
It took us through a mountain pass called the Priests Leap for 20 or so miles on a single track. The scenery was spectacular, we saw Rabbits and various birds which you only see in the wilderness.
Once you reach the top of the pass (350m) you get spectacular panoramic views of Bantry Bay. But this is not only a visual highlight, in this place, but there is also absolute silence. Only the bleating of some sheep could be heard from time to time.
In twenty miles we only saw two more cars and I had to reverse a couple of hundred yards so they could pass. The driver in the other car looked even more startled than us which made me feel less of a wimp.
Once we came down the other side which was equally terrifying and we reached civilisation and drew a sharp intake of breath and do what one does in these situations, find a cafe and have a brew and some cake (if more people did this the world would be a much nicer place).
When we reached Kinsale our destination I decided to check carefully the route back, I didn’t fancy another repeat performance and I checked the settings on the Sat Nav and I discovered what the issue was.
Every SatNav has settings that you should use to modify its operation to what you need it to do. One of these settings was the choice between the quickest route or the most economical. I set it to quickest and my issues evaporated.
But it got me thinking. Firstly, my Crossfire was possibly the only Crossfire ever to visit the summit and two it was a journey that made me feel just a little scared and that is no bad thing at my age.
It will make a great tale to tell in the pub after a couple of pints.
We had a brilliant week in Ireland and one thing is certain, we will be back next year to do the other half of the route. We saw some great things, met some fantastic people, ate and drunk far too much and loved every minute of the trip.
Now that is the measure of a good road trip. As Douglas Adams once famously said. “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.
Here is the rest of the trip in a couple of minutes