We circumnavigated the bottom of scenic Ards peninsula, and north through shore towns with Union Flags and kerbstones painted red, white and blue. We took and coffee and light lunch in Newtownards, a friendly little loyalist town, with its pipe band braying benignly away benignly in the market-stall square.
A local chap admired my Raleigh. ’Made in the United Kingdom!’ he said approvingly. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it had been manufactured in Cambodia
A few short climbs got us to the Greenway, and seven miles of good tarmac railtrail into Belfast. The Titanic Quarter was touristy, shiny and new, and we cycled into town along the riverside development. We took on supplies at Tesco, and it seemed like only yesterday this city was a place of conflict and riots.
Actually, it was, literally yesterday. Rival groups stoned the police at some parade, but there was no trace today apart from a few wary police Land Rovers.
Cycle tracks led us through a deserted factory area then along good tarmac tracks by the side of the motorway, swept along by tailwinds. The waterside cycle path north, to Whiteabbey, was as lovely as the weather wasn’t: it was grey and fine drizzle. A succession of images all viewed through gauzy mist and rain: good tarmac in a country park; an hour-long slog uphill; humdrum hilly farmland; decent downhills to our B&B, an organic farmhouse with hearty food, boutique rooms, and notices round the fields asking you to pick up your own dung.
I presume they mean your horses’.
Miles today: 65
Miles since Cranfield Point: 128