The Epic Boat & Bike Tour

Saturday 7 July, Schull to Killarney

We got in to Killarney early, dumped our bags at the hostel, and split up. Kate and a few others went horse riding, while myself and four others raced to the bike hire shop and then to the wharf, where the wizened old man had been waiting for half an hour.

He put the bikes in the front of the boat, and off we went for a boat trip up the river. The scenery was stunning, past castles and bridges and rapids and sheep. And very relaxing, except for when we went up the rapids - the three girls got out and walked, and us two boys got out and pushed and pulled the boat up, while the old man sat in the boat and gunned the engine.

An hour later we were at the top of the lakes, where we pulled the bikes from the boat. After realising we didn't have the maps we were meant to have, the boatman gave us some rough directions and we set off up the gap between the mountains. Up and up and up and up... sometimes the slope was rideable, sometimes it was too steep and we got off the bikes and pushed. I lost more weight that day that the rest of the holiday combined, but being on that beautiful hill more than made up for it.

We felt bloody good when we got to the top, though.

Then started the trip back down. I didn't want to use the front brakes going down such a steep slope in case I went head over bum, so I only used the back ones, which made the bike skid, leading to a monumentally spectacular crash about twenty metres down the track. In full view of everyone at the top of the gap looking down. Oh well.

I started off down the hill again, minus half the skin on my hands, enjoying the downhill slope - much easier than the uphill, of course, and fairly safe once I started using both the front and the back brakes together. An hour or so down the hill, and another hour or two going back round the hill was enough for Christina and Matt, but the other three of us decided to bike on past the town to a pretty waterfall we'd been told about. And so began Part II of The Great Bike Adventure.

We narrowly avoided death a few times avoiding a motorcyclists' convention, then pushed on down another pretty little path to an old manor house another few kilometres down a bike track, and another few kilometres till we finally got to the waterfall. It was pretty, and well worth the extra ride.

Then the long trek back to the hostel for a long, long hot shower, After about eight hours of bike riding, that shower felt good. I sloshed Dettol on my hands where the skin used to be and we all went off to find burgers for tea. The evening's entertainment in the pub was a lot of fun (I'm told), but I missed it entirely by going to bed for a long, deep sleep.