My Activity Tracking
My target 1800 mi
24th May - 4th June 2023 - I am raising vital funds for life-changing mental health treatment for veterans.
I am undertaking an 1,800-mile motorcycle ride which will see me travel around the Republic of Ireland in 12 days whilst visiting various sites of significance each day.
As a former member of the armed forces, I have encountered many people who have experienced difficulties because of their service.
Combat Stress is the UK's leading charity for veterans' mental health. For over a century, they've helped former servicemen and women deal with issues like trauma, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Today, they provide support to veterans from every service and every conflict.
I’m taking on vital steps towards ensuring veterans can get the support they need.
Please would you kindly consider supporting the event by donating via this page.
Thank you so much for your support.
Day 12 - Home Safe and SoundSunday 4th Jun So I am writing this one a bit later than recently. Has been a long hot day heading home. The traffic from Wales heading east was pretty bad. After the last 11 days of not seeing much traffic, today certainly made up for that. After a lovely smooth cruise on the ferry I found a delightful 6 mile queue around Cardiff, followed by an 11 mile queue towards Bristol as the Almondsbury junction and to M32 is being dug up again. Lots of hectic filtering and jealous car drivers actively trying to block my progress led me to once again and already long for those open, yet twisty roads in Ireland. In terms of miles I have exceeded the target set so please everyone be grateful you pledged a fixed amount and not per mile. Ha ha. But honestly, thank you so so much to everyone who has donated to this event and Combat Stress. I really appreciate how kind and generous everyone has been. Thank you so much. I will try and upload some other pictures in the week. Thanks once again. Truly amazing. Share
Day 11 - Bank Holiday MayhemSaturday 3rd Jun Well to start todays update a word of advice……. On a bank holiday weekend don’t get within 30 miles of Dublin. Certainly don’t try to enter Dublin as you won’t get in…….why???……. Because everyone is trying to leave and either go on holiday or visit the local attraction and visitor centres in the North East of the Republic. I have literally been in traffic jams not realising why only to find these are queues to get into these attractions. The Fun Park I passed looked anything but as at 1000hrs a long queue of cats were on the main road with people out of their cars due to the wait and that was just to enter the car park. Lol. I guess it doesn’t help the fact that some of the school years have also started their 3 month summer holidays!!! Yes 3 months. Anyway, I escape the mayhem and found some awesome twisty and quiet roads in County Wicklow and through Wicklow Gap. I stopped at Ferns where there is the remains of a 7th century monastery. Continuing on my journey back to Rosslare Harbour I went via Wexford (in the County of the same name), and took some shots of Wexford Harbour. I am now back at Rosslare where I got off the Ferry 11 days ago. I have already surpassed the 1,800 mile target. But as I mentioned before there were so many places to see and so the odd detour adding extra miles were worth it every time. One thing I have learned about this trip is that I have have got just as much out of those opportune moments and places that have presented themselves on the trip as i have from all of the planning I did beforehand. Spontaneity should not be ignored; there are so many brown (tourist/attraction) signs and well worth following them sometime. You will be amazed what you are presented with. There is so much out there to see, experience and explore!! Share
Day 10 - ‘Whiskey in the Jar’Friday 2nd Jun
Well this morning started at 0500hrs. ‘What does the O stand for?…….Oh my God it’s early!’ (bonus point for anyone who can name the film the quote comes from - lol). Anyway got up at that time so that I could try and get some pictures of Knock 1. With the sun coming up and 2. Before people were around and getting in the way. Lol. I will upload some pictures as usual. On todays route I decided to have a change and stop off at the Tullamore Distillery and yes there certainly was whiskey in the jar, (but as it was County Offaly there wasn’t any sign of the Kerry Mountains or Captain Farrell). There was such a strong smell of alcohol and whiskey even before I had pulled into the grounds. Outside the building in the open air was the very unmistakable smell inviting the visitors in. Sadly, no more room left on the bike to purchase anything, too many gifts on board. Lol.
My route took me through 6 counties today: Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Westmeath, Offaly and Kildare. Oh and as I got here too early for the B&B, I quickly popped into County Wicklow as well (so 7, I just can’t count). As you would expect from the inland counties the scenery has changed to countryside with lakes and rivers. Some parts resembled English countryside apart from the road markings, signs and house designs, (there are a lot of bungalows and 1 1/2 storey houses over here). Tomorrow when I travel more into Wicklow I plan to go through the mountains on my way to Glendalough, but I already miss the Wild Atlantic Way and indeed those Kerry Mountains!! 😉Share
Day 9 - Rest & ReflectionThursday 1st Jun Well I arrived at Knock in County Mayo last night. I was kindly given 2 nights Bed, Breakfast and Dinner at St Mary’s Accommodation which is part of Knock Shrine. So I have only covered 2 miles today and that has been on foot as Day 9 has been a period of rest and reflection. A mini retreat you could call it. It has meant the buzzing in my ears from engine and wind noise has had a chance to pass. Lol. So whilst walking around I have had the benefit of peace and quiet and explored the grounds and buildings. I will upload some pictures and identify them in the titles. I have also been shopping in the local area, (well it’s only a street really - lol) and picked up a couple more gifts to take home. Now wondering whether I have enough space in my top box and panniers to accommodate them. Well, after the tranquility of today, tomorrow it’s back on the bike for another 200ish miles. Oh and it’s ok to use ish over here as most shops work on ish for opening times. They open at 9-ish. Ha ha. Share
Day 8 Supplemental - Route RecalculatingWednesday 31st May Just been reviewing miles completed so far and distance yet to still travel. Essentially, I have so far covered more miles than planned to end of Day 8. This can be put down to passing places of interest and detouring and then heading back to pick up original route where I left it. I also (confession time) rode the Ring of Kerry twice and two additional unplanned passes whilst in Kerry.
Day 8 - Farewell Wild Atlantic WayWednesday 31st May As a little bit of information: The Wild Atlantic Way, 1600 miles (2600 km) in length, is one of the longest defined coastal routes in the world. It winds its way all along the Irish west coast from the Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal in the north down to the picturesque town of Kinsale, County Cork, in the south. So I have effectively been following this route in the northern direction since day 2 of my trip when I joined it in Kinsale County Cork. Sadly today I left this wonderful, twisting and turning road with its lakes, mountains, cliffs, seas, bays and beaches and rugged terrain. I left it when I reached Westport in County Mayo to begin my journey East towards Dublin. I thoroughly recommend everyone travelling the Wild Atlantic Way at least once. However, according to the information via Google you should allow 3 weeks+ to travel it and do it justice. But then they were probably in a car or motorhome……. Bikes are more progressive. 😉 Cars and Motorhomes just can’t get round these twisty bends as well. 🏍 Share
Day 7 - Feeling CraftyTuesday 30th May Well firstly, I was in two minds whether to title todays update as either ‘feeling crafty’ or ‘relentlessly HOT!!’. Thought positivity was the way ahead! Lol. So as you probably now have guessed it has been hot, sorry; HOT with peak of 29 degrees and with having done many miles at between 30 and 50mph I almost got off the bike to do a rain dance. So left Glenstal Abbey this morning (best room ever for blocking out the light - little things please little minds etc but it made a real difference after several nights of rooms being lit still at 2130hrs. Humour me as have added a picture or two, was that good). From Glenstal Abbey headed back to join the Wild Atlantic Way and head north. So have been in 3 counties today: Limerick, Clare and Galway. Stops today have included St Brigid’s Well and also randomly for me a craft village (oh and between those stops another place but can’t give anything away as picked up gifts for two special girls). Now at room for night and cooling down before dinner. Did I mention it was 29 degrees today? Lol 🥵 Share
Day 6 - Half Way ThroughMonday 29th May Well this morning started reasonably early and it was a nice cool ride from Valentia Island to Gallarus Oratory as it was 16 degrees most of the way. On the way passed through Dingle which is very picturesque and relaxed as everyone will tell you. Visited Gallarus Oratory and took some shots and one person there on a bicycle riding along the Wild Atlantic Way asked for a drone shot with them waving in the picture. I obliged before heading out of County Kerry riding along the Shannon to Limerick. Vespers and supper at Glenstal Abbey shortly. Despite the cooler start has turned into another scorcher of peak of 25 degrees. Share
Day 5 - I think I’ll PassSunday 28th May Well today started with Mass at Cahersiveen after which Mary and her family kindly bought me a coffee and had a chat. Thank you so much.
Day 4 - ‘General Failure’!??Saturday 27th May
Today has been one of riding to the extremes of the West Coast going around the Peninsulas. Leaving Bantry this morning I took a clockwise route from Glengariff along the Ring of Beara stopping at Kilcatherine (as usual some pictures have been added). However, on the northern coast of Beara I encountered Kerry’s version of the Tour de France which left me in a video game of avoid the cyclist coming head on on the wrong side of the road on blind bends. (Will try to upload a video and provide a link when back home). I arrived at Kenmare only to find Henry Street and High Street closed off to traffic due to the race. Henry Street was the finish line. I then left Kenmare and again going clockwise went on the Ring of Kerry to Waterville. Whilst there it was suggested that I head around the Skellig Ring which I did and again wonderful scenery. I must have been miles from any sort of Motorcycle Mechanic when the bike came up with a message on the screen: ‘General Failure’. The bike was still running but a caution symbol came up as well. I stopped and scrolled through the info on the dash and under warnings it said again ‘General Failure’ with absolutely nothing else and certainly no suggestion of where on the bike the fault could be. So I turned to Google and that was no help as again lots of comments about how general, ‘General’ was!! Ranging from too hot (yes 25 degrees here again today and had done som me challenging roads) to traction control failure or my favourite, no fault found! So I did what anyone would do who hadn’t a clue and switched the bike off completely including the electronics. Waited for 5 mins and then switched it on again and started it up. I was a genius and had fixed it. I then went on to Portmagee and from there Valencia Island.Share
Day 3 - P.S.Friday 26th May As I parked up at my first destination at Drombeg Circle a Robin came to visit me and landed on my knee as I was locking up the bike. He sat there with me for quite some time and we had a chat. 😉 Share
Day 3 - The Wild Atlantic WayFriday 26th May Firstly, wow what a hot day. A peak of 25 degrees centrigrade from midday to the end of todays ride. The ride itself started from Clonakilty and first stop was Drombeg Stone Circle (added a picture), then to Reen, Baltimore, Toomore and finally to Bantry. The road is so awesome and twisty and the views are brilliant. It’s hard to work out when to stop to take pictures as there is a new view around every corner! Have added some pics from today to the gallery. Share
Day 2 - Offroad SettingThursday 25th May Well I set off early this morning around 0730hrs and first stop was Our Lady’s Island, was very calm and peaceful there with the wild birds on and around the lake as well as the Pilgrimage Centre. I have added a couple of pictures.
Day 1 - 9 hours TravellingWednesday 24th May Well I have made it to the Republic of Ireland. After 9 hours of travel and 260 miles (ok so some of those were on the ferry) I have made it to my first destination for the night.
Day 1 - StartWednesday 24th May I will add more later today but just to confirm I did indeed start this journey today. I was kindly sent on my way so thank you very much for that everyone. Really appreciate it. Just now on the ferry waiting to depart for Ireland.
One day to go .............Tuesday 23rd May So tomorrow is the big day and I embark on this challenge. It has come around very quickly. Still got to finish packing. lol. But all is in hand. I think. Ha Ha Ha.
Bike ServiceWednesday 17th May Well getting the bike serviced today brought it home regarding how close this trip and event really is now. Everyone I know must have heard about this for ages what with the planning and everything.
Significant Milestone Reached......Tuesday 16th May Today we have manged to tip over the £3,000 raised milestone. This is a wonderful achievement so far and I thank everyone for the kind and generous support and donations.
Thank you to MBNLTuesday 2nd May
Feature in Catena this Month.Thursday 30th Mar
April Edition of CatenaFriday 17th Mar I have just been sent the draft for the article to be published in April's edition of Catena magazine. Hopefully people will like reading this and it help raise awareness of this event and the services and support available from Combat Stress. Picture to be uploaded once the edition is released. ;o) Share
RAF News - Thank youFriday 10th Mar
Magazine InterviewSunday 26th Feb Beginning to think of all of the things I now need to start prepping and covering off including publicity. I have been fortunate enough to be offered an interview with 'Catena' a national magazine. This is due to take place on Tuesday 28th Feb. So more details to follow. Share
Route PlanningWednesday 24th Aug Initial planning of the route completed today. 1,800+ miles with various places to stop and activities to undertake on the way. Something different to do every day. Even walking up a mountain or two. lol. Share
Route PlanningFriday 19th Aug
Thank you to my Sponsors
Anne & Phil Dorning
Christopher John Parker
Lisa And Terry Dixon
Julia & Keith Curson
Corinium Rifle Range
John G Pearson
Geoff And Anne Clark
Rachel, Josef And Sam
Mr Jay M Mcdonald
Sabrina & Vernon