Looking across to the snow capped alpine mountains seen from the back seat of a motorcycle

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Ireland And The Sunny South East - Xmas 2020

Post Received 30 December 2020 

By nab301

I make no secret of it, from a biking perspective at this time of year I'm a Bah Humbug type of person... 

nab301 in an office wearing a Bah HUMBG hat and a face mask

...mainly because of the "enforced" holidays I have to keep free (between 4 and 5 days depending on the year) as my employer closes down for the duration. This at a time of year when biking may not be possible or just downright miserable although as I'm also a glass half full type of guy, it can occasionally be wonderful. This year there was most of the above to contend with plus the possibility that non essential travel may be banned. Still, mustn't grumble.

I was in luck. After finishing work on the 23rd I had 3 days of permitted unrestricted travel before being restricted again, all I needed was good weather... (As I write this a 5Km non essential travel ban will be imposed from midnight on the 30th.)

The forecast wasn't great, as the 24th dawned and it was cold and overcast I filled up the tank of my DL250 and headed from Dublin in a Forrest Gump sort of way for the midlands. I ended up doing a non stop 300 odd km loop back home and arrived a little colder than I was before I departed. (Temperature on arrival home was 2.5°C.) Still it was more enjoyable than spending the day in a cold shed checking valve clearances... (Glass half full kicking in and nothing that a long, urban post trip walk couldn't cure, raising my body temp from mildly hypothermic.)

The 25th was looking brighter but frostier, however, locally early evening frost the night before had disappeared by morning with light cloud cover. The Sunny South East beckoned. 

My usual destination at this time of year is Hook Head lighthouse in County Wexford, (the oldest operational lighthouse in the world apparently) although not usually on the 25th. I decided to take a slightly inland route being mindful that I might encounter frost/ice on some of the higher sections while departing home in a balmy 3.5°C. I took a short hop on the M50 and turned onto the N81 heading for Blessington, Baltinglass (plenty of icy patches as predicted) and Tullow, turning on to the N80 towards Bunclody where I encountered dry roads and sun, warm enough to thaw out chilly hands! 

If I'd known it wasn't to last I'd have taken a photo.

Heading through Enniscorthy, skirting Wexford town and turning onto the R733 towards Wellingtonbridge, then turning off the R733 onto the tourist trail known as "The Ring of Hook" towards Saltmills, home of Tintern Abbey. Into the village of Fethard briefly before turning right and it's a shortish twisty and rather bumpy ride (all taken in it's stride by the little Suzuki) to Hook Head. Gloves off it was rather chilly, so leaving the engine running it was just a couple of poor quality photos (the camera  didn't like the cold weather or maybe it was my cold hands).

Hook Head Lighthouse, A stout sturdy lighthouse on the Irish coast
Looking across the waters from the lighthouse we see a town across the bay

Time to head home then via New Ross (yes, there is a village named Old Ross too) stopping briefly on the way to take a distant photo of Ireland's most haunted house, Loftus Hall.

nab301's red 250 V-Strom and a large stately home in the distance across green open flat land

Stopping in Duncannon village (holiday destination as a child), home to a long virtually flat beach (ie the tide goes out a long way) and Duncannon Fort.

Nigel's DL250 V-Strom with a broad calm bay at Duncannon
A sweeping and broad sandy beach

Heading on then to Arthurstown and turning on to the R733 towards New Ross, detouring into the village of Campile for a photo of the WW2 bombing memorial...

A strange wooden art installation next to the Suzuki 250
A information board explaining all about the Bombing

...arriving in New Ross, might as well take a photo of the recreated famine ship Dunbrody (Dunbrody History, Dunbrody Replica) seeing as the car park is empty for once! Although for some reason the PA system in the car park is blaring out some cheesy Christmas tunes (Bah Humbug kicking in even on Christmas day).

A old sailing vessel replica in the waters of a harbour

As you can see I've only scratched the surface of the places of interest on this trip, it would take a lifetime to do all the  available tours and detailed exploration of historical places possible on just this one journey.

Heading back towards Enniscorthy on the N30 I decided I'd fancy a spin on a quiet motorway, so did just that, approximately 120kms with the occasional car passing me, although annoyingly there were no bikes to wave at all day (sorry Bogger).

A couple of hot cups of coffee, another long urban walk and I was nearly normal. Approximately 400kms covered today but where to tomorrow, the 26th?

I hauled out my BMW for the final day of freedom. This time after a short motorway/dual carriageway hop I travelled south through Wicklow town and onto the narrow and bumpy coast road. No frost today and it was noticeably warmer, 6°C  or more.

Into Arklow town and turn inland travelling a variety of roads that I know well with no particular destination and completing around a 200km loop home .

So that was the biking itch scratched this year, 3 final days of unrestricted travel and nearly 1000kms covered. The only difference from the previous 2 days is that when I step off the BMW I can barely walk, maybe it's time to park it (the BMW) permanently.

So what does the next few weeks hold? I've got a Suzuki that is well overdue a valve check and a little Honda that is due the same. Hmmm maybe that can wait till summer when the shed is warmer!


Thanks to nab301 for sharing this. If you'd like to share your own winter excursions click here.

Reader's Comments

Upt'North said :-
Nab, thanks for the write up, I feel warmer just reading it.
In a glass half full attempt, I also have bike news from Christmas.
I walked in the garage through the internal door.
Firstly placing a bob hat on my bonce.
Switched on the tender.
Drank Jameson's.
4 hours later turned the tender off, remembering to affix the bob hat.
My glass was at least half full throughout.
No more nonsense of the Beemer being too much either, humbug.
Upt'North.



06/01/2021 02:31:28 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Good tale. Like Upt' my motorcycling in the frigid months is of the cosy (read freezing) garage type. I've just discovered some stuff called Oxalic Acid which is a magic substance for removing rust. Dissolve in water, plunge the rusty parts in and leave for 24 hours. Sadly it is also apparently a deadly poison so thorough handwashing is required after use.

But Jameson's? This is the stuff:


Posted Image
06/01/2021 03:01:50 UTC
Upt'North said :-
At the risk of a thread hijack........what's new about that.
I'm a little unfaithful when it comes to Whisky or Whiskey.
Just started trying Jameson's again and have got a bottle of their Black to try after this one.
After that there's a bottle of the Glenmorangie that matures in the sherry casks. Can't remember the name, it'll be all that Whisky.
There's also a bottle of Glenrothes behind those.
If there was an area that you could pin me down to for whisky enjoyment, I would have to say Speyside.
I can't ever remember tasting a bad Speyside and the only whisky I'd refuse would be Bell's, it tastes like vomit on my taste buds.
One of my favourite commercial whiskies is Whyte and Mackay. A fine bottle if ever there was one.
Sorry Ed, sort of.
Upt'North.

06/01/2021 03:48:24 UTC
Bogger said :-
No one to nod to!!! Fantastic, I'm on me way.

Bogger
07/01/2021 10:12:42 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
What do you mean by a "tender" Upt'?

Ian - I've seen cheap vinegar used as a rust remover. Fill container, place rusty items in and leave for 24 hours. Ebay suggests around £8 for 5 litres and I'm guessing you're less likely to poison oneself.

Speaking of poisoning oneself - whisky. I am in fact teetotal, not due to once being a raving alcoholic but because I'm of that nature that could become a raving alcoholic. It is nice though to have the odd sniff of a good whisky. Sharon presently has some rum and I could all too easily climb into a bottle of that.
07/01/2021 10:34:19 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yes I've tried vinegar but apart from making your chips (or dressed salad according to taste) taste funny it wasn't as effective as the oxalic acid. I am however left with some horrible green corrosive and poisonous liquid to dispose of.
07/01/2021 12:20:50 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Ian, the tip won't have a place for that, even coolant goes into non recyclable here.
Ed, for tender read optimate. Is it an Americanism. I hope not.
Upt'North.
07/01/2021 01:17:14 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Afraid it is Upt', like fender, muffler and headers.....
07/01/2021 01:30:57 UTC
nab301 said :-
I'm don't partake of the alcoholic liquid myself either , but I'm sure I've absorbed plenty of the 70% stuff through the skin of my hands in the last 10 months.
@ Ian , could you not have waited till the Rhubarb season and " Distilled" your own Oxalic acid from the leaves....
@ UPT, A garage with an internal door , that sounds suspiciously like it's connected to the house and by definition might actually be a warm room? Therefore it's not a garage!
A photo from my archives of a distillery in the midlands in Ireland , maybe we should organise a BAT tour if it opens again for such things!
Nigel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilbeggan_Distillery...
Posted Image
07/01/2021 08:33:49 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Nigel, yes you've rumbled me, having just walked in there I can confirm it's at least 40 degrees f. Just about the same as the fridge temp in there. Balmy,in a Norwegian sort of way.
Rhubarb leaves you say, I'll have plenty of them sometime soon. Perhaps I could just wrap my nuts in leaves.
Tour de Distillery, hmmmmmm, not much fun for the non consumers, although I'd be fine, I ride better after consuming alcohol. Every trip is a hoot when plastered.
Don't try this at home kids. It's not big and it's not clever. Hick.
Upt'North.

08/01/2021 10:02:18 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'd do the whisky tour, it's a great excuse for a ride to somewhere (...anywhere...).

Tender, as in battery tender, right. Damn Yanks.

Oxalic Acid, according to Wiki, looks damn lethal if not dealt with properly. Due to my haphazard ways I for one will not be dealing with such a substance. Mind you I'm not safe with a wire brush.

40 degrees! Positively melting. Oh. Fahrenheit. Damn Yanks. 40f = 4.4c. 4.4°C, yeah, balmy. In my experience the actual numbers of temperature, while scientifically accurate, don't represent how cold a place will feel. A cold dry room will still be more comfortable than a tepid damp room. I imagine while your garage may well be tepid (not cold) it is likely dry? Motorcycles seem to prefer dry and are barely concerned with cold.
08/01/2021 10:52:14 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yes, oxalic acid can be quite nasty but well diluted should be OK. My marigolds should keep my delicate fingers safe however.

I've managed to survive this long despite siphoning petrol by sucking it, setting fire to tubs of oil by quenching red hot steel to harden it, and last but not least riding motorcycles in the snow and ice so must have a reasonable sense of self preservation. Or maybe it's the Lagavulin that's pickling me?
08/01/2021 12:30:32 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Further to the warm garage discussion it was a balmy 32 this morning compared to an outside temp of 17.
Which I think equates in new money to 0 degrees C in the garage and minus 8 C outside.
It's not riding weather Upt'North. Looks darn pretty though.
Upt'North.
Posted Image
09/01/2021 10:39:33 UTC
nab301 said :-
Lovely , minus 6 deg c in my part of the world first thing this morning , although the sun did at least show itself for the full day( which had a noticeable stretch in the evening) and was hot enough to leave my smalls and shirts steaming on the washing line at one stage , successfully going off topic in my own thread..
Nigel
Posted Image
09/01/2021 08:48:05 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
We don't worry about staying on topic here nab301. It all looks very picturesque Upt' North but I'm glad to say on my return trip from Sharon's place (bubble innit) it was pleasantly un-icy.
10/01/2021 07:18:42 UTC
Ross said :-
Just to add to the wintery pictures...this was the view from the upper floor of the North wing of chateau Ross yesterday afternoon in deepest Kent. It was sooo cold and bleak I thought I'd been transported to the North of England!...certainly not motorcycling weather for me!!
Posted Image
11/01/2021 10:53:58 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Cor! I feel cold just looking at that Ross. Here in the grimy gritty parts of Blighty yesterday (Sunday) was grey, overcast and cool but the ice had gone and the roads were fine. By 'eck lad, it's grim daaaan saaaaf. It'll be all them lorries waiting for their Covid results and Brexit paperwork.
11/01/2021 12:47:14 UTC
Ross said :-
Ren said:- "It'll be all them lorries waiting for their Covid results and Brexit paperwork."

Heh, all quiet down here now, all the Covid lorries from Christmas have gone and the Armageddon (lorrymageddon?) promised for Brexit hasn't materialised...still early days though! The first few days of the new year Dover was full of miserable looking reporters desperate to find a lorry que...without success!
12/01/2021 11:13:08 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Funny that they don't report the non-queues.
Anybody whose had anything to do with the media will know they never let truth get in the way of a good story. Or for that matter a bad story.
As soon as the government and official bodies started to shift the lorries the news stopped dead. I couldn't for the life of me think why the Beeb wouldn't want a good news story especially at that time of year but then I woke up and realised it was a non achievable dream.
To bring it back to motorcycles, anyone else remember, they always had a bike waiting with the camera's to dash the tape off to editorial, oh the good old days.
Upt'North.

12/01/2021 01:11:50 UTC
nab301 said :-
The queues will return I'm sure , The Dublin based company I work for put in a load of pre Brexit orders as did most others which probably contributed to the backlog , the powers that be were chasing up suppliers re new procedures for months and years but we're only getting answers now. No orders have arrived yet for 2021 though... I'm sure listening to a news slot one day I heard that many Europe based truck drivers are often only paid for the distance they drive , they don't get paid any more if stuck in a queue , so many I guess are waiting until hopefully the teething problems are sorted before starting back to work?
Nigel
12/01/2021 07:45:57 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I do understand several reasons the news tends to overwhelmingly report bad news. We DO need to know what shenanigans our leaders are up to. It is right we ought to know about Covid and famines and thuggery, because if we don't know we can't motivate leaders to perhaps, maybe, well, do something about it.

But! But I also wish the news contained some positive reports more than 3 times a year. There are some truly good folks doing great things to make our world a better place. Most teenagers maybe grumpy but they aren't all thugs. Our lives in the west are fortunate but too much news will leave even the luckiest folks thinking life is just all round awful.

14/01/2021 12:45:04 UTC
Bogger said :-
About three years ago I stopped listening to the radio and watching TV.I found I was constantly raging at the utter utter B*****s they spout. I was really winding myself up at 'their agenda'.
As you rightly say, they also put the worst spin on absolutely everything and frankly it's depressing.
The only things I watch are documentary type programmes and Youtube. The rest can go swing as far as I'm concerned.

Bogger

14/01/2021 01:02:41 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
If you think "mainstream" TV is bad I can't imagine why you would watch youtube with its diet of lies, half-truths and conspiracy fantasies....

Ren: most local news programmes try to include at least one light relief topic. And did I not see an item about a young lad sleeping in a tent in his garden raising £10,000 for his local hospice this week? (can't remember if it was national or local BBC).

By definition new is something out of the ordinary and usually it's something bad.
14/01/2021 02:25:29 UTC
Bogger said :-
I watch youtube for bike stuff, camping stuff, fixing stuff, renovating stuff. That type of stuff. If you get me drift.

Bogger
14/01/2021 03:02:14 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I agree that the news does report good things but they are very much in the minority.

I do watch a lot of YouTube. Of course if you go looking you will certainly find plenty of lies, half-truths and conspiracy fantasies. You can find endless cat videos or yoofs spouting offense and hatred. You can find violence and evil.

But then if you go looking you can find excellent science documentaries, educational stuff, fascinating insights into farming methods, middle aged "blerks" giving tips on broken stud removal, how to make a water hammer pump, latest research into solar panels, home made airplanes, Cat C15 engine rebuilds and and explanation of which stars will go supernova and which will become black holes. If that's not your thing then knitting tips, how to understand colour's effect on mood, psychology or even why do screws (nearly) always turn clockwise.

I find the internet, of which YouTube is now a large section, to be a useful resource. Like a library you can choose to read books spouting conspiracy and hatred, you can choose to read informative technical books or you can choose to read books that hope to spread understanding and care.
14/01/2021 04:28:07 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yes of course there is a lot of good stuff. I have put some links here for general edification and even post the odd thing myself. What irritates me about youtube is the way it decides what I want to see based on some algorithm which seems to totally ignore what I want and insists on presenting me with rubbish. So if I'm lazy and just accept it I can be dragged down all sorts of rabbit holes.

Still, here's some good news for you: I've just finished rebuilding the back wheel of the mighty Francis-Barnet. The 2-stroke gods actually smiled on me by deciding that it would have the same size spokes as an MZ and these were available very cheaply. Hopefully they were made by a Stakhanovite East German artisan......
15/01/2021 03:10:43 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Oh, right handed threads? I'd rather read about it watch some twerp gurning and being "amusing".
https://www.accu.co.uk/en/p/119-why-are-screws-right-handed...
15/01/2021 03:12:53 UTC

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