11/6 Day 52 – The End!

Ballygally to Larne – 9kms

With the tide and wind assistance yesterday we could easily have made it to Larne then. However our ferry booking was made for today and we didn’t fancy our chances of finding a scenic campsite close to the ferry terminal.

The 9 kilometer paddle was the easiest bit of the morning. We got out at the boat club where we’d left two trolleys, exchanged a few good manly handshakes to congratulate ourselves on a job well done, and then went to hunt down the trolleys. Only one could be found! Dave’s appeared to have been stolen – maybe little wheels were just too attractive in a land of small trailers. There was much other discarded paraphernalia lying around and we found the hacked off bottom of a wheelie bin that had a complete axle and two wheels. Dave reckoned he’d be able to cobble together a working kayak trolley from it. Rob and I were a little more skeptical.

The successful trio

The boat club gate was locked so it was back on the water for a short paddle round to our original put-in spot back on Easter Sunday just over seven weeks ago. There we found a couple of guys working out of their garage. What then unfolded was like an episode of Scrapheap Challenge: hacksaws, screwdrivers and angle grinders were all put to work on our salvaged wheelie bin axle.

Scrapheap Challenge

The end result was a functional set of wheels strapped to the back of Dave’s kayak which, with a bit of extra effort, allowed Dave to proceed towards the ferry terminal. We were within a 100 metres of our goal when the axle finally succumbed to someone’s earlier attempts at cutting it in two… back to square one.

Disaster with goal in sight

Dave headed back to the boat club to see what other junk he could come up with, I went to check us in, and Rob stayed with the boats. On my return I was very surprised to see Dave’s kayak sitting up on a very fine bit of junk that looked remarkably like his original, stolen trolley. It transpired that a kind soul had taken the trolley into the clubhouse to keep it safe and was very apologetic about not being there to greet us on our return.

With all wheels on our wagons we were escorted up to the ferry where someone took pity on us and allowed us on the lower deck next to the trucks rather than following the original plan of taking the steep ramp up to the car deck. As we put chocks against the wheels we heard a familiar voice chastising us for not getting in touch earlier: Dennis, from the Clogherhead RNLI crew, just happened to be first mate on our ferry. We were then treated like royalty for our trip across to Cairnryan – complementary lunch and a tour of the bridge.

On the last few days of our trip we’d been keeping an eye on the track of three female kayakers, Dropseat Adventure, as they progressed northwards from Dublin on their anti-clockwise trip round Ireland. We’d hoped that we might meet them before we got to Larne but it was not to be. As the ferry pulled out of Larne and turned east towards Scotland we saw the trio through the port windows heading across to Ballygally – where we’d just spent the night. We only missed them by a few hours.

Safely home now, I’m wondering what I’m going to do tomorrow. We’ve really appreciated all the support we’ve had and the interest shown in our blog. We’re hugely grateful to all those who have made donations through our JustGiving page and are amazed that we’ve exceeded our target by over 50%. The page will be kept open for a while yet so we’d be delighted to exceed the target by a little more if you’ve been putting off donating until you felt we’d put in enough effort. We will also look at posting a few more times in the next week or so with some further thoughts on our trip.

15 thoughts on “11/6 Day 52 – The End!

    1. Well done on a great achievement. I will really miss reading the blogs and checking the map. Hope you all manage to settle back into home life. Jean

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  1. Absolutely chuffed for Ye guys !
    You’ve given me a great boost to complete my own ‘slowest’ circumnavigation!! Looking forward to hearing more reflections of your achievements!!!onwards Ho !

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    1. Cheers Kev. Now that you have your spot device up and running I’m looking forward to following your progress. Good luck and enjoy the spectacular Donegal and Antrim scenery.

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    1. Thanks Deborah. Will hopefully bump into you and wee Alf soon. No plans for another big kayak trip soon (Wendy wouldn’t allow it) but will definitely be back to Ireland for more paddling.

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  2. I am so proud of you guys. Although I have missed Ritchie something fierce, this has been a fun adventure to track and be a part of from a distance. My map of Ireland is hanging on the door of our lounge with wee stickers for every campsite 3meninboats have stayed in. There are a lot of stickers! And yes, Ritchie can go on another paddling adventure, but I would like to drive along with him since I am retiring from teaching in only 15 days! Choose life and give up work as soon as you can.

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  3. Congratulations to you all, such a brilliant trip, and if Dave can cope with zero exercise on my yacht later this year I’m looking forward to hearing all the stories – or at least his version of them!
    Mike McDonald

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    1. Congratulations guys! A fantastic effort, a great achievement and a persistent sense of humour whatever the circumstances. Good to see you all back in one piece . So – how do you follow that? I’m sure you’ll think of something!

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  4. Well done men, a great achievement to paddle around Ireland .It has been great to follow your blog as ye paddled in sunshine rain wind and had time to enjoy a few well earned pints and tasty meals after a good days paddling and extended stays due to weather conditions . All the best and whats next, Andy Wilson…

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