Like the ToA, only slower

admin   March 25, 2020   Comments Off on Like the ToA, only slower

Cycling activities are severely restricted – the Tour of Ards was cancelled, and all club races and club runs are on holdĀ until further notice. But there is some good news – Boris has said we are still allowed out for a daily ride individually for exercise. Perhaps this is an opportunity to experience familiar routes in a new way? We’ve lots of quite roads, so “social distancing” is easy. If you’re still getting out, please keep sharing routes on Strava and pictures on Facebook. Spring is out there!

Normally the Tour of Ards flashes past in a flurry of speed. But what happens when you cycle round the course at a more sedate pace, and take time to look around you…?

(Two bonus points if you can identify the fake ones).

The daffodils still flower at the finish line, even if the race is cancelled.

A County Down wind vane, aka some black polythene caught in a barb wire fence. This one is clearly indicating a strong side wind.

I always thought that these four garages at Ratallagh were identical. But look closely and each one is unique..


The lead car from the original ToA in 1970 is now looking a little worse for wear…

There’s plenty of evidence that the farmers are busy, so no need to stock pile at the supermarket.

Normally walls are built using horizontal layers of bricks or stones. But this rebel stone mason on Mountain Road has gone vertical. And why not??


You know it’s been a stormy winter when the seaweed is caught in a fence 400m from the shore line.

It can take years, evenĀ decades, to grow a lichen. It needs to find a good location, and survive the weather over the years. A bit like a classic bike race.

Kelp factories were big business in Strangford Lough a couple of centuries ago. The kelp was used to enrich the sandy soil, and for various other purposes. Here you can see the remains of a stone wall on the beach, used to separate two different family’s kelp farms.

When Jane Austen toured the Provinces in the summer of 1806, she reportedly said, “I declare that the glass house at ThomasTown Manor is the finest in all of Downe”.

(The lead car and the Glass House quote are fakes. Keep safe out there – on the road and online!)