I spent the last 7 months preparing for this tour, getting the base miles done so that I am fit enough to cover the distance, but equally importantly, so that I can enjoy the trip. The structure of the training was fairly straightforward based around three elements, namely; getting out consistently, increasing the mileage gradually, and getting some long spins completed as regularly as possible. Continue reading Training details→
Much of the planning for the Wild Ireland Tour is complete. The intention is to cycle around the coast of Ireland, stopping off at some of Ireland’s most special wildlife sites and meeting up with people who have a story to tell about different aspects of wildlife. The trip is structured around profiling two, or sometimes three places or people each day. The choice of sites to visit and people to meet is a personal one, reflecting my knowledge of the countryside, and my friends and colleagues. But I have not had the opportunity to meet many of these people in the field, in their own habitat, so this will be very much a journey of exploration for me too. I already know that there are many other people that I will meet as I travel around the country, so expect the odd surprise guest appearance. The journey should weave a rich tapestry of places, personalities and issues, to create a different perspective on Ireland’s priceless natural heritage. Continue reading People and Places along the route→
The Wild Ireland Tour will take Bella and I through some of the most special landscapes and wildlife sites in north-western Europe, and all of them on the island of Ireland. Planning the route for the tour was the easy part as I decided early on to keep to the most coastal route. However, trying to decide on which sites to visit and who to meet along the way proved more difficult.
When looking at where the route takes us I realise that it presented an embarrassment of riches. There is a fabulous diversity of wildlife sites right around the coast, each with its unique features. And many excellent conservationists, scientists and local communities who are doing tremendous work to help protect wildlife. So even early on in the planning for the tour, it was an encouraging realisation to make that there is a lot happening out there. Continue reading Planning the route→
It was in the depths of winter when I reflected on what I wanted to achieve with my cycling in 2014. 2012 and 2013 were both fairly aimless years for me; cycling 4 or 5 days per week with a long club spin or sportive on the weekend, and a winter interrupted by surgery. Plenty of cycling but nothing really structured and no overall goals. So 2014 was going to be different. I was going to set myself a challenge to work towards.
Why I decided on the challenge to cycle around the entire island of Ireland, I’m not quite sure. Probably because it is just about do-able provided I got the training in. And rather than going off to cycle in exotic places, I felt there was plenty to explore around the coast of Ireland. Continue reading The cycling challenge→
I’m a conservationists. Being a conservationist is not the easiest job in the world. Not because the weight of the world is on my shoulders, angst ridden over how I and the rest of humanity is destroying the planet. No, but because conservation is rarely understood and conservationists are all pigeonholed as a stereotype. Even my daughter prepared conversation topics about her ‘Engineer’ father for her Leaving Certificate oral exams, as trying to explain what a conservationists does in Irish and French (or in English for that matter) was too tall an order.
A trip around Ireland to celebrate Ireland’s wildlife
Ireland’s wildlife gets bad press. Almost always, conservation is presented negatively; controversies about developments that damage wildlife, gloomy reports of species under threat of extinction, compensation for managing land for conservation, and so forth. It is a personal frustration of mine that rarely is Ireland’s special wildlife presented in a positive manner, or all that is good about wildlife celebrated. We have a unique and special natural heritage – this tour presents a personalised perspective on some of what is special about Ireland’s wildlife and an attempt to share this experience with a wider audience. Continue reading The Wild Ireland Tour→