Route: Ballyronan to Portna
Total Distance: 17.82 Miles
Was day 1 a fluke ? Did we get it too easy ? Who cared, the sun was shining again and Lough Neagh was flat and calm for the first stage of our trip from Ballyronan to Toome Lock.
It wasn’t until the Eye Feel Good crew were exposed in the middle of Toome bay that the wind began to pick up and the temperature dropped slightly. It was a welcome relief to reach the shelter of Toome lock and press on towards Lough Beg.
The crossing of Lough Beg towards Newferry was a tough assignment compared to last years trip. We were exposed to a nasty cross-wind blowing in from the west which created a slight chop on the Lough. Thankfully we didn’t have any swimmers and everybody made it to Newferry for a quick stop and stretch of the legs.
Maybe it was day 2 fatigue, maybe it was the after affects of Paddy’s Pub in Ballyronan, or maybe it was the result of the head wind that we occassionally suffered but today’s progress was slow going. The entire crew were absolutely famished by the time we reached the Wild Duck in Portglenone for soup and sandwiches. The Wild Duck have been more than hospitable to us on every occassion that we have stopped off on our expeditions.
Upon leaving the Wild Duck we had our one and only spell of rain during the trip. However, the light shower was unable to dampen our spirits and we headed towards Portna for our second night of camping.
We decided to take the tough decision of rising at 0600 the next morning due to the fact that the 3rd day would be our longest paddle. Spirits in the camp were somewhat low at the prospect of no lie-in but that was soon forgotten about once the camp fir was lit and Jonny got his hands on the acoustic guitar.