Organiser: Richard Guthrie
Entry Fee: €5 by PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org and Cycling Ireland Licence required, no One-days allowed.
The 3 Masts 200 Permanent goes clockwise round Lough Neagh, visiting the masts of Slieve Croob, Slieve Gallion and Divis Mountain. On a good day, the vantage point from each mast will give you a view of the other two. With a good deal of climbing in it, this route may make a full value rider out of you!
The route begins in Belfast, heading south through the villages of County Down to the first mast at Steve Croob. This mountain, which hosts the source of the River Lagan, rises to a height of 534 metres. You will then head westward, eventually crossing the River Bann and picking up the Newry canal path into Portadown, where you can stock up on provisions. It is back onto country lanes, passing Drumcree church and onto the southern shore of Lough Neagh before heading inland to Moneymore. Take a deep breath, as the ascent of Slieve Gallion starts soon. The ascent of this volcanic plug takes you to a height of 528 metres and the second mast of the day. It marks the most westerly point of the route, giving views both west into the Sperrins and east over Lough Neagh and Counties Antrim and Down.
Moving eastwards once more, you will soon pass through Magherafelt, and then to Toome, where you will cross the River Bann for the second time, as it flows northwards out of Lough Neagh on its way to the north coast. After the county town of Antrim is passed, ascent begins once more towards the final mast of the day, sitting atop Divis mountain, the highest point of the Belfast hills, letting you survey the day’s route. It really is downhill from here, so you can virtually coast all the way to the finishing line.
Although the route officially begins and ends in Belfast, it can be started anywhere along the route that proof of passage can be obtained. Intermediary control points are the locations of each mast, with photographs being the primary proof. Info questions can be supplied on demand!
The route crosses a couple of main roads, and these are flagged on the route sheet.
Ride with GPS Map: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29385428
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