Ulster 600

Date: 22nd June 2024

Difficulty/Climbing (from * to *****)    ****

A ride through some of the more picturesque (and hilly) parts of Ulster, passing through all 9 counties of the Province.

Organiser: Richard Guthrie

E-Mail: richard@macademy.co.uk

Phone: 0044 7711643201

Address: 63 Knockeden Park, Belfast BT6 0JG

All entries must be made on Eventmaster only.  Cycling Ireland Licence is required.  One-day Licence is available for €20 if required, this will be charged automatically on Eventmaster if you do not provide a valid current Cycling Ireland Licence Number.

Eventmaster: https://eventmaster.ie/event/jz8LTE0TBz

Entry Fee €5 on Eventmaster, plus fees

Optional ACP or Audax Ireland Medal €7

Closing Date: 18th June 2024

Start Location: Boucher Place, Belfast, Map link below

Start: Boucher Place, Off Boucher Crescent

Start Time: 6.00am

Facilities: Parking at start (On Street parking on Boucher Crescent). Unsupported event.

Route Description:

Route for 2024 is here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/43141731

 Starting from Belfast (parking available) the route heads over Divis mountain to the West of Belfast, giving a taste of things to come.  The route skirts round the top of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in Ireland and the UK, with a surface area of over 150 square miles.

After passing through Draperstown (Control), height is gained as we pass lengthwise through the Sperrin mountains on our way to Feeny, and thence to County Donegal, crossing the border at Strabane.

The descent out of Raphoe, on the way to Letterkenny (Control), gives a glimpse of Glenveagh National Park, through which the route then passes. After the descent to Doochary (Control) some flatter miles are then gained until we reach Ardara.

Shortly thereafter the road tilts up again as we ascend the Glengesh Pass on our way to Glencolumkille (Control), the westernmost point of the route. The road to Donegal town is undulating, and after passing through Rosnowlagh, the towns of Ballyshannon, Belleek and Bundoran (Control) could provide well-needed overnight rest for the legs.

The Glangevlin Pass is the next major hill to be tackled, before some respite as the route passes through relatively flat lands towards Cavan (Control). Kingscourt marks the southernmost part of the route, which then heads northeast, crossing the border near Crossmaglen. The town of Newry (Control) brings us into County Down and the home straight, but not before the drumlins test tired legs.

Some stretches of this route pass through wild and beautiful country, with little in the way of shelter or shop for many kilometres. With over 6,000 metres of climbing, a granny gear would be advisable for all but the seriously masochistic. A well-maintained bike should be a given.

This will be an unsupported event.

As with all Audax events over 200km, lights and reflective clothing are mandatory.  I will be checking lights at the start – no lights, no card.

Long-distance cycling in Ireland