Sunday, 25 September 2016

V-CC Rides 2016

As the summer slips past and cooler shorter days take hold it gives time to reflect on the years rides with the Veteran-Cycle Club. This is not a cycling club, although many members are cyclists. The club is for people interested in old cycles and encourages members to meet and ride these old machines. I was not able to attend all local section rides this year, but I did make the effort to attend as many as I could.  The summer in this part of the world has been wet and often windy.

Events take place across the province of Ulster, the last ride of the summer season was in County Donegal on the Fanad Peninsular. The route afforded some spectacular views of Lough Swilly on reasonably lightly trafficked roads starting and finishing on the quayside at Ramelton. There are buildings on the quayside with a date stone above the door 'L & L S R 1864'. The interesting thing is the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway never had a station at Ramelton!

The route went via Rathmullan on the shores of Lough Swilly. A short detour was made to Rathmullan House, now a country hotel. This 18th Century house was bought by Robert Batt who was the youngest son of Narcissus Batt (1760 – 1840) , a founder of the Belfast Bank. The Batt family had property at Ozier Hill, in Co. Wexford and at Purdysburn, Co. Down. Rathmullan House was part of a 4,377 acre estate in 1876. Robert Batt purchased Rathmullan House in 1837 and it remained in family ownership through the generations until 1939. The associated land was bought by the tenant farmers under the various land acts passed by the Liberal Government between 1870 and 1906.

Rathmullan is also notable for seeing the end of the Gaelic Order with the 'flight of the Earls' to the continent of Europe. There is a statue on the foreshore below the Victorian Coastguard cottages at Rathmullan, to commemorate the event.

One of joys of taking part in the V-CC rides is to see a newly restored machine make it's debut back on the road.  Cycles which made an appearance this year are a Sunbeam roadster, Claud Butler Lady's bike and an early Leader of Croydon.

The weather was kind for the last summer run and the food bought in Rathmullan was excellent.  A pleasant ride back to the start followed as the clouds cleared. The tide had come in at Ramelton by the time of our return.  The run ended with a lovely sunset to round off a great day.

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