Cycling Trip Conundrum

I’m currently planning a trip for which involves cycling from Anglesey in North Wales, to Sheffield to visit my auntie, camping en-route.

Anglesey to Sheffield; est. 290miles

Or is it ‘Aunty’? Tasker Dunham recently blogged about a dialect quiz he found. I took part also and it shows that how I speak (or rather the words I use, since I doubt I have the right accent) should make me feel a little more at home in Sheffield!

Most of the route I will take to Sheffield I have done before so this shouldn’t be any bother *he says with confidence* but the options of where I head to thereafter keep spinning round in my head.

Option 1:

Cycle there and back. The end.

I also have it in my head to cycle round Ireland, so I’m preferring to consider a route leading from Sheffield to here somehow, but there are various options (hence this blog post).

The trip round Ireland, as I’m planning it, would take me from Belfast in the north, counter-clockwise to Dublin in the south and then to via ferry back to Anglesey. Here are those options:

Option 2:

The shortest/quickest trip (where cycling miles is concerned) would take me halfway back from Sheffield (some 90 miles) and then to catch a ferry from Liverpool/Birkenhead to Belfast.

Sheffield to Birkenhead, Liverpool; est. 90miles

There are two parts I don’t like about this: 1) the stretch into Birkenhead, and 2) getting out of Belfast (I have cycled from Belfast to Dublin before and it was a bit of a hassle). The ferry crossing here takes 8 hours (the others take 2-3 hours) which doesn’t really bother me and from another perspective makes it good value per mile (as long as you take your own food to eat)!

Option 3:

Cycle from Sheffield to Cairnryan in south-west Scotland, then catch the ferry from here (which I’ve essentially done before) to Larne, Northern Ireland.

Sheffield to Cairnryan (265 miles) to Larne

At 265 miles (from Sheffield to Cairnryan) it would add a significant number of days and miles to my trip, but I like the familiarity of Cairnryan, accomplishing the feat of cycling to Scotland twice, and the prospect of cycling north out of Larne (vs. out of Belfast). I also get to cycle through the Lake District again, and also perhaps the Yorkshire Dales, which I haven’t done before.

Option 4:

This option would take me instead from Sheffield to Lancaster where there is also a ferry terminal. Ferries from here go to the Isle of Man, so I could instead cycle round here for a day or more, and then somehow get back to Anglesey, or continue on to cycle round Ireland (a ferry first to Ireland might be necessary to get back to Anglesey in order to avoid Birkenhead.

Sheffield to Lancashire (105 miles) then to Isle of Man

This option adds extra expense to my trip in the form of another ferry crossing, and also means I would likely strike both “Cycle round the Isle of Man” and “Cycle round Ireland” off my bucket list, and what fun is it to have a bucket list if you complete it all?

With all of these options travelling time and ferry costs are a consideration. The longer the trip the more days I am away (away from a cat and work and earning money) cycling, eating, camping, and eating some more. Wild camping where possible is certainly likely, although I don’t pass on the luxury of an actual campsite lightly.

Care to solve the conundrum for me?!

Sights I can visit en-route are also a bonus; I have a couple pencilled in between Anglesey and Sheffield.

Alternatively, I may just wait until I’m getting ready to leave Sheffield and then see how I feel; perhaps not the best approach.


  1. Thanks for the mention – some of the other blogs I follow have talked about the quiz and everyone seems to find it scarily accurate. However, what is more scary are the academics at Leeds on whose work it is based: they can pinpoint people during a short conversation. It’s “Aunty” in Yorkshire. Can’t advise on cycling trips though.

  2. As someone who struggles to cycle a dozen miles I just have to say, Good god! I have no idea which option would be best for you, I just know that each paragraph made me blench a little more. I am in awe of anyone who can even contemplate such a thing

  3. If you haven’t ridden in the Yorkshire Dales you should try to include them in your trip. After all, the Tour de France, Tour of Britain and the UCI World Championships this summer can’t all be wrong?

    • If I do end up catching the ferry from Cairnryan I will be sure to cycle through the Yorkshire Dales; thanks for your suggestion.

      • If you like hills try riding from Harrogate, via greenhow hill, York’s Folly or trapping hill, head to Grassington and give park rash a go which is just out from kettlewell

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