Editor’s note: This article was published before the coronavirus pandemic, and may not reflect the current situation on the ground.

From Malin Head to Mizen Head on Ireland’s west coast, the MizMal—a cycling route created by a former IT consultant—is one of the country’s best bike rides that also takes in the Wild Atlantic Way. That’s all Mark Stratton needed to hear.

Paul’s prediction of meteorological Armageddon rings in my ears, as we approach Glenveigh’s summit.

“There’s a 90 per cent chance of rain, 30mph winds by 2pm and some big hills, so I urge you to get over them before that,” says the Ulsterman at breakfast. He’s wearing a T-shirt reading: ‘Hills, Cobbles, Suffer’—as if predicting a day of pain.

I answer this rally to urgency … by eating. Got to fuel the tank. Gulping coffee and porridge, then pedalling with a whirling dervish cadence out of Donegal on the penultimate day of the MizMal—possibly the greatest long-distance cycle you’ve never heard of.