We are spending the last night on the road in ‘On the Rocks’ in Greencastle, a place Ken knows well, having stayed here a number of times in the past. And what a beautiful place to spend it. In the hills overlooking the Foyle estuary, the view from here is magnificent.
The whole place is magnificent, in fact. The bedroom is large with with a bathroom – and a shower – to match. Guests have an area to themselves with too many ‘goodies’ even to begin counting. The Doyles, Owen and Mary, are wonderful hosts, and extremely generous ones, as we discovered this morning as we left. If you’re anywhere near this part of Donegal, consider ‘On the Rocks’, which scores at least eleven out of ten.
The time has come to prepare for the last day of the match-up of the year – Ken Davis .v. The Wild Atlantic Way. As Ken’s arrival in Muff at the end of WAW approaches, there is absolutely no doubt about the winners’ identities and it is not either of the aforementioned combatants.
There are actually a number of winners. There are those who recognised that, when someone takes on a challenge such as Ken has done, of cycling almost 3,000 kilometres on public roads at the beginning of the holiday season, prayers for Ken’s physical safety were crucial.
And there are those who recognised the validity of the challenge, not just as a challenge in itself, but as a way of bringing attention to the situation of African children, who walk an average of seven kilometres each day to collect and carry on their heads twenty litres of water. They see how this situation can be changed and have, by their financial generosity, played their part in a process by which one thousand new wells can be bored by 2020.
For me, there was a surprise, and a very special one, when I saw and heard schoolchildren’s interest at how they could have a part in a project which could relate to them as they learned about where ‘their well’ was going to be bored, and what the name of the village was, and could they find it on a map, and what were the names of the children who would be using it. This will have a lasting impact for many years.
Another delight was the meeting of people in hotels and B&Bs, in coffee shops, in pubs and on the street who were ‘taken’ with the idea of someone doing something as crazy as cycling the WAW to help children who needed it and who were challenged or encouraged or whatever to put their hands into their pockets and wallets in response.
It is the children of East Africa who are the big winners in this. Ken has seen at first hand in Uganda how their lives, and indeed those of their families, can be dramatically changed by the provision of clean water.
And what has Ken’s role been in all of this? He has quite simply been God’s instrument in enabling large numbers of people to, first of all realise the need, then act in a way which goes some little way to alleviate that need, and thirdly realise that they can show God’s love in ways maybe they never thought possible.
It has been a real privilege to have been involved in the last three weeks. Ken and I have been friends for a long time and I know how much this has meant to him. For someone who enjoys a challenge as much as he does, to complete on schedule a cycle round the entire Wild Atlantic Way is something quite out of the ordinary. I’ve not heard of any previous such achievement.
There is some degree of trauma in today’s event – the conclusion of three weeks, not exactly living in each other’s pockets, but being closer than ever previously with someone whom you have known for such a long time. There must be a name for it somewhere in the medical lexicon but I’m willing to settle for ‘great craic’.
Well done, Ken! Well done, Fields of Life! Well done, all of you who were part of it! To God be the glory!