From the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Bothnia.

A new adventure! I’m looking forward to this! A hike from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Bothnia.

A number of years ago, I flew to Helsinki, Finland with Aer Lingus. I then took a train to Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle and over the following eleven days, I cycled back to Helsinki. Here’s a link to that cycle:

I fell in love with Finland and always wanted to go back but Aer Lingus discontinued their flights to Helsinki.
However Finnair have now set up a direct service from Dublin to Helsinki, so here’s my plan!

In mid-June next year, I will leave my bike at home and hike and camp through Finnish Lapland; from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Bothnia in just over a week i.e. Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle to Sampotie on the Gulf of Bothnia. (On this occasion I will be carrying lots of mosquito repellent) 🙂

Sampotie is the base for the Finnish icebreakers, used in the northern section of the Gulf of Bothnia in winter-time.

My email:

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A Cheap And Enjoyable Holiday.

If you are reasonably fit, here’s a suggestion for a cheap and enjoyable foreign holiday. Why not walk the last 114 kilometres of the Camino Portuguese from Tui to Santiago de Compostela over a period of five days. You will walk around 20k. (12 miles) each day over a period of anything from 4 to 8 hours; depending on meal stops etc. As you will have completed in excess of 100 kilometres on a Camino route; you will be entitled to collect your Compostela (a certificate in recognition of your completion of a Camino) when you reach Santiago.

Having done several Caminos; the following is my estimate of costs.

Flight from Dublin to Vigo with Ryanair = €64.99 (€65)
Bus from Vigo to Tui = €10
Average cost of 5 nights in Albergues (pilgrim hostels) = €35
Average daily cost of meals: €12. Five days = €60.
Return flight from Santiago to Dublin with Aer Lingus = €97.99 (€98)
Total cost: €268!

I will post a packing list later, so that you can take all you will need as cabin luggage.

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Eugene’s Charity Hikes.

My name is Eugene O’Leary. I live in Howth, Co. Dublin. I am a 74 (almost 75! 🙂 ) year old charity fundraiser and cycling and trekking adventurer.

After the death of one of our daughters at the age of 19, I took up long distance sponsored cycles in her memory in 2004 and have taken part in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital’s (where she attended) overseas cycles for 12 years. I have raised over€100,000 for for the hospital. I have become known as “The Pedalling Pensioner!” Journals and photos of some of my cycles can be viewed at:

I have taken part in the hospital’s 500 kms. cycling challenges in Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa; Balaton Lelle, Hungary; Flagstaff, Arizona; Monterey, California; Niagara, Ontario and Athens, Georgia. I also did the following solo cycles in aid of the hospital: Faro to Evora in Portugal and across Spain, via Salamanca, Burgos and Pamplona, before cycling over the Pyrenees and as far as Bergerac in France. I also cycled the Camino de Santiago and I also became the first Irish person to commence a cycle on the Arctic Circle (Rovaniemi, Finnish Lappland) and into Haparanda, Sweden, before cycling down the coast of Finland to Helsinki. In 2014, I cycled a complete circuit of Ireland.

In July 2016, I decided to visit Belarus with the Chernobyl Children’s Trust and to do a fundraising cycle from Gomel to Minsk. However, I had myself mistakenly put on a group visa which was being used for a building project and I had to stay with the group. I was able to get a few cycles in, but could not venture more than 40 kms. from the group, who were re-roofing one of the main buildings in Chervyen orphanage. The roof had burned down in a fire caused by faulty electrical wiring

Before I went, I had raised €900 and when I came home, a local restaurant owner and fish merchant (Sean Doran) approached me and offered to organise a three course meal for 60 people, plus a raffle as a fundraiser for my cause. Everything was donated free of charge by his suppliers and his staff also worked free of charge for the night. The event raised just over €4,000 and together with my €900, the orphanage roof was paid for!

The orphanage building urgently needed new showers etc., so what I did then was to do a fundraising buggy push from Slyne Head, Galway to Howth Head Dublin (197 miles), starting on Good Friday, 3rd. April and finishing in Howth on the 12th. The Buggy push raised over €3,000.

I later did another Buggy Push from Whitehall, Dublin to Whitegate, Co. Cork and together with a concert held in Howth; I managed to raise another €2,000 towards the refurbishment of the showers, laundry and washrooms which had been damaged in the aforementioned fire.

My next hike will be from Santiago de Compostela to Muxia and on to Cape Finisterre. To learn more, click on the link below.

My email: