Valhalla and the Fjörd

Valhalla and the Fjörd You may or may not have heard of local motorcyclist and author Peter Moore.

However in all probability Peter would have passed you or been down your road in his travels across Ireland by motorcycle, writing and riding through history as he goes.

Peter’s writings have led to the publishing of his book, “Valhalla and the Fjörd: A Spiritual Motorcycle Journey Through the History of Strangford Lough”. Strangford Lough on the Ards Peninsula is a place where we ride frequently, mainly to get somewhere else and not giving much thought of the areas rich history stretching back thousands and thousands of years.

Peter’s book puts that thought of ancient history into our riding in this area, which on the “far side” of the Lough has seen us visiting the ruins of Nendrum Monastery but not much else.

Peter has penned for us a bit about himself and the background to his writings, the reasons and motivation which hopefully will entice us all to ride and think of where we are and where we have been in history.

Valhalla and the Fjörd – The Waters Enticed Me

Book Launch #1-250 When I started taking bike lessons, it was with motivation and encouragement from a friend, the same friend who had taken me as a pillion once in Donegal when I was 18 or 19. As I sat on the 125cc bike that I was clearly too big for, I had no idea where it would lead and no future plans in my head. For me, the gratification was in the riding – it was that simple.

As I began to become more competent, so the obsession grew and I began reading; Ted Simon was my first port of call, ‘Jupitar’s Travels’ a complete revelation, in fact I would go so far as to say an epiphany. I began to crave more and read Ted’s subsequent books as well as those of Sam Manicom and Geoff Hill, eager to be on the journeys with them. I had, of course, watched the ubiquitous ‘Long Way Round’ and ‘Long Way Down’ (which I know come in for some stick, but let’s be honest, they opened the wider world’s eyes to motorbike travel).

I progressed up to larger cc bikes and the distances I travelled got ever further, a key element to biking (for me) was to explore the places I went to on the bike, rather than just appreciating aimless time on the road. I had a background in archaeology, and so the bulk of places I was visiting were archaeological or historical in nature – it’s what interested me. I would take a day to travel to a specific castle or ruined abbey, dolmen or henge and, once there, simply sit and ‘be’. This might sound a bit ‘Zen’ but I found riding a bike and visiting such place cathartic, as well as pleasurable.

 But even with this, I felt I was missing out somehow; tales are everywhere these days both in written print and online of people who said “bugger it…I’m off” and travel the world for three years. I envy them, I envy their courage and ability to do so. I am, I suspect, like most other people though, I have a mortgage to pay amongst other things and simply leaving it all behind to travel the world just doesn’t seem feasible, or maybe I lack the courage?

Bike at Audleys CastleIt almost annoyed me until I began to realise that what we have here, on our own back ‘doors’ is something amazing. People come from different countries and continents to see our landscape and absorb our long history. Around almost every corner is a monument from either the Neolithic (4000 – 2500 BC) to Early Christian monasteries (AD 400 – 900) to Medieval castles (AD 100’s – 1400’s) and post-Medieval tower-houses (AD 1500’s to 1600’s). Who needs the whole world when there are ample adventures here?

The Strangford Lough area is what I would class as my back yard, and when I looked at the maps, and the sheer volume of sites to visit, both historical and natural, I began to think that this area in itself was ideal for [adventure] biking. The more I travelled it, the more it opened its secrets to me, the more I found there was to see and the more time I began to spend around the Lough and the more absorbed in its story I became.

I wrote about my travels and the sites to see, initially, as a guide for friends. But it soon morphed into a larger text for general reading, I still can’t explain how, it seemed a natural progression and one that has taken me from a wobbly 125cc rider to someone who travels on my bike (now a 1200cc Explorer) and writes about it. A strange curvilinear path to take, but one that I enjoy and no longer question!

I used my archaeological background to research, as best as I was able, the sites to ensure their story was accurate. But more than that, I tried to write about how the Lough and biking around it made me feel, it’s curious effects on me when on a bike – how in tune with the area and land I felt. I have tried to explore the near 8000 years of human history around the Lough, as well as suggested possible routes and the spiritual side of myself that I seems missing other than when on a bike.

I have now nearly completed my second (much larger) book: ‘Hibernia; Journals from a Motorcycle’ about biking around Ireland.

Peter Moore

Links & Information

Valhalla and the Fjörd: A Spiritual Motorcycle Journey Through the History of Strangford Lough is available from Easons, Visit Belfast, Waterstones, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and via Clachan Publishing.
Website: www.moorso-begins.blogspot.co.uk
Twitter: @MoorsoP
Youtube: MoorsoP

 

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  1. And So It Begins: Biking Through The Brú na Bóinne

    A little write-up from Peter Moore on riding through the Brú na Bóinne (Meath) – Palace of the Boyne – last weekend.

    “It immediately conjures images in my psyche of a near mystical valley landscape. What I have in my imagination, though, is not that far from the truth – the Boyne valley is one of the most archaeologically rich and important locations in Ireland, Europe and even the world (reflected by its World Heritage Site status).”

    Read Peters Blog – Click Here

  2. From this years Book launch and we have just headed to Amazon and ordered a copy!

    Valhalla and the Fjörd – On Amazon