Where have you been? What have you seen?
By Uptimist
I am thinking about heading to Donegal at the end of July, departing from Oxford, for a long weekend. Cessna 182. VFR. I would be with one non-pilot passenger, sensible chap, briefed on high probability of weather not cooperating and EasyJet on speed dial.

Seeking any and all advice on routing, airfields, and what to look out for.

I have done one multi-country European trip before, but with another more experienced pilot. This would be my first multi-day trip without someone experienced next to me.

Seeking any and all advice on routing, airfields, and what to look out for.

My initial thoughts were to make an initial stop at Caernarfon, because it’s scenic, and to take a rest, then to head either direct to Donegal or to LondonDerry if the weather on the west coast is looking iffy, or if crosswind is too much for comfort. Crossing Irish Sea towards IoM to be closer to solid ground, but staying slightly south, e.g. via MAKUX. Our destination is midway between Donegal and Derry, so either would be ok, might even do a final hop to the small airfield at Letterkenny (the owner confirmed it is still operational but possibly not beyond the end of this year, sadly).

The route to Caernarfon would take us right over Snowdonia which would be wonderful in nice weather, but if there is too much cloud in the hills , then I would head north towards Hawarden then along the coast to avoid the high ground.
Interested in how easy/hard it is to get VFR transits through IoM and Belfast controlled airspace, or is it simpler just to skirt around.

By berbles
I’d say that’s doable in one hop from EGTK. We’ve done Kerry so Donegal should be possible. Caernarfon is a good pee stop, however. Just mind that bloody mast South of the airfield.

A C182 would do it without batting an eyelid, the only issue would be the weather in Ireland, but beyond Wales there aren’t any big mountains (nothing above 1700ft that I can see) on the way so you could probably scud run it if necessary. GAR, grab your passports, PPR 24hrs ahead for Customs, fuel up and go. Two up, you can brim the tanks and that will get you there and back without a top up.

Have fun: Ireland ATC are relaxed and it’s all going to be easier than you suspect.
By Uptimist
Thanks berbles. I suppose my main concern at this stage is weather, getting to Donegal and having to turn back and having sufficient fuel to find somewhere with good weather back east. As you say a fully fuelled 182 should be fine, 6+ hrs capacity.

My other concern is getting out over the Irish Sea and finding it tough going if it’s hazy with indistinct horizon and no autopilot. I’m a good way through IMC training, but not done yet. I might jink towards IoM to reduce the risk slightly at the cost of adding 10/15 mins to the journey.
By Basil
Why don't you refuel duty-free at Enniskillen? Duty-free that is, when you are westbound for the short flight to Donegal thereby leaving the UK.
By Artschool
we flew from Liverpool to Enniskillen at the weekend. IOM granted VFR transit with no fuss. we skirted round Belfast airspace. on the return we kept south of IOM airspace and routed almost direct to Anglesey towards LYNAS
By Uptimist
Trip completed successfully, thanks for the various bits of advice. Top tip on Enniskillen - love that duty and VAT free fuel!

In the end we took a southern route out past Cardiff and Fishguard to Rosslare and then north, mostly due to poorer weather forecast north.

The return trip was a straight run from Donegal to Oxford, more or less same route (weather again). Having paid attention to weather on that route over a couple of weeks it’s a minor miracle we actually made it out and back over the weekend as planned.

Donegal airport, as widely reported, is a stunning place to fly in to.