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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Ramblers Trip to the Antrim Coast and Glens~~~Day Two~~~Ballintoy to the Giants Causeway

(I've just learned something new and will put it into practice in this and future blogs.Clicking on any of the pictures now will open it in a new tab,with the opportunity to enlarge it slightly more)

Before beginning todays blog I must again thank both Scoop and Billy for their contribution to the pictures.

The plan by some of us to have a cooked breakfast at the Fullerton disappeared last night,and everyone made use of the excellent kitchen facilities at Sheep Island View.

I'd downloaded the 33 Mile Causeway Coast Way from the internet,and had planned to do the first sections.After talking to a local man down at Ballintoy Harbour I decided to take his advice and change the route.We'll now do sections 4 and 5,but in reverse.

First thing though is a trip to the visitors centre to leave the minibus,where, due to our well prepared car driver, we get free parking by displaying her National Trust membership card.

It's a fabulous morning as we make our way down to Ballintoy Harbour.We're heading along the coastal path and our target is the Giants Causeway.

This coastline, as well as the Causeway itself, is a world heritage site.After a look in the caves at Ballintoy we're heading west.

We're passing islets going by the names of Islandlean,Carricknaford and Long Gilbert.The path is undulating and often rocky,as will be much of todays walk.

I've been getting mixed up with my rocks.I thought that this sea monster lookalike was elephant rock...

...but having looked again I can see it here now.

Of course we can't confuse it with the cliff-side Elephant Rock at White Rocks near Portrush.We're making steady headway,but there's distractions around every corner that need a little exploration.

Now we emerge onto the beach at Whitepark Bay.

I took a walk along here last March.This is just a brilliant beach.It always has a feeling of freshness about it.

As we stop for a bit of a group picture,we can see Port Braddan in the distance in the mist.

With individual group members doing their own little lateral explorations we get stretched out a little.Surf and reflections make their own pictures.

Now getting closer to the cliffs we see this 'Rainbow'.It can't be a rainbow because we haven't had any rain.I've just learned there's such a thing as a Mistbow,so we have the answer.

The next couple of hundred yards are testing.If we can't get over these rocks we've a fairly long detour around.It's quite a challenging stretch with some slippery and large rocks to surmount,but eventually we make it over .

We've arrived at Port Braddan.

The mist we've been seeing is steadily lifting.We take a short break.

I'd be surprised if the cannon in this picture isn't a genuine one.As well as floundering over at Sligo,there were Armada ships lost along this coast as well.

This small private church is dedicated to St. Gobban.It's said to be the smallest in Ireland, but apparently, the remains of an even smaller one (St. Lasseraghs) stand on the cliff above.What a cracking wee building.

Back on the move,the path now takes us up to this arch.We wondered whether this was a man made opening,but apparently not.It is a natural arch,and a landslip has caused the loosening of stones.
As with all the pictures in todays blog,I'm spoiled for choice.

Now we zig zag and undulate past the inlets called Portacallan,Portachornan and Portninish.Every turn reveals the darkening of the rock from limestone to igneous.

Although there are still a few hazardous slopes,the caretakers of the coastal path have done a great job in erecting steps wherever possible.
There's cattle on the beach,we're nearing Dunseverick Harbour.

A number of us were happily relieved to have found the facilities open at the harbour,and now we're doing a short stretch of road walking.The small island back out from the harbour goes by the name of The March Foot.

Now we reach this burn that flows into the sea at Portnaweelan.I've no idea of it's name.I love the way it flows over the rocks.

Now after rounding Geeragh Point we reach Dunseverick Castle.
There is not much of it left. St.Patrick may have visited this fort in 500AD.I've read that a local man,Conal Caernach served the king that lived in this castle,and was a roman soldier who witnessed the crucifixion of Christ.

Opposite the castle,Moyle Council have provided a nice picnic area.We'll have lunch here.
We're roughly half way now,but have completed the hardest section.From here all the way to the Causeway is the most popular amongst walkers.There's a wide well maintained path the rest of the way.

Having spoken to a number of walkers coming west to east,it looks as though we've made the best decision.At least two couples have told us they walked fast over here,because they couldn't see a thing for the mist.

Well refreshed we're on the move again.Looking back the way we came,we can see the church at Ballintoy,and the ins and outs of the headlands we've rounded.

Now the path has a gradual incline and the cliff terrain below us becomes more spectacular.Many of the inlets have Port as the prefix to their name.Beyond Port Moon is a salmon fishery.The building on the shore looks the worse for wear.

Now we're above the headland called Liag-Na-Gaeithe or Contham Head.A similar view back as two pictures ago,but a bit further along.

We've reached the highest point at Hamilton seat,where we take a rest.
Continuing on we pass Horse Shoe Harbour,Giant's Eye Glass,Spaniard Rock and Irish Harp.

Now we reach Chimney Tops and let the world know we're here by shouting out.Below us is the Amphitheatre and the resounding echos are irresistible.
The small moving dots on the rocks below are visitors to the Causeway.

Now we're above the Giants Causeway proper and we're encountering more and more people.

We've reached the point on the cliff top path above the Shepherds Steps.
We take a moment out before descending the 162 steps...

...where some of us take a look at the Organ Pipes.

Reaching the Grand Causeway it looks as though there's a televised interview happening.

The Causeway in all it's glory.

Now comes the photocalls.Being a big enough group we've no problems shifting other people out of the way.Ha ha

It's a pound to get the bus up to the visitors centre.We've walked more than nine miles up to here.We'll surely do this last little stretch.

The visitors centre is reached,and welcome refreshments are partaken in the cafe.

After a look around, the first bus load leaves for the hostel, while those of us left sample the ice cream.

Later it's the Fullerton for some of us,while others demolish bottles of wine at the hostel.

It unanimous,it's been an excellent day.


  1. I'll just stick Ireland fairly high up my list of places to go when I get a car, so near really when you live in this wee corner of the country. Looks like a tremendous few days away. The giants causeway seems spectacular (and so much easier to get to than Fingals cave for the same thing). Look forward to the next couple of days reports.

  2. That looks a fantastic walk and great photos Jim.You had cracking weather too.Myself and Alex will get across there sometime hopefully.We are running out of easy to reach Scottish islands:o)bob.

  3. Tremendous looking area...right up my street..!
    Never realised it was so scenic there.
    Ta much Jim.!

  4. Hi Sandy,the causeway is spectacular,but I still hear people saying they're disappointed because it's not what the expected.I'm not sure what it takes to make some people happy.

    Alex and Bob there's plenty of rugged country around Antrim for you guys.
    The Ramblers Association used to take a half interest in walkers in Northern Ireland.
    Nowadays it's that have a comprehensive set of walks.


Thanks for all your comments. I may not get to reply to them all, but you may be sure they'll be appreciated.

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