Thursday 26th July
An early start for us today. We had bought tickets yesterday for the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge for 9.30am crossing. By 8.45am we were already in the car park and one of the first to arrive. With pre-bought tickets, we sailed past the ticket office and, with more cars arriving by the minute, the queues that were now forming.
It was about a 1km walk to the bridge and on arrival, a locked gate blocked our path. But it did give a good opportunity to take photos without anyone around.
9.30 am on the dot the NT bods arrived. After checking the wind speed (it sure was blowing a hooley today) and finding the speed to by about 20mph (they close the bridge at 40mph) we gave them our tickets and walked across.
The bridge bounced and swayed and if it wasn't for the two other people that had joined us, Ian would have tried to make the bridge swing. He's like that you see. He likes nothing better than to see me on edge.
Once across, the walk on the island was a tad disappointing. Parts had been cordoned off so we could only do a short walk. There were nesting Gulls and the smell from the guano was quite overpowering. Within 20 minutes we were ready to cross the bridge back again. Got back to the Beast by 10.15am and made the 9km journey to the Giants Causeway. Fully expecting the car park to be full, we were amazed to find plenty of room, even for the Beast.
|Top right, huge jellyfish and bottom L a coach load of tourists had arrived just when we wanted to return. The nice NT bod held them up so we could cross first.|
Another good walk was needed to reach the stones but as NT members we could travel the shuttle bus for free. I know, I know....how lazy can one get. Anyway, the place was heaving by the time we got down, people everywhere but plenty of places still devoid of bodies. It was as impressive as I last remembered it back in 2011 and then the Visitor centre hadn't even been built. And a snippet of iformation. It was declared a Heritage site by UNESCO in 1986.
|Bottom R a circle made of salt|
Instead of taking the bus back the cliff side walk appealed. What I had failed to realise (and Ian conveniently forgot to mention) was the 160 steps to be climbed on the way back up. Don't feel quite so guilty now in taking the bus earlier!
|View from the top. Bottom R is the giant's stones and all those pinhead dots are people|
One more visit on the agenda for today. Bushmills Whiskey distillery. I'm not a whiskey fan so after the tour, (no photos allowed) and shorter than usual because of the 'Silent Season' (no production of the whiskey so various stages were missed out) it was into the bar for the tasting. Below is Ian drinking his own as well as mine.
|No he is not inebriated (or so he said) blames his closed eyes on the flash! |
By now it was late afternoon so we looked for a night stop. Found one right on the seafront at Ballycastle.
|Well we just had to act as typical tourists|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |