On the Causeway Coast – 23rd and 24th July 2012

Monday morning driving north in the rain.  Jon is using his new satnav device and has set it to ‘most direct’ route, so we find ourselves on minor roads crossing the Sperrins – an area of outstanding natural beauty.  Bleak heath and high moor complete with ancient burial sites, all on pre-Cambrian rock.  This place is worthy of a trip all by itself – but we motor on to Port Stewart and the Anchor Hotel.

Rob standing on precarious position over Port Stewart Harbour. The prom runs alongside the bay behind me.

Port Stewart is a bit like Hornsea – a small holiday resort almost dying on its feet.  The coast is grand, and faces west, which offers great sunsets

Sunset and crashing waves at Port Stewart – worth the trip for this alone.

and big waves rolling in.

Beautiful waves, one after another, surging into a small bay at Port Stewart

We eat reasonably well in our hotel, and finish the evening sipping the miniatures of Bushmills we were given on our tour of the Bushmills Distillery during the afternoon.  Next day is the Giant’s Causeway – another brand new mainly underground visitors’ centre with a curious steel exterior wall that we finally decide is supposed to look a bit like columnar basalt.

The most surprising thing is how small the causeway is.

The actual causeway is in the foreground, beyond it a cliff with the so-called chimney

Even including the Giant’s pipe-organ and Giant’s chimney its not an extensive area – but it is fascinating

The organ pipes are tall. They are on the cliff-face between the Causeway and the Chimneys. The vertical cracks are the result of very slow cooling of a particularly thick layer of molten lava, and so are the horizontal cracks whichdivide each column into short pieces.

Landslips seem common, there were two almost blocking paths on the cliffs, but no sign that routes are seriously closed as a result.

After the Organ pipes we walked – passed a landslip – up a long climbing path to the cliff top, where we found this view down onto the causeway.

After a shopping opportunity in the Visitor Centre and something to eat from the Visitor Cafe we drove on to the rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede.  The day was getting on so we did a brisk three-quarter mile walk to the bridge, queued to cross it, took a few pics,

On our way back to the mainland. The rock on the other side of the bridge is volcanic ash, but out to the right are chalk cliffs, topped with more (set back) volcanic ash,

queued to get back and walked swiftly back to the car park and cafe.

Soon driving back to the hotel, but stop to gaze at two castles.  The smaller Dunseverick Castle.

This is the site of a possible Iron Age Fort, but the walls left here are all that remains of a 16th century fort built by feuding local families – MacDonnells, MacQuillans, O’Neills and O’Cahans were mentioned.

And the rather grander Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle – more 16th century feuding

 

I feel I should leave you with something more up to date, so perhaps I can say Jon and Denise, and Jackie and I (that is me and Ms Jones) had a fine dinner at the boutique hotel and restaurant called Me and Mrs Jones, just opposite our hotel.  And the gents loo was curiously lit.

UV lighting in the Gents at Me and Mrs Jones

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