Monday, 10 October 2011

A Tweet Trip Along the North Antrim Coast

This was my first attempt at live tweeting a day trip via Twitter and it seemed a good idea at the time. It almost worked, however there really is only so much you can show with low resolution photos and delays in updates due to sporadic 3G signal in rural spots. So really, it wasn't quite 'live tweeting' and didn't turn out to be quite the form of instant blogging I'd hoped it might be. No worries though. Here is a post of the same trip with some proper photos that includes the Tweets from our day out along the coast.

Waterlogged rowing boat in Carnlough Harbour

We set off relatively early on the 28th August, the 5 of us filling up the majority of space within the car. The weather wasn't looking like it was going to do us any favours with a mega-grey-boring-a-stratus formation looming overhead. We don't usually need nice weather to have a good time though, you develop that ability by living in the UK for any length of time, I'd go so far to say it's a natural fail safe of a mindset that prevents us all turning into troglodytes for 8 months of the year.

We were setting off in the morning but our aim was to make it to Portrush by the evening to meet up with some more friends and head out for a meal and catch up. The trip didn't end up quite the way we expected but it wasn't for lack of trying.

It wasn't long before we were coasting through Carrickfergus, always a nice reminder of a great day as the Castle was where Norngirl and I got married. Also, as you can tell from the tweet at the time, a notorious local spot for eating ice cream. We didn't stop there though and we also didn't stop in Larne.

Our first stop, as is now tradition, was in the car park by the Spar shop at Carnlough. We bought snacks and ate them at the harbour whilst watching a guy trying to land fish... in that the line he cast from the quayside flew and landed on the grass at the otherside of the harbour... oops.

Carnlough Harbour

The harbour is one of the nicest on the North Coast, very small but very quaint. Each time we've been there the small boats (like the rowing boat at the start of this post) look very much a rural and local harbour, aided by the very clear water and seaweed.

Carnlough Harbour Seaweed

Even the steps down to the water look like they were set there for a movie.

Looking into Carnlough harbour

Sufficiently amused by the dry land fishing and still also dry ourselves as the overcast sky hadn't unleashed its wrath yet, we jumped back in the car and headed along the road that cuts through a familiar by remote rural landscape. The road took us to our next port of call, Ballycastle.

In Ballycastle, we parked up near to a mobile home that contained a strange lady who wanted to tell us our fortunes. Happy to allow our futures to remain unknown - surely it's best to avoid those awkward moments when you already know what is going to happen and have to try and act all surprised, we walked past the lady and headed to the beach.

Ballycastle Beach

It was a windswept beach, even the wasps flying around the bins had trouble sticking to their flight plans due to the now wet salty breeze (as the rain was starting to fall) so we kept to the path and had a look at the ruins of the former salt workings and the sculptures - like this one of some seagulls...

Seagull Sculpture at Ballycastle

...before heading back towards the warmth of a small cafe. I wasn't hungry though so left the rest of the bunch to have their hot drinks and snacks as I went in search of a photo as I'd never really explored Ballycastle very much.

Ballycastle Harbour

I wandered around the harbour and then up to the top of the hill but the rain pretty much scuppered taking photos as I had to dry the lens repeatedly, I took a couple though.

Ballycastle Boat

After reuniting with everyone, we headed back to the car and got back on the road. The usual next stop would have been the rope bridge or the Giants Causeway but weather-wise at least, it wasn't a great day for those. It also wasn't good weather to visit the remains of Dunseverick Castle for the first time.

Dunseverick castle

It was looking quite pretty but as you can make out from the photo on the tweet at the time, there was an ominous cloud. We made it about 20 meters then mystical sky-wee fell from the clouds, it didn't take long for us to decided to make a quick u-turn and dash back to the car. We were slightly damp but our spirits hadn't been dampened as we ploughed ahead.

Next up was another Castle. Dunluce Castle. We didn't look around the castle itself but we did make it as far as the top of the hill looking down at the site and down to the gift shop at the entrance.

Dunluce Castle scene

Dunluce Castle Entrance

Arch at Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle

Even on a dull day, the area around Dunluce Castle is a very picturesque part of the coast.

Headland along the North Antrim Coast

Swell over the rocks along the North Coast

In the search for some form of entertainment that incorporated a greater percentage of time spent under a roof, our next stop was Portrush. We had to queue all the way into and around Portrush, there were events on and it was a bank holiday weekend, bad combo for getting anywhere very quickly. The car parks were all but full and after a few circles around one we managed to catch a car leaving and claimed our spot. Led by our tastebuds, the earlier thought of ice cream had developed into a yearning for ice cream. So first it was ice cream and second it was a visit to Barry's and a couple of rides.

Barry's Amusement Park Building

Norngirl then led us to the Waltzers for not just one but two consecutive rides and we had great fun, many laughs.

Merrily discombobulated and after some moderatly inappropriate posing with candy-floss, we walked down to the harbour.

Portrush Harbour Entrance

Portrush Harbour

The light was fading but we still had some time to kill before we were due to meet our friends who were meeting us by the restaurants at the harbour. We spent some of that time being highly amused by this sign.

Harbour Tackle

The rest of the time we spent watching the waves hitting against the harbour wall sea defences, the waves and spray giving us a taste for the sea both visually and orally.

Sea spray on the rocks

To be honest I could have stayed there all evening as I love just watching the waves splash against the shore and it's hard to pull yourself away from a view like this.

The Sea at Portrush

We had dinner plans though and so when the time came we headed down from the wall. Sadly despite taking no reservations there were mega waiting times for any of the restaurants with decent on-line reviews. With one of our now extended group heavily pregnant at the time, we made alternative plans as waiting silly times wasn't going to happen. Our meal in Portrush will have to wait for another day. We were heading to Coleraine.

After a long walk back to the car and a short drive, we made it to the outskirts of Coleraine and at the advice of our friends who were a little more used to frequenting this part of the world, we had a meal at the Yoko restaurant and noodle bar. I was very impressed by the food, especially given that from the outside it looks like a run of the mill chain restaurant in an out of town retail park. It was even nicer to have a good meal with great company and we were sad to leave but we had to make it back home to Belfast. My tweets had stopped sending by this point, I had no idea why as the 3G signal seemed strong enough. They did make it from drafts to the net later on but that's where the live tweeting really broke down. No need to worry though, that's what a blog is for.

As with every other trip I've had along this route, it was a good day out and even on a day with miserable weather it was still impossible not to be captivated by the natural beauty of this part of the world. A trip very much recommended... just be sure (if you plan to eat somewhere nice) that you can to book ahead at a restaurant and try not to wing it on a wet bank holiday!


  1. What a strangely beautiful area. Those pictures of the cliffs and the waves, though -- I suspect that I'd have the urge to throw myself into the sea...


  2. Lovely, lovely photos. Thanks for the virtual tour. I love the sea bird sculpture.



Related Posts with Thumbnails