Rob and I arrived in Belfast on the very early morning ferry at 6am, we were starving so first things first a greasy spoon for breakfast… Two sausages, black pudding, vegetable pudding, bacon, burger, tomatoes, mushrooms, soda bread and potato scones? Yes please!
We weren’t orienteering until the evening so as we were sure we would run better with some gentle exercise prior to starting we decided to climb Cave Hill the 400m view point just North of Belfast overlooking Belfast Lough.
The locals call it Napolean’s Nose… We couldn’t really see the likeness! We also visited the Belfast Castle built in the 12th Century but sadly burnt to the ground in the 18th before being rebuilt…
by a cat lover!!
For the next four days of our trip we orienteered at the JK. It was technical (for the UK!) and as I may have already mentioned I did rather well!!
After the orienteering was over Linds, Vanessa and Mum headed back to England leaving Rob and I to play!
We started by heading back to Belfast to stay with a couple of Rob’s friends from university, Alex and Nina. On our first day there we climbed Slieve Donnard, Northern Irelands highest moutain and sadly the one cloudy day of the holiday. The view from the top looked very much like many views in Scotland, The Lakes and Snowdonia!
The following day we used the excuse that Alex and Nina had to wait in for a delivery for a lazy day of barbecuing and reading before an early start to head north the next day.
As recommended by Alex we took The Causeway Coastal Route North which winds along the coast to Ballycastle.
When we arrived at Ballycastle we went for pootle along the cliff tops at Fairhead taking in some history as well as the views!
We’d camped right on the beach which seemed perfect for another barbecue and a bottle of wine that night!
The next day we had another early start but only to beat the tourists! Turns out if you arrive at The Giant’s Causeway at 6am you have it all to yourself as the sun rises…
It was lucky we had Indiana Jones with us or we’d never have found it…
It was a super obvious choice for NI but amazing all the same! Apparently it was formed when lava cooled slowly and cracked…
We then walked from the Giant Causeway along the very picturesque Causeway Coast to the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge which Salmon fishermen used to access salmon trying to find the right river to travel up to spawn.
Look no hands!!
It was very pretty indeed!
The cliffs are chalk with flint nodules… I tried to make fire but only managed to graze my fingers!
On the way home we visited the Loughareema Lake a famous beauty spot… It was a hot day though and Rob was thirsty…
It has a leaky chalk bed with the plug hole blocked with peat so the water can only percolate out slowly. It fills up after a heavy downpour and then slowly drains away. After the prolonged dry spell it was pretty much empty.
The next day we managed a little climbing at Fairhead we did the easiest routes (V. Diffs for those who know) but they seemed very hard indeed… Maybe first trad climb of the season syndrome??
After our short but scary climbs we took the ferry to Rathlin Island (Where Robert the Bruce hid out and was inspired by a spider. There was lots of seals and bird life in the nature reserve and we “wild” camped for free in a field next to a pub!
And that was pretty much it just a trip back to Belfast and the ferry home to work! All in all a fabulous holiday!