Thursday, 24 September 2015
Giant's Causeway. Causeway Coast. Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. Northern Ireland.
This is a trip we undertook on the first full day over in the Emerald Isle which was exploring the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland. Marion kindly volunteered to drive us in her car on what would be mainly a sightseeing trip, visiting the famous locations, known world wide, like the Giant's Causeway, seen above, and the Carrick- A- Rede Rope Bridge to reach an offshore island. We would be passing Derry/Londonderry, then the scenic seaside towns of Coleraine, Portstewart, and Portrush to get there.
As both attractions have been featured on many television programmes over the years I was looking forward to seeing them in reality but nothing prepared me for the crowds of tourists, especially as most of the other world class scenery in the Republic had been empty with only a handful of other visitors. We had grown so used to having spectacular places to ourselves over in Ireland both on the sea cliffs and on the mountains that it was a real shock to find so many people here.
As it was a once in a lifetime event Graeme, Bob, and myself paid our euros and crossed onto the island but after the wild, empty sea cliffs in the Republic it was somewhat of an anticlimax. To some folk this would be a major and memorable event crossing here but with our background of scrambling, visiting remote sea stacks and mountaineering it was a bit tame if I'm honest and hands in pockets stuff. We soon returned as you couldn't actually go anywhere on this tiny lump with steep cliffs falling into the sea on all sides and a well trampled grassy centre about the size of a large council garden was the prize for arriving on the island.
Took a lot of finding but here's a link proving that chalk and limestone cliffs can coexist together. A personal puzzle for me that needed explaining. You learn something new every day :o)
This entire area did seem to attract more tourists though compared to the places we'd been in the Republic detailed in previous posts. Maybe being part of the UK it was promoted more widely there as the scenery on all our trips north and south have been equally stunning but it's the landscape in the Republic that stands out simply because it's less well known, mysterious, and a complete surprise usually every time we turn a corner.
Below is a famous and iconic castle on a rock plug high above the sea. Look at- In popular culture near the bottom of this link if you think you have seen it before
Now for something completely different. Surfing the "Silver Dragon", a massive tidal river bore in China through the middle of a large city. The largest of its kind in the world.