A walk on Rathlin island part 2.

It’s been a couple of weeks since my walk on Rathlin, the weather was grey and heavy rain has I left home. It rained for most of the 80 mile trip to Ballycastle to catch the 8.30am ferry across to the island. But half a hour before the ferry was due to leave the sky cleared and a beautiful morning took it’s place. The 35 minute crossing was a little choppy with a strong breeze roughing the water. The sun was now reflecting bright from the white houses that line Church Bay has we came into the harbour.

Coming into the harbour area of Church Bay.

Looking back at at part of the Church Quarter on my out to Rue lighthouse.

It was time to remove my coat and enjoy the warmth of the morning sun, get a hat on to protect my naked head from the sun and wind.

Island life can be hard on all people and objects.

A short walk and I’m leaving the main Church Quarter on the flat single track road that ends and gives way to the hills ahead.

It seems I’m the only walker heading this way.

The remains of the build on the right in the above photo is the Kelp house. It dominates the view for the next quarter mile. Before I get there I stop to get a few more photos. The beauty that surrounds you here make for a slow hike and a lot of photo opportunities. The colours turning to warm autumn tones, the sounds of the water kissing the shore fills a soul with contented peace.

A look back at the rugged landscape to holds Church bay.

Enjoying breakfast on the wild natural grasslands.

The Klep house.

A little history on the Kelp house.

Heading into the old building you get a feel of it’s size, the work that went into building the stone walls. The closeness of the sea and the views back towards the village.

Using a longer focal length lens to close the distance across the bay.

This Rock Pipit has stood and watched me invade it’s space. Thank you little one..

I was going to show you the wildlife I photographed on this walk but it would make for a long blog post. so I’ll add a few and put the rest into another post.

So on with the walk, shortly after leaving the Kelp house the hills start. from the ferry to where I go off road to follow the Roonivoolin Trail is around 1.75 mile. This trail takes you across fram land and its livestock, so if you have a fear off cattle or sheep it’s probably not for you. The path starts along the side of a small lough where I spotted a coots and golden-eyes on the water.

A Coot, if you have ever heard of the saying ” as baldy has a Coot” well you would have if you lived in the UK or Ireland. It’s thought the saying relates to this bird.

And here is the beautiful little Golden- eye duck, you can see how it got it’s name. These little ducks feed by diving for there food so you never know where they will surface.

The path is muddy and slippery underfoot has I follow the trail markers on the gentle climb towards the sea cliffs watched over by hardy hill sheep.

I love those eyes and the texture in the horns. In fact heres a close up below, not sure that you would agree with me but that eye is great.

You’ll never pass a sheep again without looking at it eyes..

Theres always someone to keep you posted the right way on the trail. Terrible pun ,sorry. Another Pipit, not sure if its a meddow or rock Pipit. They all look alike to me.

Another five mintues and you climb over a rickety stile and onto the cliff top walk. the path is a worn trail between a wire fence and a long drop. Watch your step, wet grass is slippery and I don’t fly like the gulls or crows that hug the cliffs.

The clouds are closing in and it looks like rain but with the company of a few woolly sheep leading the way I set off.

I’ll tag behind you..
You can see the dog-leg shape of the island from here. The yellow sign tells you to keep away from the edge, where do they put it… yep you go over to read it…

Great view down the cliffs.

The walk is safe if you stick to the path beside the fence, and take time out to look at the views. I was sorry I didn’t bring a flask of coffee to enjoy my breaks as I sat on a rock with nothing but the sounds of nature, no man make sounds reached me here. Bar the sounds this one made, but that was only my body trying to get air into it…

The next set of photos are some of the splendid views across the island in all directions.

Just follow the cliffs . the background with heavy cloud cover is the mainland of Northern Ireland.

Looking across the island to the East Lighthouse.

The rough lands of the island with Northern Ireland around five miles across the water.

The grand cliff of Fairhead on the County Antrim coast of N.Ireland.

Has you can see from the heavy cloud cover it was looking like heavy rain coming in. Luckly it stayed on the mainland where there were heavy downpours, we remained dry on the island.

Fairhead in N.Ireland, a rock climders heaven. 30+ years ago I climbed a few routes over there.

A moody B&W of the picture above.
Two hooded crows sit awaiting me like Odin’s two Ravens ‘Huginn and Muninn’.

Where the crows sat is the point where you turn away from the cliffs and start a downhill walk back towards the road. Below to the right is my destination, the smugglers cottages and Ushet port.

Ushet Port.

Rue lighthouse.

Dropping downhill I had one more incounter with the wolly guardians of Rue. Just checking this human was leaving…

Watching you..

With another rickity stile to climb over and a final down hill walk I exit unto the road. Swinging right it was down hill to the cottage ruins. This is where i go into stealth mode. Around Ushet port seals come into here, so it’s keep the ruins beween them and me. There is a break in the rear wall of the cottage closest to them,once inside it’s off with the camera bag and set up with a 150 -600 lens. Using the building for cover i get some shots of the seals. Here a shot below, see how I’m greeted.

A friendly wave from them both.

Here is a chopped section of the above shot.

Right it’s time to make my way back to Church Bay, this time its a road walk. There are very few cars on Rathlin so its safe on the roads here.

The call of the Buzzard.

A Bee in a flower.

The last few photos were taken on the walk back to the ferry. The rest of the wild life photos will be in another blog post. If you have lasted this long well done on coming with me on this walk, your are always welcome.

Back to Church bay and a visit to a chippie van, across to the beach and enjoyed the best chips/fries ever. On into the village and got a coffee to go, up to a little park area beside the church and sat enjoying my coffee. I still had a hour to kill before the ferry, I spotted the 3pm ferry getting ready so checked if I could change booking and was onboard in minutes. I sat on the upper outboard deck tucked in out of the wind, packed the camera away( I avoid the saltwater spray) and sat relaxing looking up at the cliffs I’d walked earlier in the day.

I’m going to leave you with two B & W photos I took on my walk back to Church Bay. Again thank you for joining me today.

Church Bay
An end to a beautiful day.

Thank you,

George.

Rathlin Island

Rathlin island sits about six miles off the north coast of Northern Ireland and around 11 miles from Scotland. In the spring/summer months sea birds in there hundreds converge here for the breeding season.

The Island is a dog leg shape around 8 mile long and around 1 mile wide, there are three lighthouses at the three points. The south lighthouse is closest to the N.Ireland shore, the East lighthouse looks out towards Scotland and it here that Robert the Bruce hid in a cave close to the lighthouse during the  First War of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland’s place as an independent kingdom and is now revered in Scotland as a national hero.

Looking across the Irish sea to Scotland 11 miles away from Rathlin. Island..

rathlincommunity.org

Its’ at the other end off the island the main centre for sea birds lies at the West lighthouse. It’s a reserve run by the RSPB and a bus runs from Church Bay out to the centre. The first thing is the noise from Thousands of sea birds fill the air and the other can be the smell that can fill the air if the wind blows in the wrong direction. But the sight you will never forget.

This is the top of one of the sea stacks, covered mostly with Guillemots.

Guillemots on another sea stack,

https://abhainncruises.com/portfolio-items/rathlin-island-trip/

The above photo is from abhainncruises.com and is a view of the west lighthouse. It’s different from the normal due to the light being at the bottom, you can see it here in this image situated in front /bottom of the main building.

The next images will be from the main viewing platform which is on the left of this image.

Kittiwake nests on the ledges high above the shore. These are true seagulls, with non-breeding period spent entirely at sea.

Razorbill, note they lay there eggs on the rock without a nest. Another bird that is rarely seen outside the breeding season. It spends most of it time far out at sea.

Razorbill. A beautiful bird with it’s striking marking on the bill.

Fulmar: to me this is one of our most beautiful seabirds, And to watch them fly in to land is a marvel to watch. They approach at high speed looking like it not stopping, then land so softly. Or to watch them hang on the wind coming off the cliff faces, truly amazing. has the next photograph shows.

Fulmar: Hanging on the breeze.

Fulmar: hanging the breeze.

This is all from Rathlin at this time. Planning a walk around part of the Island soon.

thank you all for viewing, take care

George.

Before I go I’d like to say hello to Evelyn and her mum who chatted to me on the ferry back to Ballycastle. Thank you for taking time to look at some off my images and enjoy your life at university.

ATB George.

https://www.rspb.org.uk

http://www.rathlincommunity.org/visit

Black & White Wednesday

Welcome to another B & W Wednesday, hope all is well in you in your part of the world. The norm of this post is a single photograph. I will be posting a few images if they are related to the day and place they where photographed.

So the location is in the Dromara hills close to my home. The morning was heavy fog but around 11.30 am the sun was burning it off and opening the views to that layered effect.

This was taken has I climbed up through Drumkerragh forest has the fog was thinning.

With the fog clearing quickly has I walked higher up into the forest the sound of crows and ravens filled the valley with there calls. Pairs flying from tree top to tree top it gave me a chance to get a few nice images. This one below is off a couple of Ravens on a dead tree.

Raven ( Corvus corax) is a member of the crow family.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/raven/

In spring if you ever get the chance to watch Ravens do their courting flight, please watch them. They love to fly and at times you might think they have a death wish has they race towards the earth.

Here’s a link to a short Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFKcj9aN7ZI

My next encounter was a small bird of prey, a Kestrel. I saw it sitting on a tree top and slowly made my way towards it. I lost sight of it and then has I rounded a group of trees there she sat. I got a few images has she sat looking around her but a bunch of twigs was spoiling them. Then she took off and came my way drifting on the breeze looking for prey. Nearly above me she started to hover and that’s when I got the following image.

Female Kestrel.

Kestrel ( Falco tinnunculus ) belongs to the falcon family of birds.

Kestrel:https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/animals/birds/kestrel/

These are another fun bird to watch has they hover in the sky looking for small prey on the ground, when spotted the drop at great speed onto there prey.

Kestrel hovering, this is a great slow motion film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0D-J0cgJME

Kestrel hovering and the dive in real time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaRSihpIU34

Hope you enjoyed a little part of my morning walk and a few of the wildlife we have here in Northern Ireland.

Take care and stay safe.

George.

Black & White Wednesday

Out early Sunday morning and went up to my local woods, Drumkerragh Forest. A misty view of the forest and Slieve Croob mountain greeted me. Has I set off with camera bag and monopod on my walk, I hoped the sun would burn off the mist. After three hours of walking and into my final mile the sun started to do its job.

This was taken with a Sigma 150-600 mm lens, shot at 240mm. I love the way a telephoto lens can give the appearance of compressed distance between distant objects in a scene.

This area has a large number of ravens around the woods at this time of the year. Walking towards some dead trees just of the trail. Two landed close by on one of the trees.

Missed the first one in but caught the second one landing has seen above.

This next shot is a silhouette shot edited in Silver efex pro, I use this to edit all my B&W images.

Again it contains a lone Raven sitting calling across the valley.

The start of the walk did not look promising from a photography point but I ended the morning with a few good shots to edit in the evening.

Thank you for visiting and stay safe.

George.

Black & white Wednesday

This weeks photograph come from the town of Trim in County Meath, Ireland. It was taken on my mobile/cell phone which is something I rarely do. Trim is around two and a half hours from my home and it being a warm September day I had to get out on my motorcycle. Trim has a lot of history and I’ll put a link at the bottom of the post for anyone interested.

The photograph is off the bridge over the River Boyne. The bridge is claimed to be the oldest in Ireland but there are others that claim the same title.

River Boyne, Trim, County Meath, Ireland.

Trim History: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trim,_County_Meath

Thank you for visiting.

Stay safe,

George.

Black & White Wednesday

In parts of Ireland people believe that the spirits of the dead still live within the ruins of their homes.

Who am I to disagree with them. This shot taken through a gap in the trees with a telephoto lens and shows a small stone homestead with out houses built onto the main house. It possibly had a thatched roof when built and since this is hill country it would have been hard to live of the land here. Today it’s mostly sheep on the hills with some cattle on land that has been cleared and reseeded for better grazing.

The spiky looking plants in the foreground is soft Rush. these use to used for light at night in poorer house holds. Here is a link to there use: https://www.libraryireland.com/SocialHistoryAncientIreland/III-XVII-9.php

Camera :Nikon D7200 . Lens : Sigma 150-600 telephoto.

Data: ISO 500, f9 @ 1/250 second. Focal length 240 mm.

Thank you for visiting.

Stay safe,

George.

Black & White Wednesday

This weeks photograph is taken at Castle Espie a WWT reserve here in Northern Ireland. It sit’s on the shore of Strangford lough, which is a sea lough on the east side of the country close to the town of Comber. The reserve was the site of the old Castle Espie brick and pottery factory. This photograph was take from the  Lime Kiln Observatory which is built on top of the old lime kiln’s.

Looking over one of the ponds in Castle Espie and the mud flats of Strangford lough.

Castle Espie and WWT link: https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/castle-espie#

Camera: Nikon D7200 Lens: Sigma 17-70 mm

Photo data: ISO 100: f8 @ 1/250 sec : Lens at 17mm.

Thank you for visiting,

George.

Black & White Wednesday

This weeks photograph come from County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It was one of the Photo points (No.6) on the Irish photo rally 2020. (Link below) The idea is to ride and photograph your motorcycle at each of the given locations. You get to see parts of Ireland you would never dream for going to.

Rossinver Mór National School.

Picture info: Nikon D7200 camera, Sigma 17 – 70mm lens: 1/20sec @ f11 22mm and ISO 126

Irish Photo Rally 2020 info here: http://www.irishphotorally.ie/map

Thank you for visiting.

George.

Black and White Wednesday.

This weeks photography come from the small coastal town of Killough . It sit’s on the County Down coast looking across the Irish sea towards the Isle of Man. It shows the old windmill that overlooks the harbour end of the town from where this shot was taken.

Killough windmill remains.

Link to some history of Killough. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killough#Places_of_interest

Thank you for visiting,

Regards

George.

Black and White Wednesday

Todays photograph is from the old Lagan canal which runs from Belfast to Lisburn in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. This bridge is built from sandstone and locally called the high bridge and is still in use has the Ballyskeagh road cross’s it. It also give the bridge it’s name. Ballyskeagh bridge

This area is set in the Lagan Valley regional park, the path covers a distance of 14 miles and is also part of a 22 mile cycle route.

Photograph was taken on my mobile/cell phone and edited in Snapseed.

Thank you for visiting.

George.