My last post was about the walk out to Rue lighthouse. This is the photographs of the wildlife I took while out on the trail. I hopefully will give them the right I.D, so I hope you enjoy the photos.
So the first photos show the Eider duck.
Next up is three photos of a Curlew ( NUMENIUS ARQUATA)
The first bird to be photographed has I move away from the coast is a Stonechat (male) sitting on a wire fencing.
The Coot is up next, this is a very common bird here in Ireland found on all types of water ways.
The next bird I post on my last blog post has a Golden eye, after looking closer I think it’s a female Tufted Duck
I’m now off road and walking up towards the clipp top trail when I hear the call of a Buzzard (BUTEO BUTEO)
Just before the cliff top trail a flock of Curlew’s flew pass.
The next batch of photographs were taken from the ruin cottages down by the coast near Rue lighthouse
The walk back to Church Bay was by road, and it along the first mile this photo’s were taken.
I have just got back to walking along the coast, a small sandy beach nests in the rocky coast line. I blimb down a take a seat on a sandy bank at it’s edge. It’s from here I get some of the small waders feeding here.
These are the last birds I photographed before entering the village. Again I’ll leave you with this photo of the Kelp house .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dropping downhill I had one more incounter with the wolly guardians of Rue. Just checking this human was leaving…
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
This is all from Rathlin at this time. Planning a walk around part of the Island soon.
thank you all for viewing, take care
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.
A beautiful morning greeted me on awaking, sun lighting up the bedroom and birds singing. Shower and dressed I was ready for the road. Open vents in my jacket and sort light weight gloves, fire up the bike and I’m off. Four mile up the road and I’m riding in thick fog, forty miles later and I’m still in it. My first point today is on the north coast of Ireland, its number 2 on the rally map . Portstewart harbour and the Jimmy Kennedy memorial. The Fishing boat.
Has you can see it was a gray day here, in fact its rain lightly. Jimmy kennedy was a song writer born in Northern Ireland, wrote songs sung by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and other great singers. Jimmy Kennedy There’s an art gallery and cafe across the road so a cup of coffee and its time to go. Head across the north coast towards the east coast and follow it south. A short ride over to Portrush take me along part of the North West 200 road race. The track is along public roads which they close while the motorcycle races are taking place. Speeds in access of 200 mph / 321kph are hit on parts of the circuit. Heres a link to a You Tube clip of the racing. NW 200 .
Leaving Portrush for the coast road running down the east side of the country the rain is falling but the sky is clear ahead. The first town I come to is Bushmills. For any whisky drinkers out there this is where the famous Bushmills whisky is distilled. Bushmills . Okay for those that opened the link, I thought you might enjoy the it. Turning left in the centre of town and continue along the coastal route. Today I give the town of Dunseverick a miss and turn off for Ballintoy harbour. Down pass the small white church and follow the narrow winding road down to the harbour.
Just before you turn down into harbour you pass ‘Bendhu’, this house was built by a artist from Cornwall in the south of England. Another link Bendhu . Please visit this link to see and learn about this piece of art.
A coffee and a chat with a couple from Hungary touring on a motorcycle and its time to continue south. Has you climb out of Ballintoy village you pass the Carrick-na-reed rope bridge.
The next town on route it Ballycastle. Every year they have Irelands oldest fair here in August, The Auld Lammas Fair is held over two days. Six miles off the coast is the island of Rathlin. A beautiful island where you can walk on roads and never see any traffic. There are three lighthouses on the island with one being a bird sanctuary where sea bird come to breed every year. Getting across is on a small ferry, foot passage only.
Out of town and I go down a small road that splits the golf course in two, and pull over to look across at Rathlin and the Scottish hills. Rarhlin was just showing through the sea mist and Scotland could not be seen.
This is Ballycastle beach looking back towards the town. Has the photo shows it was still cloudy but warm and dry. The hills in the background is north and the road I traveled down follows them. South and I take the Tor head road that hugs the rugged coast with fantastic views across the Irish sea into Scotland. will there would be if this sea mist clears. Next stop is Murlough, a viewing point with great sea views.
This shot see’s the mist clearing and the sun has dropped in to say hello. That is one of Rathlin Islands lighthouse’s in the mid ground and Scotland in the background. Scotland is only 13 mile across from Ireland at this point. From here its follow the road around around to Cushendun where there is a grand little tea room beside the harbour. No luck this time for it is full so needing fuel I head on to Cushendall. While stopped for fuel my sister and hubby stopped. Never know who you meet…. great to see them. My next point is inland a few miles from Ballygally, another small seaside town. This time its up into the hills and another view point and my rally point. A plaque To Judge Richard Campbell (1870-1935) link It was non stop down the coast road to Larne. If you ride a motorcycle this ranks has one of the great motorcyclist road in the world. Sandwiched between rock face and just a stone wall with the sea lapping on the other side it makes some riders nervous and others love the thrill of riding this fast. From Larne I follow the coast around through Carrickfergus. There is a Norman castle here worth a visit if you happen to be passing this way. Castle.
From Carrick has we call it here in the north it was onto Belfast and Stop for a coffee. From Belfast it over to Comber on the shore of Strangford lough and follow the lough shore around to Mahee Island. These small isles are connected with man made causeways. And this time it Mahee/Hendrum castle is the rally photo. The temperature has climbed and now when I stop the jacket has to come off.
With the sky clear and the sun high its not great for photography. But its the last for this trip, I strap the jacket to the bike and its tee shirt and sunshine for the trip back home.
A few hundred metre’s from here is Nendrum Monastic site, with some great views and the remains of an old Monastery dating back to the 5th century. But that will be another trip and post.