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.
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