Gortmore and Binevenagh, County Derry/Londonderry

On a cold November day like this one, you’d better dress up warm for where we are going now. Taking the little twisty road up from Downhill beach (posting that soon) you climb through the wilds of Northern, erm, Northern Ireland to Gortmore and on along the Binevenagh plateau. Amazing views, and very, very, windy. Brrrr!

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The road to Gortmore, bleak, yet beautiful.

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Eventually you will come to this National Trust signpost (one end points to Castlerock, one to Limavady) and a carpark.

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Walk out along this path, and hold onto your hat!

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A panoramic shot of the view up here. Its not called windy hill for nothing.

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Some info provided.

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Gortmore Viewpoint is situated on the Bishop’s Road, on the Binevenagh Loop which is part of the Causeway Coastal Route. On a clear day views extend across to Donegal and the islands of Islay and Jura off the west coast of Scotland. Picnic facilities are available. In addition, a sculpture of Manannan Mac Lir, a sea God originating from this area can be viewed from this scenic viewpoint. The distant headland here is where we went next…

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Getting your bearings.

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Follow the road on from Gortmore through the glorious landscape then take the sign for Binevenagh forest (the lake isn’t very well signposted). Once at the lake above, park your car and set off on foot along the trail ahead. All pics above are full size by clicking (as ever).

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You’ll soon come to this. Prepare for the views and a rush of vertigo!

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Its impossible for any photograph to do this area justice. The height above sea level cant really be conveyed. If you have a fear of heights, get near the edge and youll feel sick haha.

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Like you’re on top of the world. Gortmore is almost 900ft up so I reckon this must be something the same. In the distance before you is Magilligan Point.

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Simply breath taking. And Binevenagh remains a place rarely mentioned in the tourist guides for Northern Ireland. Shame. We cant wait to return. It also proves that even in Winter, you can still get out there and enjoy the countryside.

Tamlaghtard Church, Cemetery, and School, County Derry

Its hard to know where to locate this church based on what it says on Google. Some sites state its in Bellarena, others near Limavady, and some in Magilligan. Safe to say its in County Derry however (parish of Tamlaghtard), and sits just below the stunning Binevenagh plateau. Tamlaghtard is said to mean “the cemetery on the height” which is hardly surprising based on its position. It was built somewhere around 1784 and has a wonderful setting in this designated area of outstanding natural beauty. You can see the little church clearly in the distance if you travel from Castlerock to Derry by train. The denomination here is Church of Ireland, and the grounds contain an old school (now abandoned) which may have doubled up as a robing room. There is also a (creepy) tomb of sorts at the back of the attached cemetery which you can see below.

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Tamlaghtard Church. Simply lovely location.

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Seen from the front on an early Winter morning 2014.

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A distant plane leaves for places afar, above Tamlaghtard Church.

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The attached old graveyard, with the imposing Binevenagh cliffs towering behind.

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At the very back of the old graveyard lies this tomb in the right hand corner.

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One of the headstones on the tomb.

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The door was open.

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A look inside.

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These stone coffins were old based on the dates.

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Pretty creepy in here.

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In front of the church is this little building which apparently is an old abandoned school (if anyone knows more let me know).

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The front of the “school” – the door at the back had blown off in the wind it seemed…

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We had a look inside. Very dark, very creepy.

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With the flash on, things became much more illuminated.

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A little desk. We didnt touch or move anything for the few minutes we had a look inside.

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The paint and windows from inside.

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Somebody didn’t want anyone to come in this door, that’s for sure.

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Obviously electrics had been added at some time. The building is mentioned as being used as a robing room as far back as the late 19th century. Apart from that, the internet seems to give up nothing else about the building. Those little coat hooks on the wall could probably tell a story though.

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Is that the book from the Evil Dead movie on the ceiling? I hope not lol.

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Time to leave Tamlaghtard Church. So many more things to see in this area.