North Coast Dreams (video) Slideshow of the Causeway Coast County Antrim.

Ive created a little slideshow video here of several pictures Ive taken around the North Antrim coastline. Its my first attempt at this so forgive its amateurish limitations. Locations seen include Castlerock, Binevenagh, Portrush, Portstewart, Dunseverick, Port Moon, Gortmore, White Rocks, and a glimpse of Dunluce Castle.

 

A 2017 Winters Morning. Portrush, White Rocks Co.Antrim

Even in Winter, on the windswept North Antrim coast (which gets a never ending battering from the Atlantic ocean), you can find peace and solitude away from the tourist draws of Belfast. No murals here, no big buildings with sunken ships, no relics of mans past, just a natural sight that hasnt changed for millenia.  

 

Shortly after sunrise on a cold, but beautiful February morning in 2017. White Rocks, near Portrush.

 

Stretching far off into the distance you would be looking towards the Giants Causeway and Fair Head here.

 

Slightly further up the coast from the White Rocks theres a small car park that has a stunning view. In one direction you can look back towards the rocks (and Portrush can be clearly seen) and in the other…. Dunluce Castle sits perched on its cliff top where its seen thousands of sunrises just like this one (click for large pictures).

 

A final view from above the White Rocks where the second biggest sand dune in Ireland towers above the beach as early walkers come out to take advantage of the sunshine.

Port Moon, County Antrim, Causeway Coast

A while ago I posted some pictures taken at Dunseverick Grasslands which involved climbing over the wall at the Dunseverick Castle layby and walking right around the headland there. Its a truly stunning walk and one thats hidden from the road so it can only be accessed on foot. There is another walk in the opposite direction however which is just as amazing towards a magical little bay called Port Moon.

moon-1

Port Moon has a long history of fishing going back well over 200 years and from 1830 nets were attached to the rocks offshore to catch Atlantic salmon on their journey to the river Bush for spawning. Crabs, lobsters and kelp were also harvested here.

moon-2

One of the crags jutting out into the sea on the walk to Port Moon, clearly showing the hexagonal columns which cover this area very close to the Giants Causeway (less than 5mls away).

moon-3 moon-4

Your first views of the little “Fish House” bothy seen from several hundred feet above Port Moon bay (and yes, you can climb down there if youre brave enough).

moon-6 moon-5

The surrounding area is simply stunning.

moon-7

After climbing down the looping path to the bottom of the cliff (it looks much more scary than it actually is, but be careful if its been raining as it can be slippery) you arrive at the old Fish house which now operates as a bothy (a small hut or cottage used as a refuge) which you can arrange to stay at if youre feeling adventurous (see here: http://www.canoeni.com/canoe-trails/north-coast-sea-kayak-trail/access-point/port-moon/ ). The building used to house all fishing operations at Port Moon but had fallen into disrepair until it was resurrected as a bothy in 2011. There are some pictures of the inside here https://www.hikersblog.co.uk/an-overnight-stay-in-port-moon-bothy/ but normally its locked.

moon-9 moon-8

Looking out across the bay from the Port Moon shore. Not bad for a wintery February morning!

moon-10

The bothy seen from the opposite side of the crescent shaped (moon shaped) bay.

moon-11 moon-12

Port Moon, a magical little place now deserted and haunted by the ghosts of its fishing past. Its really worth seeing and its very much an undiscovered gem of NI that most residents wont even have seen. Dunseverick Castle may not be much to look at but once over that wall and walking either left or right youll surely be impressed.

 

Divis & The Black Mountain Belfast

Providing the back drop for the city of Belfast, Divis Mountain was the filming location for several scenes in the movie “Dracula Untold” and there’s certainly a lot of old history up here. On a clear day there are views of Strangford Lough, the Mournes, The Sperrins, as well as Scotland and Donegal. The area is covered with 1,500 acres of upland heath and blanket bog and its home to a wealth of flora and fauna and archaeological remains. There are several easy walks around the area too with wooden paths and tarmacked routes allowing almost anyone to enjoy the fresh air and greenery above Belfast.

divis-1

After arriving at the car park youll see this welcome sign. Entrance is free.

divis-3 divis-5 divis-4

There are 4 routes around the area. Ranging from an easy 1 mile amble, to something a bit more strenuous (4 miles).

divis-8 divis-6

None of the routes involve any real climbing apart from a stile or two.

divis-14 divis-9 divis-13

Depending on the time of year, there’s some wonderful bursts of colour up here.

divis-11 divis-10

Which leads to fantastic views over the entire city.

divis-15

So next time youre in Belfast for a day or two take a walk across the Divis & Black Mountain trails (theres a cafe for refreshments too – check opening times etc here: https://www.facebook.com/diviscoffeebarn/ )

Portmuck Islandmagee County Antrim

Islandmagee is a peninsula on the east coast of Co.Antrim and in many ways its often disregarded by many in Northern Ireland given that its off the beaten path. Its very much a rural community there although it does house Ballylumford power station which provides Northern Ireland with half its electricity, but hidden away at the north eastern tip of Islandmagee lies Portmuck which really is worth a visit.

Portmuck doesn’t get its name from its hygienic condition, but rather from the old Irish word for pig which was “muc” therefore the label actually means harbour of pigs. A long time ago the area had a roaring trade in cattle, horses, and pigs so it looks like the swine managed to give the place its name (though some say its because the island off shore here looks like a sleeping pig but its open to question). The island is known simply as The Isle of Muck (lol) which was once a hiding place for horses when they were being smuggled across from Scotland by those wishing to avoid excise or having them taken away.  It was also a retreat for a few scamps on the run from the law.

 

portmuck-2

Some information you will see on arriving at the car park in Portmuck. You can read some notes about the history of the place and there are toilets and useful picnic benches nearby.

 

dsc08937dsc08936

The little beach at Portmuck and a view taken from the right side hill looking down on the harbour. Really very tranquil and peaceful.

 

dsc08922

From the hill top overlooking Portmuck bay you can see The Isle of Muck (not to be confused with an island of the same name in Scotland) which today provides the third largest nature reserve for birds in Northern Ireland including kittiwake, guillemot, fulmar and razorbill with peregrine falcons commonly hunting over the island. You can catch sight of puffins, otters, common and grey seals and porpoises offshore too. The only way on to the island is by approaching from the land facing side (seen here).

 

portmuck-11

From the hill top you should see some wooden steps to take you down to the rocks below. I highly recommend you go down. Once there, walk right along the shore until you come to this beautiful white stoned beach. The water is stunningly clear as you look across to the island.

portmuck-10

Made up of mostly limestone pebbles (limestone is quite common along many shoreline parts of Co.Antrim) the beach here is hidden behind the headland at Portmuck and you wont see it unless you go look for it. Many of these stones will contain fossils and you can find them relatively easily if you know what to look for (just like Whitepark Bay https://niviews.com/2015/02/18/whitepark-bay-north-coast-county-antrim/ )

dsc08928

The limestone beach in bright sunlight really glows and the camera probably hasn’t done it justice here. You might be able to see a line in the water cutting across to the island which is actually a causeway that can be used to walk over at very low tide. I don’t know anyone who’s done it but the old picture here (not mine) clearly shows that its possible when the tide drops low enough: https://i.imgsafe.org/1452c6cf49.jpg its also said that livestock (many years ago) where brought to and from the island this way. I have to say however, I think it looks a lot more beautiful when the causeway is covered by the sea.

dsc08931

The edge of the causeway.

 

portmuck-14

Just beyond the beach lies some huge green cliffs which Ive read contains a two mouthed cave that may be accessible at low tide. Sadly this was as far as I could go today though.

dsc08941

At the left side of the beach there’s a small gate that allows you access to walking a path high above Portmuck Bay (marked by this sign).

 

dsc08961

Once at the top, the view was simply stunning…. 🙂 You can see the Portmuck island just behind the bay.

Titanic Belfast, Titanic Quarter & SS Nomadic

Once again Ive fallen a bit behind with posting a months pictures as work (and our new house needing decorating) just got in the way. Sadly my May 2016 post sunk into oblivion and never came to fruition but (again) I really want to get things back on track particularly now that I’m paying for the website (as my free WordPress allowance burst its seams with the amount of pictures Ive posted haha).

So talking of things that sunk (see what I did there?) its time for a visit to the hugely popular Titanic Centre area of Belfast although I didn’t actually visit any of the exhibitions there, I just wandered around outside snapping the vast area of land it covers. But it was a really enjoyable walk and it was totally free.

 

titanic (7)

The huge Titanic sign at the main entrance to the exhibition centre. There’s car parking below the centre that costs £1.50 per hour and there’s a cafe inside too if you just wanted to visit the area and pop in.

 

titanic (2)  titanic (6)

The June weather was wonderful on the day of my visit, and the Titanic building itself is pretty impressive dominating the skyline with every angle offering a different photo opportunity.

titanic (4)

Around the back of the Titanic building is Titanic Studios which used to be called the Paint Hall where all the components of the ships built here were painted and kept in climate controlled conditions. Today however, its actually much more interesting with the building becoming one of the biggest film studios in Europe, and being the filming location for movies and TV series such as City of Ember, Your Highness, Series 1 of Game of Thrones, and the very recent release of Ben Wheatleys “High Rise”.

titanic (5)

There are many signs and information boards around the area so you really don’t have to pay to see any of the exhibitions in the main building if you’re on a tight budget (and you can of course enter the building for free too).

titanic (14)

Please don’t climb up behind this lady whilst singing a Celine Dion song 🙂

 

titanic (12)

Across the road and facing the front of the Titanic Centre you can also visit the SS Nomadic which was tender to the Titanic and its also the last White Star Line surviving ship in the world.

titanic quarter (52)

The SS Nomadic has been fully restored and for less then £8 you can go on board and look around.

titanic (9)

titanic (13)

The Nomadic really has been restored to an excellent condition and looks fantastic sitting in the summer sunshine.

titanic (10)

Nomadic sitting on a shallow sea of algae. You can see how close it is to the Titanic building just to the left. Its a great little area for strolling around for a few hours for sure.

titanic (1)

And before I left I just had to snap one of these iconic yellow monsters piercing the blue sky of Belfast on such a lovely June day.

Whitepark Bay, County Antrim, Panorama View

Ive been a little busy this past month or so as our landlord decided to sell the house we’ve been renting (privately for 5 years) so we had to find another home (arrgh!) Its been a bit of a stressful time house-hunting but we finally found somewhere new and now its just a matter of getting everything packed up to move on. I really wanted to get a few pictures on the site for the month of April however as its almost over and I didn’t want to miss this months entry, so the two pictures below are just a quick post to fill the gap. 🙂

The two photographs below were taken (as always with my trusty compact camera) from the roadside overlooking the beautiful Whitepark Bay in County Antrim. Ive already posted some pictures of Whitepark before (see here:  https://niviews.com/2015/02/18/whitepark-bay-north-coast-county-antrim/ ) but not from such a high vantage point as seen here. The pictures were taken back in June 2015 on a glorious summers day, and basically the first one is looking left from our stopping point on the road and the other is looking right. A truly stunning vista….

whitepark (6)

Looking left over Whitepark Bay, you can see the tiny village of Portbradden sitting just beyond the cliffs, and Fairhead is far off in the distance.

 

whitepark (5)

Looking right, down to the south end of the bay where you can hunt for one of the many prehistoric fossils strewn along the shore. Whitepark is a beautiful (and almost always tranquil) spot on the renowned County Antrim coast.

 

See you next month….. 🙂