We spent great day in Glenarm making the most of the facilities, sights, and hospitality, but with the weather improving, it was time to make a move. As Lindsey summarised it, everyone talks about the West coast as the coast to paddle, but the North coast was definitely impressive. The coastline was formed in a range of environments from arid desert, warm tropical seas, explosive volcanic eruptions, to cold glacial conditions providing interesting structures, variety of colours and material. The tides are quite noticeable here, we no longer could paddle when we pleased, and definitely had to get onto the conveyor belt, since getting it wrong would result in no progress at all. As it was we completely missed Cushendun on our way up, and the last chance of filling our cameras with pictures of one of The Doors from Game of Thrones.
But rounding the Torr Head was as spectacular as any old wood carving, I am sure. The first evening we finished at Ballycastle and spent a surprisingly warm if wet night on the concrete of the harbour.
We were even allowed to use the marina, which was great.
The following day was the day of paddling past the causeway itself. A great rainy day with impressive sights. First that came into view was Dunseverick Castle, then the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, first erected in 1755 leading to a cliff with fisherman cottage. Must say nowadays I would rather paddle underneath it than walking over it.
The coast leading to the causeway was impressive, eventually the basalt columns came into view as well the colourful ants of tourist clambering over the basalt columns.
Of course we had to join them. Not sure if they had to pay or not, we haven’t as we came from sea. There and now a whistle could be heard reprimanding unruly tourists trying to go where they shouldn’t. We had a lovely walk and photograph, only when we turned off the path to return to the boats, did we attract attention of a warden trying to stop us going back to the sea, but eventually we made it back to our boats and continued. We still had the the Lough Foyle to cross.
The following day we wanted to go past Malin Head, and around the whole of Inishowen peninsula. We started early, hugged the coast against the tide until about lunchtime.
Finally the tide turned, and not only us were excited about it, we were soon met by a pod of dolphins swimming past, then coming to join us for a bit. But we were probably a bit slow for their liking, and so when we reached a mini tiderace at one of the corners they performed a triple loop to say bye and sped off.
Malin Head gives name to one of the forecast area, Malin, spectacular headland, and also the most northerly point of Ireland. On its tip called Banba’s Crown stands a tower. We watched it for a while so it was important for find some information about it. It was built by the British Admiralty in 1805 as part of a string of buildings right around the Irish coast to guard against a possible French invasion, it also had radio stations during both world wars.
I did promise Lindsey a cup of tea in the village before the headland, then changed it for after the headland. Sadly both villages with amenities were either away from the conveyor belt, or too much inland, and so no tea until we crossed to Tullah Bay.
I felt responsible that poor Lindsey now spent the whole day not having a cup of proper tea that she now so rarely gets on this trip. Then, as we were landing on the beach, after the last ten kilometres crossing, some of it with quite a strong head wind, an opportunity arises. A camper van just arrived to the same spot we planned to camp on. Two people got out, looked around and went to open the van’s door. I thought, great, the arrived and were going to boil water for their cup of tea. So I asked them whether they could get us some for a very tired paddler. I mistook them for English, who would definitely had a cup of tea on arrival to their camping destination.
They were German, but in the end have risen to the challenge, and when one of them came out with a kettle of boiled water, to put into our cups, which we had to quickly found in our boats, they even produced some milk. Milk with one sugar, was all what was needed to renew energy and pitch tents in rain and wind.