Sunday 27th August 2017
55 degrees 01.159N
06 degrees 34.815W
Coleraine – Knocktarna House
Back in Northern Ireland.
We are very comfortably ensconced in a beautiful mansion set in 12 acres of glorious woodland.
With trees dating back to 1836…
|A most fabulous copper beech|
And what Paddy assures me is a badger sett! I am keenly looking out for a glimpse of an actual badger…but they only come out at night to dig large gouges in the luxuriant green lawn. Maybe tonight!
|Hidden under the thick leaf littler...maybe a badger sett!|
We are staying with a delightful family with beautiful dogs – Nala and Luke. They add value and interest to every walk in the woods.
A miracle – no rain since we have been here!
Yesterday we zipped around in the little blue car, seeing the sights of the coast of Northern Ireland along with a large cohort of tourists, mostly in coaches, some in cars. All carparks full, all walking tracks heaving. Occasionally I felt cross and aggrieved – why wouldn’t these wretched tourists move out of the way so I could take an unencumbered of an area of great natural beauty?? And the tourists behind me were doubtless saying the same thing about me…
Near Carrick-na-Rede there is a rope bridge which stretches out over a gap between a small island and he mainland, 100 feet above the sea. It is quite a long walk, up and down a step cliff path. Elbow to elbow with our fellow tourists.
We were mildly keen to cross over to the little island but…they were selling tickets and the next possibility for setting foot on the bridge was one and a half hours away. So we kept walking, expecting to see the bridge at close quarters anyway. Well…we did see it but my phone got a better look because I held it out at arms length to take a photo of what I was trying to look at…
We went up and down a few steep little roads to look at steep little villages and tehn set off for our next estiantion – the Dark Hedges. Pete didn't quite get why I wanted to see this avenue of twisty spooky trees but…it was very lovely.
Fabulous! Game of Thrones tours are a big money spinner here – much of it was filmed here and a bus tour will take you to ten different locations. Including the Dark Hedges of course!
This morning we went to Downhill Demesne, not far from Coleraine, with Paddy, the dogs, three children, leaving Vanessa a blessed few hours to work on her PhD.
It was very beautiful – a ruined mansion on a hilltop, with a beautiful pavilion built by the earl for his beautiful cousin, in whom he had a romantic interest. The pavilion is set right on the edge of the cliff…but apparently when it was built there was a road right around it, wide enough for a horse and carriage. The cliff has eroded away quite alarmingly and presumably in the not too distant future this lovely little tribute to the beautiful cousin will tumble into the sea and onto the railway line below.
|Downhill Beach from the pavilion|
We made another stop at Hezlett House, which is very unusual in that is has a thatched roof. Most of the thatching in Ireland has been removed over the past decades – very sad.
|The National Trust is very active in the UK, preserving buildings like these|
Tomorrow we are going on the Coleraine-Londonderry train, which is, so Paddy tells us, one of the most scenic train journeys of the world.
|Dunseverick Castle ruins (Ballycastle)|