A start of 4am had 6 of us arriving at Stansted airport for a flight to Belfast. The big question being, do we or do we not have time for breakfast? A chilled Judith assured us that we had plenty of time so the risk was taken and she was proved right. Let's just say it's a good job the boarding gate wasn't shut right away.
On arrival in Belfast, and after collecting the hire cars, we set off for Glenariff Forest Park where we met up with Alexandra. Leaving Barbara at the cafe with a rather large pot of tea, we began the 8.9k waterfall trail. This was a stunning walk through steep sided U shaped valleys with overhanging waterfalls on the sheer upper edges. A long winding climb over about 1k took us up 260m to the fine views across the glen and across the sea as far as the Mull of Kintyre – when the cloud lifted. Judith decided to try and cross a makeshift bridge (just a plank of bendy wood really!) which clearly wasn't safe, and had us shouting to tell her “No!!!” She was given a lecture about how close she was to falling into the rocky stream below – naughty girl!
After the walk, a short coastal drive brought us to Bushmills hostel, having had a quick stop and walk around Ballycastle harbour. Once checked in, the plan was to eat at The Distillers Arms, but it was fully booked. As it looked a nice venue we decided to book for Sunday evening. We eventually found the Bushmills Inn that had availability and a debate started about where chowder originated, and we started to play a game a bit like chase the lady – who could get shot of the Irish £5/10 note the quickest. An early night ensued as it had been a very long day and we were whacked.
Report – Sue
Walk rating – Very Good.
Pictures by Alan
The view from Glenariff Forest Park car park.
One of the waterfalls on the walk.
The walk took us up the top of these falls.
Looking down the valley to the sea.
You can just make out the thin strip of wood Judith started to walk over, despite there being a very substantial bridge where we were standing.
The harbour at Ballycastle.