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Day 43 Ballycastle and the Giant's Causway

We awoke to complete silence you could have heard a pin drop. It was fantastic, after the force 6 of yesterday and lashings of rain the forecast was perfect. The harbour master had asked us not to arrive at low tide which either meant an early start around 6am or a late start of say 10am. We opted for the latter because it meant we were straddling the tide and would have a couple of hours tide in either direction.

At 10:30 we left after being handed back our charger. The sea was smooth but the skies were grey and ominous but this is fairly normal for Scotland! In front was a French Arcona 410 (Fast boat) and I was determined to not allow her to out-sail us if I could. Soon we were catching her like mad, then I realised that they had become tangled in a crab pot. We went to assist but they declined it as they had just freed themselves. We knew that they were going to Rathlin Island and we were heading for Ballycastle so in other words we were going exactly the same way.

Unfortunately the winds were still coming from the south east and not east south east and that meant we were 25 degrees to the wind. We can't sail at that angle but the Arcona could so we were sailing faster than them but in the wrong direction!

The wind disappeared for a while and we motored and then it rained and Linda hid under the covers and took photos of your truly. It seems to be some sort of family sport to do this, I have more than enough photos of me helming in the rain!

The rain stopped and the wind came in from ESE and we were off sailing like a rocket. We had a fantastic sail, we then crossed west of Rathlin island and had to point up towards Ballycastle but we could still do it as the wind had swung around far enough for us. Then half way across the bay we hit the tide, and there was no way we could sail the last two miles we were being swept westward towards the Atlantic at about three knots.

I immediately fired up the engine and we motored in the last two miles which took a bit longer than expected. I can't say that I am pleased with the berth the Harbour Master reserved for us it is not really inside the harbour it is just inside the breakwater which means it is open to … the east. Slap Slap slap… worse we are between two transit pontoons for ferry and tripper boats and whenever they come and go it feels like we are in a washing machine. Fortunately they do not run all night,

We went for a walk in the town and to get something to eat, well I have never seen so many bars in one place as Ballycastle. Every third building is a bar. It would be impossible to do a pub crawl here I would not make it up one side of the street. Needless to say that we could not get into any restaurants without a reservation so it was back to the boat for a pizza.

At 1:30 am the boat behind us some kind of small fishing boat decided to fire up its engines for some reason. It sounded like an air-cooled VW Beetle engine mounted in an aluminium sound box. There is not much that will wake me but I nearly got up to have words, we were not pleased.

This morning we had a slow start and I cooked breakfast because we were going to the Giant's Causway. The Giant's Causway is a formation of basalt rock and is part of the same system that makes up Staffa (Fingal's cave). We caught the bus, a very reasonable £5.50 each return for a very long bus ride. It was very interesting to see what makes up Fingal's cave close up. The rocks are mostly hexagonally shaped and the shape naturally formed during the cooling process.

After we had had enough we went to The Nook for lunch, it was fantastic and we got in without a reservation. Linda had scampi and they were fresh scampi tails (not minced re-formed things) coated in their own beer batter, it looked fantastic.

  • Leaving Port Ellen - looks ominous
  • Welcome to Ireland
  • The dragons breath



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