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Day 46 Belfast and Bangor

We left Ballycastle for Belfast, it was not a long sail we were expecting it to take about 4 hours. We had decided to depart early to catch the tide and catch it we really did but this time it was going with us. What a sleigh ride, at times we were doing over 10 knots over the ground it was amazing, needless to say we did it in around 3 hours.

The entry into Belfast is heavily regulated and the harbourmaster is constantly broadcasting the names of the vessels moving both in and out. The reason for this is that Belfast harbour is at the head of the estuary and it was a muddy winding river. The enterprising Victorian entrepreneurs worked out that their fortune lay with a functioning port. So they straightened the channel, dredged it and used to spoil to reclaim land and build huge docks. This allowed the harbour to become a huge manufacturing base where most of the worlds rope was made, fortunes were made first in cotton mills and subsequently in linen and shipbuilding.

Today the Victoria channel is the gateway into Belfast as it is surrounded by mud flats and even small yachts like ours cannot avoid the channel.

After we tied the boat up we went into the city to explore. It was very interesting, the shopping centre being somewhat poverty stricken. However walk a short distance to the "Linen Quarter" and you are in what looks like the financial area and there are any number of lovely restaurants and pubs. We ate out in a restaurant called St James, we were very luck they turned us away at first and Linda said, "couldn't we eat at the bar" and they said yes! so we were in. We had a very nice meal but the prices brought us back to earth after Scotland. In Scotland it is very cheap to eat out, Belfast is essentially Surrey prices.

The next day we went to the Titanic Museum and spent four hours there. It was amazing, they have a purpose built building and it is not really about the Titanic it is the industrial story of Belfast. It explains how the port was made the men who did it, and how they built the ship yards as almost an after thought, and how they came to mass produce ships. It details the conditions for the workers and their pay, rules and housing. It then ties this all together and tells the story of the Titanic.

Today we left from Belfast to go all of 11 miles to Bangor, this was for the sole purpose of going to the Royal Ulster Yacht Club for a meal. Graham Nixon and I had a fantastic meal and a tour of the club in the way up and I was keen to go back and take Linda. The Club was not as busy as it was a Wednesday but it was still lovely and we were given the same table so had fantastic views out to sea as we ate. Tomorrow we plan to go to Carlingford Lough.

  • Morning mist
  • Arriving in Belfast
  • The leaning Albert Clock
  • The Royal Ulster Yacht Club



© 2021 Paul Reading