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Napolionic: The tower at Malin Head built in 1805


Start and finish: Journey’s end or begining?


Bridging the gap: The island of Carrick-a-Rede


such as the 40 foot long basalt ‘organ pipes’, an unusually shaped stone on the rocks called the ‘Giant’s Boot’, and the huge impressive cliff amphitheatre, I made a start at climbing the 162 steps back to the top. Apparently, before the steps were installed, Irish farmers had to carry their sheep back up to the top of these cliffs on the steep uneven sometimes boggy terrain! After an energising bowl of soup in the visitor centre cafe, we left this world attraction behind us and drove further along the Causeway Coastal Route through Portrush, Colraine and Derry, then back out of Northern Ireland to Moville, where after a long search eventually found a B+B for the night.


I often found when speaking to the owner of a B+B at the front door that I was told that they were closed, because ‘it wasn’t the tourist season yet’. When I pointed out that they did have a ‘Vacancies’ sign on display, they replied something to the tune of, “Oh, we haven’t got round to taking that down yet!” Next morning while giving my car a wash


down, I was disappointed to notice that one of the wheel centres was missing. I wanted to believe that the Jaguar headed centre had fallen out during the previous day’s drive, and had not been stolen overnight, but after carefully viewing the photographs of the car that I had taken outside the B+B the previous evening, it was easy to deduce that some light fingered b*st*rd had prised the wheel centre out. Before setting off for the day, I fashioned a temporary wheel cover out of white gaffer tape, pictured right, to keep any debris out.


Then, after the daily ritual of filling up with fuel we set off for another day’s drive. I drove as close to the coast as possible and one little road led us down past a sign indicating “The Wee House of Malin”. This road ends down near a small rocky beach,


and past the ruins of “The Wee House”. Nearby is a cave, once frequented by a hermit, where people have been leaving prayers in the form of coins or written on rocks for ages and many of the coins have actually corroded into part of the rock! Next, we stopped at a milestone on our trip, the most Northerly point of Ireland – Malin Head. The tall concrete building here was built in 1805, and was used as a watch tower during the Napolionic wars to guard against an invasion from France. I noticed a “Start/Finish” line painted onto the tarmac used for long distance walking and cycling events. I drove up to the start line, opened a new bottle of water and toasted my car to the success of the rest of our journey ●!


PART 2 DECEMBER ISSUE: ILLEGAL SPIRIT POITÍN


2016 SEPTEMBER GROWLER 11


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