My three days in Ballintoy sped by, leaving no time to explore the beaches further along the coast. Just a sneak peek from the roadside…
You can’t come here without wondering about Fionn mac Cumhaill at some point. For some he’s just a legend. For others he is legend, and is still around here somewhere, sleeping, waiting.
Early one morning looking out from Ballintoy towards Sheep Island, I wondered how the island got its name, since it has no sheep, and doesn’t look like a sheep, but apparently has a lot of cormorants and other seabirds. Mind you, as for everywhere else around here, a nice wool jumper would definitely come in handy if you were ever to go there (unlikely, since it’s uninhabited, and a Special Protection Area), even in summer.
The Seabird Centre at Rathlin West Lighthouse, whose light flickers in the distance, has plenty of birds too, including the tiny puffins that people love to photograph. But the puffins had all gone by August. The tourists and seagulls certainly hadn’t.
But back at the port it proved fairly easy to find a quiet place for a restorative cup of tea (or was it a late afternoon gin?) and an even quieter spot a short walk away to enjoy the peculiar mix of sunshine and ominous clouds to be had around these parts. Far too hot for a wool jumper on Rathlin Island that day, while we heard that it lashed buckets in Ballintoy all day.
Now that I know what winter weather can be like in Lanzarote, and know the places I’d like to spend more time in, I’m pretty sure I will go again, but not among the crowds in the baking summer sun.