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.
The surfers had all gone, except for the one lingering ghostlike in my long exposure.
According to this article, 21 billion edges were predicted for Scotland’s 2017 midge season. I reckon that a fair number of them, like me, opted for a trip to Ireland that summer, boosting the already thriving local population.
Those pesky creatures turned these peaceful spots into pure torture, at dawn and dusk respectively.
On my Not To Do list: do not venture here again without a midge net and repellent.
It was relatively calm this evening, though the wind was fierce enough around the head of the strand. As the surfers packed up, there was plenty of space for some wide & long exposures.
Bloomin midges up early searching for breakfast 😫
I stayed just long enough to look up the beach towards the castle, then glanced behind me to see what was going on.
And back again.
The midges had had their lot! Now it was time for my breakfast.
As the sun was going down and warming up the rocks below St Peter’s Church, I wondered what that huge tanker had been doing there all day, and would it ever leave.
Then suddenly it slid out of view, only to return a few moments later.
My last evening at Portovenere. I will be back, once the tourist season has quietened down.
Well, one of them 😉. Byron’s (now collapsed) Grotto lies beneath this stone framed window that overlooks the Bay of Poets. Certainly peaceful shortly after 6 am in early June, but no doubt thronging with sunbathers and boats as the day grew hotter.
By now the sun had well and truly risen. After days of non-stop sunshine and intense blue skies, a different light appeared.
For days not a cloud in sight, but when I went out early on my first morning in Portovenere, the weather looked set to change. Would those clouds drop and block the early morning sun?
The boats bobbing up and down in the foreground, constantly changing position, were mesmerising.
I waited in the morning silence for the lights to go off and for the sun to come up over the horizon behind me and light up the palazzata a mare. Not a soul in sight.
Gradually the light and sky changed.
But it was clear that on this particular morning, the sun was not going to tinge the buildings with its early morning light, as the clouds had dropped behind me.
Worth the wait nonetheless.