Saturday 6 December 2008

A Saturday Dander around the North Coast

Greetings Gentle reader

I have just got back from my daily brisk wander and for a bit of a change I popped out to the wee town of Portstewart which is about 4 miles away.

It is a pretty wee place and today was bathed in weak December sun that shone from a Cerulean blue sky. It was the sort of day that makes you smile regardless of the crappy week you have had.

Wandering around a holiday town in the teeth of winter is an odd experience. The "Portstewart Promenade" is seldom empty at any time of year, people drive up from all around the north and park and watch the sea whilst licking a world famous Morrelli's ice cream.
A word of warning to any non-northern ireland tourists that might come by. Being accosted by a local asking you "do you want a poke or would you prefer a slider?" is not an invitation to fight or some form of sexual advance! A poke is and ice cream cone (cos you poke the ice cream into the cone) and a slider is an icecream sandwiched between two wafers.
Anyway, the "Prom" as it is known is where in the summer the youth of the area go to see and be seen, there are people ALL over the place. The local council has a kiddie play park where you can make sand castles, listen to music, paddle in the pools and generally have a good time. In the winter there is that tangible "lack" that comes from it being very cold and wet for 4 months that drives the laughter and craic indoors.

This track normally has wee go-karts for kids that whizz around from 9 in the morning till 10 at night. Today it is deserted. Storm blown seaweed litters the track and although it will be 5 months before life returns as return it will, it does make you stop and think "is it dead or just asleep?"
Oops getting moridbund! :-)

I wandered along what is known the "nuns walk" which joins the town with the main strand (beach) where I learned to surf many many years ago when you could have any colour of wet suit you wanted as long as it was black. It is a pleasant 2 miles with loads of up and down bits that act as .. errr.. what is it called .. Interval training???

Along the way you pass a small almost insignificant house, this is where the salmon fishermen lived during the netting season. The location actually has a name ... like most places in Ireland ... and this place is called "Berne" This small house as been there since 1600ish and has been in fairly continuous use, until fairly recently. I can remember walking along this path with my Mum and Dad and watching them pull in the nets replete with glistening salmon. Now it is all closed up, a target for Graffiti and is at the mercy of the Northern Atlantic Weather.

The machinery of fishing is still there. Like this winch that would pull the net in from the sea. It has not been used or maintained in 30 years and is moving from "useful" to "artifact" as the salt turns it slowly to rust.

This winch was used daily and had utility but that has now changed and its only reason to be there is to add character to the view .

Anyway just around the corner from Berne is the strand and it is 4 miles of sand, waves and strange people in wet suits these people are surfers and should at all possible be avoided. (see signage left) I always knew that I was mad bad and dangerous to know, but BEWARE OF SURFERS we arent that bad are we?
I suppose we could stuff sand down your shorts and make you chaff all the way home?

Time to get some perspective ;-)
Sorry couldn't help it.. These sticks mark the NO CAR area from the CARS ALLOWED area of the beach but on a day like today they look "real purty" don't they? ;-)

The waves are not big enough to ride but maybe in a day or two when the next storm comes .. this break is a surfer's paradise on a good day!

I love beaches, particular ones where I am the only one there.. there is something about sand unsullied by footprint that makes sense ;-) well to me anyway ... oh and there was a BITCHING sunset too!

It was when all said and done a "Good Walk"!

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