Sunday 30 August 2009

Going for a dander (a bit of a walk) with the Noterati of UKLUG

Greetings blog-0-philes!

A bit of a break in the blogwriting of late, mainly due to a bad case of too many projects and not enough time at "the coal face". I believe our far eastern colleagues call it "interesting" times. Well may it be interesting but it does make one rather knackered and not enthused to either Tweet or blog.

Anyhows ... Next week end the 4-6th September I am playing host to Matt White, Eileen Fitzgerald, Bill Buchan and Mark Myers on a part of what is regarded as one of the top 10 walks in Ireland.

The assembled Noterati will be bunking up in North Antrim town of Portballintrae a wee speck on the map where the River Bush (of Bushmills Whiskey fame) enters the Atlantic and in a foot note to the annals of world history also the place where I got married.

On Saturday we will do around half of the xTreme Causeway Marathon Course, which sounds awfully exciting, but it is not really that extreme when you walk it, running it on the other hand is very probably not only extreme but very very very silly!

We will take the bus to Ballintoy a 20 minute chug up the road from Bushmillsand from there we will head off down the windy single carriage road down to the Ballintoy harbour, past the very weird Bendhu house.
this rather idiosyncratic building was build by hand by Newton Penprase a Cornish "blow in" and he started it in 1936 and still had not quite finished it when he died in 1977.

From Ballintoy harbour we will head westwards on the coastal path. This will take us to White Park Bay
a rather beautiful and protected beach surrounded by limestone cliffs and a site of the very early human occuptation of Ireland after the ice sheet that covered Ireland retreated (7500BC)
From there if the tide is out we can get around the headland to the tiny Port Bradden, if not it is up the hill along the road and then back down hill again. Port Bradden has one of the smallest concecrated churchs, St. Gobban's

From Portbraden we will plod on around the costal path, past caves, thru sea arches as the cliffs change from limestone to black igneous rock that signifies the start of the lava flows that formed the Giants Causeway some miles westward. The next place of note is Dunseverick castle
There is not a lot left of this particular promintory fort, St.Patrick is meant to have visited this fort in 500AD and there are myths that place a fort on this site back even futher.. Legend has it that Conal Caernach a local who served the king that lived in this castle was serving as a roman solider and is believed to have wittnessed the crucfixion on Christ.
From Dunseverick we start to gradually rise as we enter the Giant's Causeway itself, gradually up and over Benbane head, past Port na Spaniagh where the Spanish Armada treasure ship "the girona" was wrecked

From there the ground starts to drop off.. until we come to the shepherds steps and down we go back the costal path
At the bottom of the steps it is only a quick dander to the famouse bit of the causeway, probably one of the most photographed landsacpe in Ireland.
The causeway itself is made up of 10's of thousands of 5 sided basalt columns like this

Having done the "ooo ahhh look at that" it is back up hill again to the Causway entrance... now there is a Pub at the gate called "the nook" which may or may not be used for some R'n'R and people watching.. Then back on the path again.. Around Runkerry Head, along Runkerry beach..
Across the River Bush, and we are back in Portballintrae.
All told about 12 miles, (yes we are trying to break Bill)
We may be asking you to dip your hands in your pockets for a bit of a donation towards the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. Surely anything that may well reduce Wild Bill to a size that will allow a kilt to be worn at UKLUG is worth a few pennies? :-)
Anyway more of that later...
If there are any Norn Iron Noterati free on the 5th Sept. We may well be in the Harbour Bar, rubbing our feet and drinking Guinness and you are more than welcome to come and join us and buy us drink ;-)
Watch this space and Twitter for details of how we do on our "wee dander"

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