With a week to go until Katherine’s course, it was the perfect opportunity to go on a wee driving tour of the north east corner of Ireland, understandably a fairly famous stretch of coast. First we stopped in on our friendly and helpful host at the CL site in Islandmagee, who gave us a few pointers for the trip — things not in our guidebook: Most valuable indeed. Then, we hit the (rather fine) road.
First up was a forest at the edge of the town of Glenarm, a recommendation from the CL owner — rather than turning right and continuing down the A2, one continues onwards down the narrow street. Being Ireland, it was raining, so we donned our waterproof gear and stomped out down the path. The park was very picturesque, with one of those tea-brown creeks we love so much, with deep pools, rapids and waterfalls, a pine forest and silver birches, still funny to see growing naturally.
Rain still coming down, we continued onwards, after stopping for a tasty scone with jam and cream, and a hopelessly poor coffee.
Next, on another recommendation from our increasingly admired CL host, we stopped in on another forest near Waterfoot, just beside the car park of Larah Lodge, a left turn along the A43. The rain was now really, seriously chucking down, so back on with the waterproofs and out we went, camera bulging out beneath my raincoat like some bizarre tumour.
Our walk took us skirting around the side of a hill overlooking a neighbouring escarpment, wreathed picturesquely in cloud, then the path became a boardwalk wound precariously down a steep narrow gorge filled with brilliant greenery clinging to every nook and cranny, and vibrating with the roar of an intimidatingly large and vigourous waterfall.
After some careful extraction of ourselves from the washing machine that was the Irish atmosphere, and without bringing too much of it into Nettle, we continued down the road, now in search of a place to park up for the night. The caravan park was asking more than we wanted to pay, so we went further onwards, while the rain continued to bucket down. The fog on the windscreen gradually closed in on us, ignoring my attempts to blow it away with the fan, until we were both bent forward peering through a clear patch a foot in diameter, only to have visibility limited to about a foot or two by the rain anyway. We finally took to it with a tea-towel, and settled on a car park in Cushendall, beside an old church.