Portrush, United Kingdom
Portrush and Portstewart were my beach stops today. I’d run first thing before saying my goodbyes to Ballyeamon barn, while giving Evelina a lift to Ballycastle. Another Christian retreat for her, though this time to visit a friend. I toyed with getting the ferry to Rathlin island, which was on my original to do list, but decided I’d want a bike over there, and I couldn’t be ***** to get it out, find my kit etc.
I headed along the Northern coast to Downhill Demesne, the ruined grand seat of Bishop Earl (subs please check) which has dramatic views. Downhill pointing, you see, out to sea, which you would also see, if you were there. Looking towards the sea. Musselburn temple is in the grounds, once near the cliff edge, now on it, but safe enough to host a wedding. Maybe it was my shirt, or just politeness, that made the NT employee ask “are you a wedding guest?” but I resisted the temptation to blag it. From there down to the beach, and golden sands as long as you can see, if your vision locks out at a couple of miles. It’s near enough to Donegal here for my phone to welcome me to Ireland, and to not allow me to pick up my messages. From the beach to Hezlett house, an NT preserved spot because of its unique architecture, small but perfectly formed, with a minimum of old furniture to check out. Plus chickens to feed, if you wanted to.
Last NT stop of the day was Portstewart Shand. Apparently Portstewart sets itself up as the well-to-do part, as against the more populist Portrush, and I certainly have no great love for Portrush’s amusements and grotty streets. The beach is only equally good, though there’s a great joy to be had in driving on to it, joining ranks of other cars with people spilling out with windbreaks and the like. Warm sun, cold wind today. I found Maddybenny farm, a potential campsite I’d found-only potential, because the website had a page on camping but it was blank. But after dealing with a glamorous but irate woman, something about a horse, I was let in. The campsites further along the coast seemed to want the same amount as a hostel, but this one was a spot on £6. By paying with the right money, “you’re flying”.
Out for dinner for a change, so as to use wifi, and by the time I was back, more campers had arrived. Complete with small children, who wander past and say hello just like the adults do. Evening cold, though, and camping not quite up to the levels of camping barn.
Summary: a fly and camp hot day, cool night day.