Cliffs, Seawaves & Gulls|Gobbins Cliff Path
Who wouldn't like to walk on waves?No, I'm not talking about stepping on them!
I'm talking about walking along cliff edges, above crashing waves, engulfed with sea spray every so often.....to the sound of sea gulls and cormorants.
Not your normal cliff-side walk now, it is?
One of the best places for info when you're stepping in a new country is nothing but the official tourism website. Why you ask? Because it is THE place to showcase anything new popping up in the country! An active tourism board will ensure you consider the best upcoming 'nouveau' experience out there, for your trip!
I was lucky to venture on a walk along the Gobbins Cliff Path on my recent travels to Northern Ireland.
I usually have low energy levels and had jitters when I realized after I had made the booking that it was a 1.5 mile walk. But my fears were pointless!
Each walk has a dedicated guide, runs after certain intervals and does not exceed more than 10-15 people per group. It is paced out - giving you ample time to take-in the scenery and the amazing environment around and deep breaths if required :)
Lush with bio-diversity it definitely is a nature lover's delight.
We were lucky to have a semi-rainy day in winter and although the clouds played peek-a-boo, it did not hinder the experience.
There is interesting trivia concerning the making of the marvel the Gobbins Cliff Path is today:
- You realize things co-dependBerkeley Deane Wise, Chief Engineer of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company, expanded the railway line to this dramatically deserted but beautiful location.He then envisioned the Gobbins to attract visitors to make use of these rail excursion trips.
- You realize if people connect to a place they do all in their capacity to see it at its bestI'm talking of no other than John Lennon!He was particularly attached to the Gobbins cliff path and garnered even the army's attention to restore it after its initial breakdown.
Off onto the path now.....
We went - stepping on narrow ledges enough to hold 1 person, admiring the unique flora around, listening to tales of a bygone era. We stepped into Sandy Cave where fancy tea parties and picnics were held ....which could have been used as a smuggler's cove ages ago!
Through the Tubular Bridge which was christened by fisherman in an array of names as it was not visible to anybody from shore.
We continued admiring the steep cliff-side on the Gallery and proceeded on-wards to take a short break at the Aquarium. The water is super clear when the sea is calm and provides a fantastic opportunity to watch exotic fish.
We found Johnson on the way keeping an eye out for dolphins who were spotted in the waters nearby....
We then moved on to my favourite part of the walk - the Tunnel - which is below sea level. It's a fantastic eerie experience as you can hear the sound of the sea and the waves colliding with the rocks send gusts of salty wind your way, as you crinkle your noses at the pungent smell of seagull poop!
In summer, you can feast your eyes on adorable Puffins, who I guess would partially make up for the poop smell!
One of the bizarre stories our guide mentioned was the discovery of Otter's Cave: While work was underway, Wise and his men found a cave with a varied collection of bones of birds, deer, ox and sheep! Nobody knew where the bones has come from and still does not! It was assumed it could have been Otter’s and that's how the name stuck.
The cave is now covered up with a landslip but the story still continues to intrigue!
We then took a U-turn and walked back to the start....pausing for pictures along the way, trying to get a glimpse of the Mull of Kintyre and saying goodbye to Johnson - who was still keeping an eye out for Dolphins!
Gobbins Cliff Path
- Ensure you book a slot for the walk by giving a call to the Gobbins Path visitor center. As the experience is launched recently the website is getting upgraded and online bookings will soon be available
- You can check their site here
- Arrive at-least half an hour before the allotted slot as a couple of minutes are dedicated to safety instructions and information
- If you're staying in Belfast, and are not driving around, you could get the Bus no. 263 from the Laganside Buscentre Belfast City centre bus station till Whitehead [ as on 20th Dec 2015].
- An hour before you get to Whitehead, do call the Gobbins Cliff Path visitor center to arrange a taxi from Whitehead to the Visitor center [cost apprx. £4]
- There is a cafe at the visitor center
- The path starts at a different location. Once instructions are given you will be taken to the start of the path in a mini-van
- The cost per person is £8.50 [as on 20 Dec 2015]
- Tours operate every hour
- Allot apprx. 3 hours for the walk
- You could opt for a stay at Blackhead Lighthouse! Wouldn't that be exciting!
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Winterfell is near Belfast!
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