Bangor Part III: There & Back

Green grassy woodland footpath in the summer in ThreaveBangor Part I & II shared some of the marvelous experiences we had visiting our good friends in Bangor, County Down. I often find however, my memory of any visit is actually additionally affected by the journey to and from the location visited. Maybe it's the way our (or just my!) brain processes memories but whenever I reflect on a trip or a visit somewhere, those memories always seem to be inextricably connected with reminiscences of the journey there and back too. “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." Ernest Hemingway Continue reading Bangor Part III: There & Back

Bangor Part 1: Ballyholme Beach

Sunset over Ballyholme beach, Bangor, Norhtern Ireland We had great news this week as our good, good friends (and our son's guide parents) told us about the safe arrival of their new-born baby! We're totally thrilled for them and this most excellent news prompted me to publish a series of blog entries I've been meaning to post for a while now. Continue reading Bangor Part 1: Ballyholme Beach

Following the steps of Giants…

Giants Causeway carpark detail Marmite, Coffee, Modern Art, Maggie Thatcher and seemingly, the Giant's Causeway!? I wasn't expecting the UNESCO World Heritage Site to be such a chalk and cheese landscape... but as we explored this famous area it became apparent that first impressions were quite divisive! "Wow! Look at that!" said excitedly from one family, "is that it?" spoken with an air of disappointment from another. Nothing in this world is liked universally, I've even met people who don't like the Beatles! Does the Causeway's fame set a precedent too high to meet some people's expectations? Is it possible that some don't see the excitement in the uniqueness of these rare rock formations? Or maybe the crowds of people clambering over every vacant space of the causeway turns some people off? I found watching the large groups of people exploring this place almost as fascinating as the actual Causeway! Don't be mistaken, for me, the landscape is fascinating and a rather original place to visit. The new visitor centre is quite spectacular in itself. If going round the centre fails to get you excited about this place nothing will. The architecture, design and exhibits all come together to create a truly remarkable and exciting visitor centre. Having spent some time hogging all the interactive exhibits, we made our way to The Giant's Causeway. We decided to take the cliff top walk first and take a breather from the herds of people! The walk is stunning and the further you go the quieter it gets; each bay / cove revealing further varieties of rock formations which nesting seabirds take full advantage of. From the clifftops you get glimpses of the old coastal path that in the not too distant past people would have walked along. You also see the epic landslips that have engulfed large sections of it, which is obviously the reason for the path's closure. It's a shame because it looks like it was a quite spectacular walk! After a while, we turned back, took a deep breath and descended into the tourist pit! You could spend as much time watching people interact with this space as you could spend looking around it, it's like a giant playground for all ages! Having lingered for what seemed an acceptable time, we made our unnecessary excuses to each other and headed off in search of somewhere a bit quieter. We did however revisit the Giant's Causeway in the early evening where there were considerably less people and the light really brought the Causeway to life! For me, this was and is the best way to see it! To conclude, this IS one of those 'must see' areas, you just have to be prepared to share it with a fair few other people!

Walking Photographer Wades Through Bangor

Underwater photograph, walking photographer taken in Bangor esplanade, Northern Ireland The increasing struggle to get out of bed in the mornings. The reluctance to turn on the heating while shivering at my desk. The increased consumption of hot drinks coupled with more regular trips to the 'little boys room'. These are all sure fire signs that autumn is here and winter's not far behind! Don't get me wrong, I love winter and I'm looking forward to my winter walks out in the crisp, fresh air. But it's always a little sad letting go of the summer, especially when it hasn't produced much summer weather! A recent train journey gave me some time to reminisce about a weekend not too long ago. It was one of the few weekends in 2012 when the UK enjoyed blue skies and warm sunshine. CB and I were visiting friends in Bangor, Northern Ireland and they had just moved to a house a stone's throw from the beach. Not knowing when or if we'd get some hot weather again we dumped our bags and headed straight for the beach! The girls were into their cossies and out into the sea before Dermot and I could raise sufficient excuses that didn't compromise our machismo. However, it wasn't too long before I was tentatively wading out with my camera in it's underwater housing. If you're not up for wading in Bangor there are also some lovely walks to be had over the beach and along the coastal path. Our favourite local pub there is, and always will be, the friendly and lively Jamaica Inn! I almost forgot to mention, we were accompanied by Bangor Esplanade's most famous (or infamous) Jack Russell - Smudge, and very photogenic she was too!
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