Monday, 28 December 2009

Walking

By yesterday afternoon all the snow had disappeared from Portrush. It's only a few miles down the road from Coleraine, but it was like a different country.
Below is a view of the East Strand. Apparently a popular place for walking off all the Christmas excesses.


A closer look - from further down the beach - at the headland seen above.


And, coming back to the car park, this is part of Portrush.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Snowy Beach


Castlerock Beach to-day. We had more snow yesterday evening and it was cold enough for it to lie on the beach.
Above is looking towards the Barmouth.
Below, looking back towards Castlerock.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Winter




These are winter scenes taken, this afternoon, close to Englishtown Presbyterian Church, just off the Coleraine to Garvagh road.
For the last couple of days the daytime temperature has been around minus 3 or 4 Centigrade. Unusually cold for this part of the world.

Happy Christmas everyone!!!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Partly Castlerock

Following on from my last photo, this one is taken a little bit to the right. Which allows Castlerock to come into view.
The church spire is the one shown in my post "Moon Rising".

Because some snow fell on Saturday night, I'm including a picture of a farm laneway taken this afternoon outside Coleraine.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

A2 - updated

I did the A2 an injustice yesterday, by reducing its length considerably.

By complete coincidence I had to go to a meeting in Newry this morning. Newry is a small city right down in the south-eastern corner of Northern Ireland, about two hours drive from Coleraine.
While there, I noticed a road sign which said a certain road was the A2.

Alarm bells sounded more loudly than usual in my head (I have tinnitus, so I hear all sorts of sounds).

Yesterday's statement that the road went from Belfast to Derry was, unfortunately, an assumption. And for those who don't know the meaning of assume...it makes an ass of you and me.
So it's time to get some facts.

The A2 begins in Newry and follows the Co Down coast to Belfast before its journey to Derry. A distance, apparently, of some 239 miles.

The photo below was taken at yesterday's picnic site and shows the view to the west of Castlerock.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A2

The A2 is the main coastal road from Belfast to Derry. It runs up the east coast and then along the north, usually keeping close to the sea.
A couple of years ago, as part of their efforts to promote tourism, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board decided to re-brand the road as the Causeway Coastal Route.
Regardless of what it's called, the road does pass through some beautiful scenery. But some places get by-passed.
The little village of Castlerock is one of those places.

There is a small lay-by and picnic site which overlooks the village. I stopped to take some photos of the view - and then noticed the picnic table.
So these photos are of the table and its' plaque.

By the way, the shape of the bushes behind the table shows the strength and direction of the prevailing wind.



I don't know who Hutchy was, but he chose a good place to sit during his relatively short life.


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Lifeboat


Following a training exercise on Sunday, the lifeboat manoeuvres back into position at its moorings in Portrush harbour.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Sunset across the Bay


This was taken in Portstewart, looking across the bay towards the headland behind Castlerock.
Almost the opposite view from that in my last post.
The Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal can be seen to the right of the photo.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Moon Rising


This is the moon rising, this afternoon, above the spire of Christ Church, Castlerock.
This is a Church of Ireland - part of the Anglican communion - church, which was built in 1870.

Beyond the church is the Barmouth, where the River Bann enters the sea. Portstewart is along and around the first headland in the distance, while Portrush lies beyond the further headland.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Portstewart Promenade


This is a view of The Promenade, Portstewart, looking to the left of the War Memorial shown in my last photo.

The town began life as a small fishing village which grew into a resort in the mid-1800's. The arrival of the railway in 1855 increased the popularity of the town, in spite of the station being built in the countryside a little over a mile away from the promenade, which was served by a steam tram.
The station was situated so far away because some local landowners would not allow the railway to cross their land.
Although the town has expanded over the years, the station is still surrounded by fields.

Monday, 3 August 2009

War Memorial, Portstewart


Another view of the War Memorial on Portstewart Promenade.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

War Memorial


Every time I walk down Portstewart prom, past the War Memorial, I am reminded of a poem by Seamus Heaney.

The bronze soldier hitches a bronze cape
That crumples stiffly in imagined wind
No matter how the real winds buff and sweep
His sudden hunkering run, forever craned

Over Flanders. Helmet and haversack,
The gun's firm slope from butt to bayonet,
The loyal, fallen names on the embossed plaque -
It all meant little to the worried pet

I was in nineteen forty-six or seven,
Gripping my Aunt Mary by the hand
Along the Portstewart prom, then round the crescent
To thread the Castle Walk out to the strand.


Excerpt from "In Memoriam Francis Ledwidge..." Published in "Field Work" in 1979.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Another Sunset


I'm a bit of a sucker for sunsets.

This one was taken yesterday evening from the Promenade at Portstewart. The sun is setting over the Atlantic Ocean, with the headlands of Co Donegal on the left and Portstewart Harbour wall on the right.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Sea Mist


We've had warm, sunny weather through most of June. A change is forecast now, with heavy rain expected over the next few days.

The photo was taken this afternoon at Gortmore viewing point, high above Magilligan - which is west along the coast from Castlerock. A thick mist is flooding in from the sea.
Gortmore is perched on the edge of a cliff, about 900 feet above sea level, with spectacular views of the local countryside.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Temporary Absence

I haven't been around for a while. Why?
Well, we've had good weather for the last couple of weeks - no rain, cool, but plenty of sunshine. Not blogging weather!!

At this time of year, with long clear evenings, I don't feel inclined to sit at the computer. I can find plenty to do outside...or I can go for a walk.

This photo was taken at 10.00pm yesterday evening on Castlerock beach.

While this one was taken at 11.30pm from the back of my house. When the sky is clear, it never really gets dark these summer nights.

I've got a lot of catching up to do with all the blogs I keep an eye on........

Monday, 1 June 2009

Evening Sun


Another photo from last Thursday. This time it's looking back down the beach towards Castlerock.

To-day was even warmer than yesterday - around 25 or 26 Centigrade.
It's hard to work in such beautiful weather...

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Fishermen


This photo was taken on Castlerock Beach on Thursday evening.

After a long spell of miserable weather - cold, wet, windy - things began to improve on Thursday.
The week-end has seen temperatures up to 22 or 23 degrees Centigrade - hot for us!
The sun has been shining constantly. Perhaps this week-end is our summer...
So it was definitely barbeque time to-day.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Crowded Sign


This road sign is at the crossroads shown in yesterday's photo.
The white lettering on a brown background means all the signs are tourist information.

A case of too much information??
Which would be easily missed by a fast driver...

Monday, 25 May 2009

Crossroads


This is the crossroads with Cushy Glen's tree on the left.
The picture is taken looking towards Coleraine.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Cushy Glen

The story of Cushy Glen has two alternative endings...
One says that he was shot by a traveller he was attempting to rob.
The other has him being captured and then hanged from the tree shown below.

The tree is at a crossroads on the A2 Coleraine to Limavady coastal road.
Approaching from Coleraine and turning right at the crossroads takes you to Castlerock and the beach which I showed a couple of weeks ago.

I don't know how much truth there is to the Cushy Glen tale, but the house on the right of the tree would know if he was hanged there.
It was built in 1691 - so it was already around 100 years old when Cushy was roaming the hills!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Highwayman


Ballinrees Reservoir lies just off the B201 Coleraine to Limavady road.
The road, shown above, is known as the Windyhill Road. It was given this name in the early 1970's when postcodes were introduced in Northern Ireland.
Before postcodes, country roads rarely had names, as addresses were based on the townlands, the smallest units of land, into which Ireland was divided.

The Windyhill Road was an exception - it already had a name, which was obviously considered unsuitable for modern sensibilities. It was known as the Murderhole Road.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, this was the main road from Coleraine to Limavady. It passes through an isolated and mountainous area which, in the late 1700's and early 1800's, was frequented by highwaymen and gangs of outlaws.
The most notorious of these was a man called Cushy Glen, who allegedly murdered a number of travellers. His hideout was known as the murderhole...

Monday, 18 May 2009

Whins


A corner of Ballinrees Reservoir with whin bushes in the background. Whins - otherwise known as gorse - are a common sight on poor quality land.
The bright yellow flowers, at their best from March to May, are always a cheerful sight on dull spring days.
They look good on bright, sunny days too!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Reservoir


Ballinrees Reservoir is a couple of miles outside Coleraine.
We walked round it the week-end before last.

There are signs telling dog owners that their pet should be kept on a lead. I saw a number of dogs, all running free and most of them wet.
Just as well the water is treated before it arrives at our taps.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Sunset


We've had several beautiful sunny days, so it's time for a sunset photo.

Taken from the back of my house.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Save Lives


The Blood Transfusion Service was in Coleraine yesterday and to-day.
Their units visit towns and villages throughout Northern Ireland on a regular basis. They usually stay two days and run two donor sessions - one afternoon and one early evening - each day.
The sessions are usually held in church halls or in schools. In Coleraine, the Baptist church hall is used.

Each year there are over 75,000 donations but, as it says on the lorry, 94% of the population still don't give blood.
I'm sure few of that 94% would refuse a transfusion if they needed it...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Field


Oilseed rape is not a crop native to Northern Ireland. Although it has been grown here for a number of years, it isn't a common sight.

So it's still something of a shock when you come across a bright yellow field.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Church of Ireland


Back with the same cherry tree.
This time the photo was taken from Hanover Place on the other side of the river.

The church is commonly known as Killowen Parish Church. It belongs to the Church of Ireland and is properly known as St John the Evangelist. The Church of Ireland is "a province of the Anglican Communion".

The top row of houses in the background are part of a large estate built by the local council in the late 1950's. The lower houses were built in the 1960's. This estate is known as 'The Heights'.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Pink Cherry Blossom

This blog began life in Christie Park, Coleraine.
To-day I've gone back there to celebrate Spring. I couldn't let the season pass without at least one photo of pink cherry blossom.

The photo below is the same tree, taken from further down the park. There are a number of similar trees, but this one stands out best.

Pink cherry blossom is linked to a childhood memory of mine.
I was brought up in the country, on a farm. When I was at primary school, one of the highlights of the year was having a day off to accompany my parents to the main agricultural show in Northern Ireland. This was the Balmoral Show held in Belfast in the second half of May.
We always parked our car in the streets behind the showgrounds. This was a well-to-do area of Belfast, with large houses which had really big gardens. Many of the gardens had pink cherry trees just past full bloom. Cherry blossom blew along the footpaths and the roads.
The trees impressed me because, at home, no-one had trees like this. Such frivolous things had no place in our lives.

I've never planted a cherry tree in my own garden. But I admire them when they bloom in parks, or other people's gardens.....earlier each year, it seems.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Beach and Barmouth

If you move out from my last photo and turn left, this is the view. Castlerock beach stretches out before you for close on a mile.
The village lies around five miles north-west of Coleraine. In the 2001 Census it had a population of 1,336. More houses and apartments have been built since then, but many of them are holiday homes. So the population probably hasn't changed much, although the village is now really a small town.
This beach ends at the rocks in the distance. Another one begins when you go round the headland.

If you turn right, the beach ends in a very short distance at the Barmouth. This is where the Bann runs into the ocean.
Castlerock Beach is really a continuation of Portstewart Strand - interrupted only by the river reaching the sea.
The Barmouth is at the far end of the Strand in the photo I posted on 8th April.

My next couple of posts will see me back in Coleraine, but I'll return to Castlerock shortly...

Sunday, 19 April 2009

View


Walk between the dunes shown in yesterday's photo and this is the view.

Castlerock beach and the Atlantic Ocean, with the Inishowen peninsula, in Co Donegal, in the background.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Blue Sky


If you drop in here regularily, you'll know that the Bann is the river which flows through Coleraine.
To-day's photo was taken close to where the Bann reaches the sea. If you go up from the edge of the river, through the sandhills, you find yourself on Castlerock beach. But not to-day...

Monday, 13 April 2009

Old Bridge

To-day was that rare thing, a dry Bank Holiday. So we went for a walk round part of the Roe Valley Country Park, near Limavady.

The photos are of a bridge which crosses the River Roe.


My father got out of hospital on Good Friday, so there may be more time for blogging.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Beach


A quick shot of Portstewart Strand, taken during a brief walk last Sunday.

My father has been in hospital since early last week, so not much time for photos or blogging.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Time Change

I said I was going to stay away from Coleraine for a few days, but then I remembered that the clocks go forward an hour to-night.
British Summer Time is about to begin.


To celebrate, I went to the Guy L Wilson Daffodil Garden in the grounds of the University of Ulster.
The strong winds of the last few days have done some damage, but the flowers aren't all in bloom yet.
I should get some more photos over the next week or so.

Monday, 16 March 2009

East Strand, Portrush


A view of part of the East Strand at Portrush, which was quite busy yesterday.

This beach - also known as Curran Strand - stretches for about two miles (or around 4km) from Portrush to the White Rocks. The beach curves around Curran Point - in the middle distance on the right of the photo.
The area is popular for activities like surfing and bodyboarding.

It's a bracing and enjoyable walk to the White Rocks. We didn't walk it yesterday because we had our seven month old grand-daughter with us. We kept the buggy on hard surfaces.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Graffiti


By taking the lower path in yesterday's photo, I find myself going under Sandelford Bridge.
Which takes me out of Christie Park, into another of Coleraine's parks.

And, as you can see on the bridge, even a stretch of water can't stop a determined graffiti artist!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Weir


What was hidden behind yesterday's gull?
The Salmon Leap at the Cutts on the river Bann. This rocky outcrop forms a natural weir across the river.
Salmon must negotiate this hurdle when they are returning from the ocean, to spawn in the rivers of their birth.

The weir is about a mile upstream from Coleraine. The river is tidal from the Atlantic Ocean up to this point - a distance of just over 5 miles, or around 9 kilometres.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Gull


This gull got in the way of the picture I was planning to take, so it gets to appear first. You'll see the other photo to-morrow.

Like the last couple of photos, this one was taken with my new camera.
A week ago, Saturday, I was cursing the limitations of my little Nikon. My wife suggested I up-grade...never one to miss an opportunity, by that afternoon I had another camera.
It's a Canon PowerShot SX110IS.

Of course, on Monday when my computer died, I regretted my impulse purchase.
Well, I regretted it for at least ten seconds!!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Church


This shot - taken in rather a hurry - is of the interior of Holy Trinity, Church of Ireland, church in Main Street, Portrush.

My grand-daughter was christened here to-day, so it's been a busy week-end.