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192,58 km

Visualizado 1596 vezes, baixado 16 vezes

próximo a Boom Hall, N Ireland (United Kingdom)

The journey from Portstewart towards Portrush was frustrating, bank holiday drivers were pootling along at 20mph. Past the golf course, I was aware that much of the traffic would be turning off the Causeway route towards the main roads back to Belfast direction. But there remained a slow Jaguar driven by an elderly gentleman who was clearly busy pointing out the views to his wife, the tight blind turns made overtaking him impossible for approximately 2 miles, so rather than getting over excited I decided to take in the spectacular views myself. That section of road is mid way up a cliff, so you have almost vertical views down to the beaches and sea, which in the sunlight was a turquoise shade of blue. The road sweeps from cliff edge to more inland and then back to the sea edge, with thrilling corners almost every other turn. Especially on these bank holiday weekends, you have to pick your way through the traffic, but this is no real chore given the power and torque of the bikes.

Kivi took the lead and took a left turn off that I had never been down before, the speed slowed and we passed a small picturesque white church and associated graveyard. It seemed to be perched in the landscape, alone but somehow proud and noble. The road was like spaghetti corner after corner almost doubling back as the road meandered its way down the dunes. We arrived at a cove, stunningly beautiful – this was Ballintoy Cove. We dismounted to see the same volcanic rock formations as the main Giant’s Causeway, with white chalk outcrops on the beach laden with flint. The whole place was simply stunning – the small harbour looked like a haven with a canoeist sitting on the mirror still water. This was the location (along with Ballintoy Harbour) for several sets on HBO’s Game of Thrones (you can see why they come here to film!). We sat and let the sun hit our faces, the world’s problems drifting away as the noise of the other people there faded into the gentle lapping of the waves on the rocky outcrops.

We duly set off again, hugging the coastline with Torr Head protruding into the Irish Sea in the distance; Scotland’s rugged landscape clearly visible and was almost touchable on this clear day. It looked like it was simply another location along the road we were on, rather than a boat ride away! I was at one with the bike, flowing around the corners the machine and I seemingly one entity. It is at moments like this that I understand why I love being on two wheels so much, the utter freedom – my soul soaring like the birds of prey above my head.

Just outside Ballycastle, a large bird of prey flew directly perpendicular to my path, I could swear that time slowed slightly. I don’t know what it was, but it had an exceptionally large hooked yellow beak with a mainly brown body and white[ish] head. Some people think it was a large buzzard (which are plentiful around that area), others that it was a white-tailed sea eagle (given the sheer size of it). Whatever it was, I felt privileged to have seen it at such close quarters, although it was strange – I never felt panicked given how close we were to each other, I always knew the bird was in control had judged my speed so it was a joyful experience.

We pulled into another bike filled section of pavement in Ballycastle, even more so than Portstewart there appeared to be standing room only. Three bikers pulled up and the craic was, as they say, ‘Ninety’. Everyone, though, was admiring a biker who pulled up on a new Yamaha Tenere 1200, myself included. The thing genuinely looked like it could go all around the world! It was here that Kivi and I parted company leaving me to continue on the Glens of Antrim route on my own. But I wasn’t overly sad about it; the journey always gives me head space. Outside Ballycastle lies Bonamargy Friary, a beautiful little friary that you would almost miss if you weren’t keeping an eye out. You ascend towards Ballypatrick Mountain – another open windswept landscape - the shades of brown you more often associate with Scotland and the Highlands rather than Ireland. The descent is into a wood shaded glen, a lush green with roads that sweep one way then another. I have no doubt I had a huge grin on my face and here, on this section, I was the only person on the road. Outside Glenariffe perched on top of a hillock beside the road is Red Castle – it’s position like some over-seeing guide before you sweep through the rock cut tunnel. The road here follows the coastline, indeed for most of it (save passing through the small villages) the sea is literally right beside you. It was at this point that the sun was beginning to set, adding a lovely reddish hue to the sky. I was, in that moment, truly happy.

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Portstewart Promenade

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Dunluce Castle

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Ballintoy Harbour

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Ballycastle

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Bonamargy Friary

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Ballypatrick Forest

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Cushendall Tower

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Glanariffe Road (Red) Castle

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Carrickfergus Castle

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The Odyssey

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