The weather broacasts for the week-end were not so good. However, this morning the sun was shining and we decided to drive North for a walk at the seaside. Blackhead Path is a 5-mile panoramic route that starts from the village of Whitehead, North of Carrickfergus, winds around the lighthouse on top of the hill and goes back.
What we thought would be a plain walk at the seaside turned out to be a quite adventurous walk, with some steep points with breathtaking views, going in and out of tunnels in the rocks and walking on suspended stairs over the cliffs. The path is lined by interesting wildlife habitats including grassland, woodland (known locally as the ‘Magic Forest’) and a rocky shoreline. In the blink of an eye you’ll find yourself surrounded by total beauty.
Among the points of interests, is worth mentioning the Wren’s Eggs, two huge stones laying on the rocky beach: this stretch of the Antrim coastline is one of Northern Ireland’s most stunning coastal highlights, with its ice-hewn landscape. Indeed, about 20,000 years ago this area was totally covered by a thick ice sheet that stretched south-west from Scotland. Huge masses of ice moving over the region deeply impacted the landscape. The wren’s eggs are classic examples of glacial features called erratics.
Not far from the Wren’s Eggs are the remains of Port Davey. For hundreds of years, indeed, a busy little port used to exist here. It is referred to as far back as 1642, when documents relating to the Islandmagee Massacre state that a number of passengers had arrived at Port Davey from Scotland. Today you can only see the remains of a house, with the fireplace well in view.
The path leading to the lighthouse is both mesmerizing and thrilling. It starts out as an easy walk along the coast, and then it starts to climb up the side of the cliff. As you progress upwards, some passages will leave you with the heart in your mouth, but you cannot stop admiring the water underneath.
As soon as you pass the remains of Port Davey, you’ll be astonished by the view of the lighthouse over the cliffs. Blackhead lighthouse was built in 1900 and features a 16-meter high tower, 45 meters above the high water mark. The path leading to the lighthouse are made from railway sleepers and are called the Golden Steps, probably because of the gorse bushes along the way.
From the top, the view was simply fantastic. And the way down is much gentler that going up. On our way black we met a nice couple that gave us some good hints for the next visit in the area… and I think that we will follow their advise!
All in all… a wonderful morning in the nature! As soon as we made it to the car, it started raining, so we skipped the stop at Carrickfergus Castle. Next time!