Rathlin Island Walking Tours
with Paul Quinn
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January 2009

Mid month I have had a few messages to do in Ballycastle. If you arenít from N Ireland you might not understand the idea of messages. It has nothing to do with text messages. It just means that you have some business to attend to. Sometimes it can mean that you have gone out to the shop to buy something. So now you know.


But it is only towards the end of the month that I visit Rathlin. The season has been cold this year, as evidenced by the salt bunker on the deck of the ferry. I travel with a small group, some of whom I know. There is a family with a baby moving to the island. They have a van full of possessions and another trip with the van planned for later in the week.


Today is a sort of business day. A group of us are meeting to discuss ways in which visitors can get the best possible experience of Rathlin. So first there is tea and biscuits and then I am to lead the group on a short walk. After an unpromising start, weather-wise, on the mainland, conditions are sunny on the island, but with a cold breeze. So we step out, noticing some mallard and redshank at the Station. Round the corner, we reminisce that it was this time last year that the Katie Hannan was stranded on the rocks. The new offices for the RDCA are looking spick and span and I am thinking that not many workers have an office with such spectacular views! At Mill Bay things are quietÖ no curlew, no seals. Along the top road, one of the group points out a building that used to be a forge. It is roofless at present but it is about to be refurbished. Before the advent of tractors it must have been a busy and an important spot. A henhouse is being constructed close by. The hens donít need to worry about foxes, as there are none on the island.


Our walk finishes at the Rocket House so there is time to visit my caravan. The violent storms a few weeks ago havenít caused any damage. The view from my window is restful as ever. The hedges and rocky bits are brown and the fields are flattened yellow in appearance. The day has been enjoyable and I look forward to my next visit.


Weather the next day is much more unsettled so we were better going when we did.
© 2008 Paul Quinn. All Rights Reserved. Additional title photography © Andy McInroy