Leaving work on a Friday with a rucksack in hand and glorious weather bathing down on you is something that very few will experience. Thankfully for Ed, Dave and myself, we happened to be one of few who were experiencing just that as we made our way North East to Garron Point in the Glens of Antrim.
Our trip started with Ed and Dave squeezing themselves and their rucksacks into the back of my old trusty Peugeot 206. We were soon to wind the windows down in an attempt to cool ourselves with the lack of working air conditioning, and before long we found ourselves cruising gently along the Coast Road towards the town of Carnlough.
It was in Carnlough that we stopped for what I must say, was a rather tasty fish and chip dinner. We ate it on the harbour while seagulls cawed overheard and the blue skies bathed the seaside village.
After finishing our al-fresco dinner we made our way further along the coast road until stopping at a lay-by opposite a gate and winding lane and soon put on our rucksacks and made our way up the winding path.
We first stopped at Galboly Clachan to admire the abandoned homesteads that once housed workers who worked on the nearby Vane Tempest estate with some also working at Garron Tower.
The small path was arched with overhanging tree branches and vibrantly purple lupins alongside the banks. The path was like something I would expect to see in a “Hidden Countryside Walks – Volume One” book that I might pick up and read in a small cafe in the country; something truly different from the usual eroded gravel paths that snake their way up the popular mountains.
After admiring the old stone buildings, we soon turned and made our way in the direction of the looming basalt cliffs that fortify the coastline and cast dark shadows across the landscape. A small winding path and ten minutes of puffing later, and we near the top of the cliffs admiring the views and tranquility that they held.
Even though the sun was bright and the landscape bathed in warm golden light, a gust of wind made sure that our jackets stayed on. We pitched our tents on the small area of flat grass in the middle of the natural bowl of the cliffs and soon went about setting up our sleeping gear for later that night.
After setting up our gear we seeked out the viewpoints around us and admired the versatility of the landscape in front of us. Patchwork fields, the Irish Sea, ancient cliffs and a view across the water to Scotland made this an easy spot to sit and soak in the view.
With the summer solstice only a couple of days away, it wasn’t any wonder that the approximate seventeen hours of daylight seemed to last well into the night.
As we sat enjoying each others company, the gradient of the sky stretched from dusky sunset colours, to dark night time blues, before once again becoming brighter around the near full moon that shone brightly over our camp. It was a beautiful sight to see!
It wasn’t until after midnight that the stars started to appear in the night sky and we watched satellites coast across above our heads. Soon after we all retired for the night to our beds and slept cosily in our new found campsite.
The next morning we awoke to a glaring sun heating up the inside of our tents and a fresh breeze blowing across the dry grass outside. As far as nights under the stars go, a dry evening followed by a sky full of stars and no rain all night; this was about as good as it gets.
We enjoyed some porridge pots for breakfast while washing their stodgy goodness down with some cups of coffee. Afterwards we set about packing up our gear and it was a sheer treat to not have to roll a wet tent for once.
After packing everything away, we strolled down the quiet path back towards the nearby road and the layby we had parked the car on overnight. On our way down the hill we admired the sheer countryside quality of the surrounding area; the rolling fields, the nearby cattle, the little cottages surrounded by lush trees – all within an area no bigger than a couple of football fields, just all on a minute scale.
Arriving at the car we were happy to pack away our rucksacks and begin our drive home along the beautifully winding coast road, admiring the sea and sunshine as we went.
A real gem of a camp so close to the summer solstice. The weather was outstanding and the views matched. We highly recommend giving this place a visit should you ever want to see the beauty of the Glens of Antrim!