Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

By Train to the Giants Causeway

This morning after breakfast, Lisa and I walked to the Hilton, which turned out to be closer than we realized (about 1200 m), and there we met up with Feòrag Nicbhrìde. Based on my research in the travel guide, I figured out that there was a type of travel card (iLink Zone 1-4 one day, £17.50 each) that would give us unlimited rail and bus travel where we wanted to go, and I'd bought cards for Lisa and me from Great Victoria Street station before walking to the Hilton. Once we met up with Feòrag, we walked to Lanyon Place (the former Belfast Central, which isn't very central), they bought their own iLink card, and we boarded a train for Colerine.

Giants Causeway

Much later in the day, here's where we were: the Giants Causeway, where Feòrag helpfully snapped this photo of me, Kuma Bear, and Lisa in front of one of the many distinctive rock formations there.

Bearly on Board

We had a very comfortable ride up to Colerine, where we had an easy transfer to the bus heading for Bushmills.

Hooray for integrated transit where the same card allows unlimited transit on different modes. As Tramway Drive, we got off to ride the Giant's Causeway & Bushmills Railway.

GC&BM Railway

At Bushmills, we discovered that it was roughly 90 minutes before the next train to the Causeway would arrive, and about an hour before the train would leave other end heading back toward us.

GC&BM Railway

As it was only two miles, we decided we could walk.

GC&BM Railway

It was a very nice walk, as there was no rain, with partly cloudy and cool with a slight breeze.

GC&BM Railway

This is lovely country.

GC&BM Railway

But don't walk on the tracks!

GC&BM Railway

The railway line and walking path passes through a golf course. There are warning to watch out for flying golf balls.

GC&BM Railway

There's a bridge across the Bush River along the line.

GC&BM Railway

Here's a view through the bridge to the river below.

Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway Switch

There's a passing loop at the bridge, but it doesn't look like it gets much use.

GC&BR View

This place is amazingly picturesque.

Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway

We made it to the railway with only minutes to spare. We decided to ride a round trip back down to Bushmills.

Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway

I have to say that it's not the most comfortable ride I've ever had, nor the fastest. The little train rattles around at a walking pace, and by "rattles" I mean bounces and bumps over the line. I think I would have been much happier if we'd been able to make our travel schedule connect to a Bushmills departure and rode it only one way. On the other hand, we would not have had the nice walk up the trail.

Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway

Back at the Giants Causeway end of the line, we watched them put the train away for the day.

Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway

This plaque adorned the original electric-powered tram that ran from the Portrush railway station all the way to the Causeway Hotel.

Giants Causeway Hotel

If it still ran over its full route today, we would not have had to take the bus from Colarine.

After our tramway adventure, we walked up the hill and then down again to board a bus down to the Giants Causeway. This is another case of our travel passes working well, as it saved us another £2 each for the round trip from the visitor center to the seaside.

Giants Causeway

The views are spectacular.

Giants Causeway

These rock formations are very interesting looking.

Giants Causeway

As Feòrag made their way over the rocks, I stopped to take pictures, while Lisa took pictures of me taking pictures of her.

Giants Causeway

If we'd had days instead of only an hour, I could see coming to the hotel and spending at least a day hiking the walks here.

Giants Causeway

All are warned to stay off the black rocks, which are slippery and dangerous.

Giants Causeway

We made our way carefully back over the rocks and back to the bus to take us back up to the top. We did not have time for the visitor center, as we had a bus to catch back to Colerine.

Dunluce Castle

We caught a glimpse of Dunluce Castle from the bus on the way back.

It was a close-run thing at Colerine, as our bus was late. Fortunately, not only was our train a couple of minutes late, but it was coming in on the near-side platform and therefore we did not have to rush up and over the bridge to another platform. The rain was very crowded, but Lisa and I managed to get two seats, and Feòrag got a seat across the aisle from us. It wasn't as good as the group of four around a table we had on the way out, but it was better than standing.

Return to Belfast

Lisa and I were feeling pretty warn out, so we did not go back to the convention today, but instead bade goodbye to Feòrag at Lanyon Place and rode the remaining four stops to the end of the line at Great Victoria Street, walked across the road to our hotel. After unloading, we walked to Tesco Express and got some drinks, I got a burrito from Boojum next door, and ordered a pizza from room service at the hotel for Lisa. Lisa got a bath, and I worked on processing the photos that she and I took.

This was a fun, but tiring day. I was happy to go out sightseeing and riding trains and not working on Business Meetings or Worldcons or anything else. We have another day of "actual vacation" planned on Sunday, but Saturday at 14:00 at Titancon, I have a kaffeklatch with Cheryl Morgan to discuss the Hugo Awards with anyone who shows up for it. Lisa and Feòrag are planning to go off to a model railway show instead. And I might just get to sleep before midnight tonight, for the first time since before Worldcon began.

Update, September 7, 2019: Feòrag has posted a report on our trip to Giants Causeway and the Tramway.
Tags: ireland, kuma bear, lisa, tourism, trains, travel

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