Monday, August 14, 2006

Giant's Causeway

The rain held off - the sunshine even came out- and I really enjoyed the Giant's Causeway!
On Sundays in summer, Ulsterbus run a direct bus to the Causeway (saves making connections). It leaves at 2.15pm and then leaves the Causeway again at 7.30pm, so it gives you several good clear hours to explore the landscape.
I took the top path first and enjoyed wonderful clifftop views over the various bays and rocks. The "organ" section of rocks is especially impressive and tall. I met a Spanish couple while walking here that I had also seen on the Donegal Tour: you do tend to meet people again in this country!
After taking the cliffpath for a while I walked back to a section of stairs and descended to a lower track. Following this to the end gave another excellent view of the organ rocks, even more impressive from a bit lower down when you could see the whole extent of them.
Next I came back to the Giant's Causeway itself. From the top it is difficult to realise how impressive these rocks look at ground level. The tide was fairly far out and you could walk over quite a large area of "stepping stones" on the blocks of basalt. Many of the blocks are six-sided, but there are other numbers of sides as well. It was just amazing to see how these shapes all fitted together, and to realise that the cracks had extended so far down the blocks in straight lines. Apparently the lava in this area cooled in an old river bed, and cooled slowly at the kind of rate that led to this very even cracking. One of the wonders of the world I have been fortunate to see.

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