After a restful first day, we were up and out for 8:30 to complete a top tourist attraction in my grandma’s town, The Gobbins Hike. With correct footwear of hiking boots checked, we are given our helmets and safety briefing before boarding the van. From the first steps, you are surrounded by the dreamy glistening ocean and vivid green cliffs!
Our tour guide, who has been leading the hikes twice a day for four years (since it reopened in 2015), shares interesting tales of Edwardian families hauling picnic baskets in the typical garb of heels and suits. We enter the hike through a tiny steel door, which feels like you are heading into a land from the past – a real Secret Garden 🙂
Nathan and I had only been told that it is a 4-mile hike which we needed proper boots for, so we didn’t know that it would be such an altering experience! You are walking along the cliffside on bridges that were rebuilt where the old Edwardian bridges used to be. It was so surreal when our guide would point out a rusting piece of the old bridge that is still next to or behind the new. Nathan and I probably took 200 pictures of the different scenery, but nothing really captures the event like being there in person. From walking across two separated cliffs on bridges to ducking down through caves, I thought this hike couldn’t get any better…
As we come around a bend, all we can hear is squawking of easily 500 nesting birds 😮 There were tons of the dads coming in and out of these holes in the side of the cliff to gather food. The mamas were sitting on the nests, and you can see some fluffy babies! Nathan and I are BIG on watching nature shows – so I was instantly put into an episode on Coastal Cliffs and it clicked that some of the footage could be in Northern Ireland. There were mamets, puffins, a few different types of gulls, among many other birds that were nesting. I was totally geeking out, saying these like “one is fledging!” at the sight of a baby who started moving its wings in the nest haha. It was probably the last half of the hike that we were in awe at this naturally occurring display, and I was loving it! I really felt like David Attenborough would appear at any moment with a camera and commentary 😀
I rode in the front seat of the van on the way back to the center, and got to chatting to the guide about why were here and that my nanny lives in the area. I mentioned that we were planning to go to Bushmills for my birthday the next day, which is the direction that the Golf Open was happening that weekend, so he agreed with our decision to change plans. But then! He mentioned that if I had time to stick around, he would get me a certificate and a picture in his boss’ office for my birthday 🙂 This was such a nice end to the hike, again showing how genuine and kind people can be.
It started to rain as Nanny picked us up, so we spent the afternoon relaxing indoors. Nathan and I went out for a walk when it looked like the rain stopped. We wandered through her neighborhood for about thirty minutes, and I showed him where my aunt used to live. As we walked a few blocks down, we heard this really loud music…that kept happening every few minutes…it was the local ice cream truck! Even though, it was foggy and had started raining – we both got a scoop with a chocolate flake.
The evening ended with yummy pasta Nanny picked up for us, and a silly detective show before bed. We had plans to meet my cousin, Daniel, for a birthday adventure he had planned…oooh!