Before I tell you about the sail from Rathlin Island to Glenarm I will say that although the weather wasn’t great whilst we were on Rathlin Island, the views were spectacular and we fell in love with the charm of the place.
They have a population of 130, with five new babies being born this year alone. The island has had 1200 inhabitants in its hay day but during the potato famine in the mid 1800’s this fell drastically with hundreds leaving the island.
There are ruins all over the island; the land is divided throughout the island, and privately owned, so letters are addressed to a parcel of land. Occasionally there may be two houses, but funnily enough the postman knows who to get the letter too.
They have one pub, which is in the centre of the village. One health visitor, an artist studio, a small community run shop, a gift shop/post office, a cafe, and a smattering of holiday accommodation.
The island is well served by a ferry from Ballycastle, which during the summer months lands hourly. There are two local buses and then a bus that comes over from the mainland during’ high days and holidays’. Now this has really upset the local bus company, so on the day we did a tour of the island (all seven miles of it), we got our tickets for a pound, rather than five pound.
The lady bus driver said they were doing a special promotional day!
Marian and Simon hired bikes and used a bit of leg muscle to get about, Sean and i combined a walk with a bus ride in amongst the showers, we certainly had the easier of days!
We saw four Irish hares, with large black ears, the island has a unique albino hare which Country File are trying to film, they have visited twice but this year captured the hare on film, which should be shown next year.
The tides around the Island run at 11 knots during springs, so you leave with one tide to head east , or wait for the next tide to go west.
Richard Branson landed his hot air balloon in the water off the island in the 80’s and was helped ashore by the island folk. Mr Branson then donated £25,000 to help restore a community building, which is still well used today.
We couldn’t leave last night until 7pm, where the water was ‘slack’, so I made us a chicken curry for dinner , we tidied up and then prepared to leave. When things go wrong on a boat they go wrong very quickly; the wind was blowing quite strongly, and I needed to turn the boat round in quite a tight space.
This sounds all quite easy, except the wind caught my starboard side and swung me round incredibly quickly so I ended up side onto the pontoon at the end of the marina and was held there against the pontoon by the wind.
My masterful husband took control and organised us, getting us to pull the boat round on ropes, this time pointing out to sea, I then drove the boat towards the end of the pontoon and we set off again. Thank goodness the marina was practically empty, with not too many people about to see my botch up!
There are 40 wrecks around the Island, and it is the only Irish island to have three lighthouses, all for good reason, we got out into the main sea and were swept towards Glenarm at over ten knots. We had our sails reefed in and were in complete control, but you can see how with wind against tide and with a rough sea why there are so many wrecks. The over falls around the island are ferocious.
The journey to Glenarm marina passed without a problem, the 23 nm passed by very quickly, we left at seven and arrived at ten pm. Just coming into Glenarm as the light faded, Marian and Simon were straight off the boat and into the pub, Marian was coming home!
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I hope you enjoyed the read about our trip from Rathlin Island to Glenarm, if you did please leave a comment
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