Rathlin Island

Decaying boats by the harbour at Rathlin Island
Decaying boats by the harbour at Rathlin Island

A mix of sun and cloud, fairly warm but breezy. After breakfast we rode the short distance to the ferry terminal and boarded. There was a strong sea swell and it was much cooler at sea and on the island. We cycled the narrow hilly road to the west lighthouse for the RSPB site overlooking the cliffs, very noisy with fulmars, puffins, razorbills and guillemots nesting. We picnicked there and then retraced our route back almost to the harbour and on to the east lighthouse, a lovely ride. Cars are only allowed on the ferry if they stay for a week, which effectively bans tourists while allowing residents and RSPB volunteers to drive on the few roads of this small island, so it was virtually traffic free. A minibus operates between the harbour and the west lighthouse.

We walked the RSPB coastal path circuit near the east lighthouse and enjoyed the sight of lapwings, eider, cormorants and a noisy peregrine falcon hunting over the cliffs. Sharks were basking in the shallow water along from the harbour.

We had company at the hostel, two young Canadians and four Frenchmen so four of the five rooms were occupied. Sound proofing wasn’t too good but luckily they weren’t noisy. One of the Canadians told us that they’d had to move on from Downhill as the hostel was fully booked for the weekend, this is where we wanted to stay tomorrow! I phoned the Port Stewart hostel, a little closer to Ballycastle. They’d also been full but luckily for us they’d had a cancellation so that was Saturday’s destination decided.

Port Stewart