Adventures in Northern Ireland | Easter 2019 | A Summary

 

It’s been almost a week since we arrived home from one of our most favourite tours yet – our tour of Northern Ireland. Since the weather has been so good, and the schools aren’t quite back, we’ve been carrying on in holiday mode with BBQs, al fresco family lunches and trips to the Norfolk Broads. We’ve had time to catch our breath a little, and digest on what a wonderful time we had in Northern Irealand so thought we’d do a little final summary of our trip. We don’t tend to hear of many people travelling from England to Northern Ireland in their campervans and its such a great shame as its just spectacular, so we thought we’d put all the info down in one post here, with the hope it may inspire/encourage you to follow our footstep and go and experience it for yourself!

The Complete Series of Blog Posts

On the Road to Northern Ireland; Easter 2019 | Part 1

Adventures in Northern Ireland| Easter 2019 | Part 2

Adventures in Northern Ireland| Easter 2019 | Part 3 

Adventures in Northern Ireland| Easter 2019 | Part 4

Travel

We used Stena Line Cairnryan to Belfast crossing. Yes, we had to drive a bit further than Liverpool, but the crossing was only 2 and a quarter hours long  which is much shorterand we could bring Jazz upstairs with us in his travel crate (this had to be pre booked and he wasn’t allowed to get out of it). We paid mainly in Tesco Clubcard points. The small ferry at Strangford saved us having to go back on ourselves route wise and cost £6.80 (I think!)

Campsites

Glenariff Forest Park  £25.50 pn

Lovely facilities, and great view. Right on the start of several walking trails. The waterfall walk is strenuous but worthwhile – lovely and scenic. Be warned- you need to book in advance as you get sent the barrier code by email prior to arrival (this isn’t automated). No warden on site permanently but he came around 8pm to clean and check everything ok. 15 mins drive from the Causeway Coastal Route.

Ballyness Caravan Park  £26pn

Fantastic campsite. Spotless facilities – clean, modern and spacious. Great location. Walk to Giants Causeway (about 3-4 miles, mainly off road) or bus service which comes into the campsite and takes you to all the tourist locations along the coast. Dogs allowed on bus. Free Wifi. Walking distance to Bushmills Distillery.

National Trust Castle Ward Caravan Park  £25pn

Great location, but very dated facilities. Reminded us of an old scout camp! Needs some investment into new facilities block. Location excellent for Castle Ward/Winterfell and Strangford or Portaferry.

Dundonald Touring Park, Belfast £24pn

Great location, right on the bus route to Belfast City Centre. Facilities fairly good but shower pressure almost non existent! Nice washing up area/kitchen. You need to book in advance as you get sent the barrier code by email prior to arrival (this isn’t automated).

On all 4 campsites our pitch had electric hook up, waste water and a freshwater tap.

In Ireland there is a good selection of continental style overnight stopover “aires” you can use. We passed the one in Waterfoot and the one in Portrush- they looked fine, but we need facilities and areas to “spread out” now we’re in the VW rather than the motorhome. For help sourcing these stopovers, this Facebook page is excellent and has an very useful map of stopovers in Ireland. Britstops also have a number of locations in Ireland.

Sightseeingimg_2997

We used our National Trust Membership almost daily – the coverage of NT sites is excellent, including The Giants Causeway (although you only pay to park and visit the Visitor Centre and Toilets) and the Carrick a Rede rope bridge, and Castle Ward. We think our joint membership fee was made back on visits just on this trip alone. The Titanic Museum in Belfast is great and well worth the £19 pp entry charge (we debated whether it would be or not)

Food and Drink

We didn’t end up eating out other than Fish and Chips in Belfast. We did however stock up on local produce at every opportunity. We used the local Spa shops (which tended to stock local meat), Farm Shops and the fishmonger who visits Portrush on a Thursday and veg. We loved the local ice cream and also the Bushmills whiskey. There were lots of local ciders and ale to sample along with Guiness of course – oh and the Jawbox Belfast Gin was great. We often had to buy alcohol separately to food – the Spar shops didn’t stock both so we used Wineflair quite a lot. Centra supermarkets along the Causeway Coast had alcohol too, but not the one in Belfast city centre. McKee’s Farm shop near Belfast was amaaaaaazing.

Walking and Cycling

fe7ef116-90ff-4af1-997c-31f567e78088Ordnance Survey hasn’t mapped NI so memory map/ordnance survey apps don’t work. Routes can be found on Walk NI but we missed not having mobile maps tracking us. We enjoyed the walk around the city walls of Derry. There were good off road bike ride and walking routes at Glenariff Forest Park, Bushmills to Giants Causeway, Lough Antrim Shore Park, Castle Ward, Mount Steward andThe Greenway in Belfast.

Dog Friendly?img_5837

Along the North Coast, yes. Giant’s Causeway/Carrick a Rede – Yes. Derry City Walls – yes. Derry pubs – no.

Belfast – several dog friendly pubs, some which serve tasty looking food.

Use this site  to help you plan.

Fuel economy

From Norfolk to Cainryan in just over half a tank – go Ruby! Filled up at Morrison in Stranraer before the ferry. Only used just over half a tank in NI. Filled up at the docks for £1.30 pl. Most supermarkets were around £1.27 so around the same as England.

Holiday Highlights 

img_5091Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge – even if you don’t do the bridge walk the scenery along the coast is spectacular.

 

 

 

Giant’s Causeway – obviously!img_5234

Port Stewart Strand – still excited that we drove onto the beach for a posh picnic!

Titanic Museum Belfast

 

 

Now, what are you waiting for?! Get your trip booked- I promise that you won’t regret it!

 

Adventures in Northern Ireland| Easter 2019 | Part 4

Saturday Continued

We arrived at the National Trust Campsite at Castle Ward late afternoon. The campsite was a nice woodland retreat, set within the grounds of Castle Ward. It’s extraordinarily popular as castle ward farmyard is now famously known to Game of Thrones fans as Winterfell. 

We enjoyed a lovely Kung Po chicken for tea but our evening became disturbed as we began getting marginally annoyed at the people staying in the nearby “hobbit huts” who had absolutely no understanding of campsite etiquette where you don’t traipse across someone else’s pitch as a short cut to the loo (and who needs to go to the loo every 15 minutes anyway!); you definitely don’t come so close to your van that you stand on their electric cable. And you absolutely 100% do NOT let your kids (or accompany your kids) so close to someone’s  back window at 9pm and look through the window with their nose touching the glass that you nearly give the person inside a heart attack. Sadly despite a polite request that this was indeed our pitch and could they possibly walk the extra 10 steps around us, it was ignored so we closed our curtains and went to bed to the sounds of gravel crunching outside.

Sunday 

This morning we were so fed up about the people endlessly using our pitch as a cut through we requested to move pitch. An hour later, having packed everything up and moved, then reset our stuff out, we enjoyed beans on toast for breakfast and watched as the annoying family packed their car up and left the site. Note to self – if ever in this situation again, perhaps before requesting to move we should ask when they are staying until! Massive face palm 🤦‍♀️ 

Trying to make light of the fact, we decided we preferred our new pitch anyway, and Keith unloaded the bikes as despite the wind still howling, we were going for a bike ride around the estate of Castle Ward. We followed the boundary trail, a very well marked out trail, which hugged the shores of Strangford Lough, through “Winterfell” before heading inland across the estate and towards the National Trust mansion.

The trail was scenic and enjoyable and although we found bits hard going as we are unfit lol, we enjoyed it nonetheless. 

At the property, we had a quick cuppa, sausage roll and a cake – I tried the fifteen cake, which is a local NI recipe containing digestive biscuits and marshmallows and coconut; it was delicious. We took it in turns to go inside – however sadly only got to see the basement as renovation works were overrunning so the rest of the house was shut still. 

Back at Ruby, we had some soup to warm us up as we’d got rather cold before indulging in a duvet afternoon. The wind was blowing and it was quite chilly outside so we had no desire to be outside anymore. For dinner we fired up the Remoska and cooked a fabulous local joint of roast beef, which was incredible and only took 1 hour,  before retreating into a food coma and an early night. 

Monday 

Monday soon arrived and it was time to pack up and move on from our Castle Ward campsite. We’d enjoyed the activities here but found the campsite very dated. The facilities need a massive overhaul, and at £25pn, considering this was just a pound a night less than Ballyness, it wasn’t great value for money other than location, in our opinion; the showers despite being hot and good pressure were housed in an old outhouse and the doors didn’t lock properly. 

We decided to take the small ferry across Strangford Lough rather than retrace our steps back the way we’d come and worked our way up the east side of the Sea inlet Lough.

We pulled in for an impromptu stop at National Trust Mount Stewart house and gardens. Happily the grounds were dog friendly, so we had an enjoyable walk around the formal gardens and lake, before taking it in turns to do the house tour

One of the most fascinating things inside the house was the fact that the entrance hall was done out in what appeared to be marble, but actually was wood! 

After our house tours, we had a very quick lunch in Ruby before making our way to the Titanic museum. We had ummed and ahhhhed about the best way to approach visiting this given that we were travelling with our dog. Should we go on public transport and take it in turns, or should we drive and leave Jazz in the van. This was the option we took, it made sense as we could stop there on route to the campsite and due to Ruby’s fabulous 1.9m height we were able to get into the museum underground parking, so Jazz wasn’t far away. It is worth pointing our that for units bigger than 1.9m in height, you may struggle to park in the nearby vicinity however public transport is very good – there is a bus to the front from City Hall.

The Titanic museum was wonderful. You could easily spend the day here- it was fully interactive and had some of the best 3 way projections I’d ever seen. We rushed round but saw it all in 2 hours, aware that we didn’t want to leave Jazz too much longer. We saw original artefacts such as the Boatyard gates, Table wear and china from the White Star line ships, an original Titanic lunch menu, and much more.

We also saw the slipway in which the Titanic was launched and the boatyard where it was built. We did however not realise that if we had carried on walking beyond the slipway you can get to the actual dock that Titanic sat in. We vowed to return to this tomorrow on foot.

As part of our ticket we were able to visit the SS Normadic which transported many of the passengers that boarded in Cherbourg from the port to the Titanic. It’s the last remaining White Star line ship to remain. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and thought that the £19 ticket price was good value. We can see why the attraction is listed as the number 1 thing to do in Belfast. 

We made the short journey to our final campsite of the trip, Dundonald Touring Park, a Campsite situated on the outskirts of Belfast, and right on the number 4 bus route into the City Centre. There is also an off road cycle track called the Greenway which links the campsite to the city centre. 

For dinner we enjoyed a homemade macaroni cheese. It’s no secret, it is one of my all time favourite dishes, yet I’ve never been able to make one in Ruby due to not having an oven. Now owning the Remoska, it’s opened up being able to cook dishes like this and I couldn’t wait to sample it!

On our journey to Belfast earlier we stopped at McKee’s farm shop.

Good job it was the end of our holiday, we’d have blown our budget here in one go! To accompany our Mac n cheese we picked up some home baked soda bread and some chilli chicken pieces and the finished result was delicious, even if so say so myself! I made a video which is below:

Tuesday

Sadly the weather turned during the night and we actually had some rain – not that we could complain as its the first we’ve had all the time that we’ve been away.

As the weather was poor we decided to have a rest and a duvet morning, before heading out to Belfast on the Midday bus. Just a note about the bus incase you find yourself at this campsite. Firstly its the number 4 bus and not the number 19 that is printed on the campsite leaflet. To get to the bus stop you need to go out of the campsite gate, turn left and walk up the ramp to the main road. The bus stop for Belfast bound buses is across the road and about 300 yards to the left. The bus stop exactly by where the path comes up onto the road is where you get off. This wasn’t very clear so we ended up missing a bus because we were in the wrong place. 🙂 A day return was £4.40 each and Jazz was allowed on the bus.

We got off the bus at City Hall, and picked up the yellow Titanic trail which took us from the main memorial in the city centre all the way to the pump house and dock which we missed yesterday. It was well signed and took us past some interesting sights including The Albert Memorial Clock, which is like a mini Big Ben, the Big Fish and much more – including a dog friendly pub, hurrah!

At the end of the walk and after our visit to the Dock and Pumphouse – we couldn’t get in as it was closed sadly – we caught the Glider bus back to the city centre (£1.20)

We then visited the Cathedral Quarter and the very interesting St Ann’s Cathedral with its very unusual and unexpected spire.

I hated it at first but then it grew on me in the end. The reason that the spire is so different stems from the need for it to be lightweight as the ground the cathedral sits on is basically a river bank and it just can’t take the weight. Inside the cathedral you can actually see the floor sinking.

During the day we passed some pretty impressive Murial Walls (Graffiti art is a big thing here) including a 3D one where we got glasses from the pub!

We managed to find a couple more dog friendly pubs, including the amazing and rather historical Dirty Onion where Jazz was treated to a homemade doggy treat.

We also both managed to rather embarrasingly have our first Guiness!

We also managed to find our first fish and chip lunch courtesy of Fish City. They were posh fish and chips but were absolutely gorgeous and fantastically cheap at just £7.15 pp.

I’ve since found this amazing doggie friendly Northern Ireland map which is vital for anyone travelling with their furry friends  – I just wished I had seen it before we went!

Dog Friendly Northern Ireland

After a full day and 7.5 miles walked, we made our retreat back to the campsite for our final evening before heading home tomorrow. Dinner was sausage and mash, once again done in the fabulous Remoska Electric Oven which we enjoyed whilst reminiscing about our fantastic trip to Northern Ireland.

Wednesday 

Wednesday arrived and it was sadly home time. We set our alarm for 8am, and had a slow but thorough pack up of Ruby, stripping the bed and doing a full floor clean etc. Our ferry from Belfast Port was at 11.30 and ran to time, arriving into Cairnryan just before 2pm. We hit the road East and then South and East again – A75, M6, A66, A1, A14 and had a good smooth run, until we got to Cambridge of course and those hideous roadworks. We took it in turns driving and arrived home just before 11pm. 450 miles, 3 countries, 1 ferry, and only half a tank of fuel to get us home.

We had absolutely adored our time in Northern Ireland – it completely and utterly exceeded our exceptions and would recommend it to absolutely everyone we know.

Thankfully we don’t have that long until our next adventure – just 2 weeks – yippee!

So, Until Next Time

Lx

 

 

 

Adventures in Northern Ireland| Easter 2019 | Part 3

Thursday
Today we were supposed to be saying goodbye to Ballyness Caravan Park and moving towards Londonderry.

As you could probably tell on our previous post, we had fallen in love with this campsite so decided, based on the fact we could still day trip to Londonderry from here using public transport, we would extend our stay for two nights. Thankfully this could be accommodated, although we would need to change pitch. This was fine as actually we were intending on driving away from the campsite today anyway as we wanted to explore Portstewart Beach. We could get here from the site on the bus however we wanted to take advantage of the novelty that this was one of the few beaches where we could drive onto the sand and set our stall out.

On the way to Portstewart we stopped at the local fishmongers van at Portrush.

We’d been recommended this by the people who kindly fixed my bike yesterday – the visiting fishmonger visits the Eurospa car park every Thursday selling local fish and shellfish. Given that the wether was still fabulous, we took the opportunity to get some fresh fish. We stocked up on mussels, scallops, cod fillet and salmon and made our way to the beach.

Portstewart Strand is National trust owned, and as members this enabled us to drive on for free rather than the £6 fee to park on the beach otherwise. We would have happily paid the £6 as we’ve never come across a beach which you can do this at, although I am aware there is one in Wales somewhere I think.

It was exceptionally exciting driving on to the beach and we soon picked our spot, right by where the high tide was due to peak in just 15 minutes. Keith got the table and chairs out and the camp cooker whilst I found my Prosecco glass and mini bottle and a beer for Keith.

The weather was fabulous – we couldn’t believe our luck!

For lunch I got to tick off one of my bucket list items – “cook fresh mussels on the beach”. Never in a million years did I think we’d get to do it here, but we did and it was every bit as magical as I’d imagined!

After lunch, which attracted a few interested glances from passers by, I donned my new wetsuit, a Christmas present from mum, and had a dip in the sea. I was hoping to paddle board, but the waves were just a bit too big for me, still a novice!

We couldn’t resist doing a little video of our days adventure on Portstewart Strand.

After a good couple of hours of pure relaxation on the beach we turned Ruby’s wheels back towards Ballyness Caravan Park, stopping for a pic stop at Dunluce Castle and settled onto our new pitch and sparked up for our luxury fish bbq.

Keith did a tremendous job, scallops and Irish chorizo to start, then Cod and Salmon served with a simple vegetable rice. It was wonderful and the perfect way to finish our perfect day!

Friday

Today we got up early ready to take the 09.37 bus from the campsite to Coleraine, where we changed onto the train – which took us to Derry. The train journey was very scenic and hugged the coast all the way. The journey took around 1.5 hours each way, but it was relaxing and nice not to drive. Plus I was looking forward to sampling either some Guinness or the local Walled city brewery ale.

We enjoyed a meander around the City Walls – the walk is around 1 mile in length and the city walls are well preserved. In fact they are the best preserved in Ireland.

Unfortunately, despite dogs being allowed on the wall walk, we really struggled to find any pubs that welcomed dogs and due to alcohol laws here, we struggled to find pubs with outdoor or on street seating. This meant that our plans of a pub lunch were over sadly, so we ended up grabbing a sandwich from the supermarket before catching the earlier train back to Coleraine for our bus to the campsite. It was shame as we’d really been looking forward to a pub lunch. We did manage to grab a quick drink outside the Walled brewery, but it really was quick as by the time we had got served it left us than 10 minutes to finish it and get to the station!

Our time lapse video of some of the scenery on the train ride between Derry and Coleraine

Thankfully, as I had some diced beef to use, I had made a beef and tomato casserole in the slow cooker before we left with the intention of freezing it if we were full from lunch, so when we got back we enjoyed this along with some fresh bread.

Derry had been a nice day trip however we hadn’t found it quite as welcoming as other places along the coast.

Saturday
Today we bid a very very sad farewell to our home for the previous 5 nights, Ballyness Caravan Park. This was the first time we’d based ourselves somewhere for 5 nights, as usually we get itchy feet, but it really is a testament to the wonderful facilities and location, the fact that we’d been extremely happy there for 5 nights. For anyone visiting this area, I’d highly recommend staying here. At just £26 pn it was an absolute bargain.

Today we were leaving the coast and driving south. Our destination was Newgrange – a prehistoric monument that is even older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids! We needed to cross the border into the Republic of Ireland, so we set Google maps going and began our journey. As we passed Antrim we stopped for a top up shop at Asda before stopping at Lough Neagh shore park at Antrim for lunch and a leg stretch.

Lough Neagh is the largest freshwater lake in the UK, it’s circumference is 90miles long! Sadly, the weather had turned, and despite it being dry, the wind was blowing a hooley. This was a shame because this would have been a great spot for a paddleboard session. Also there was a lovely bike path too. So this would definitely be a place to return to. There is a nice looking caravan park here which would have been a good base for a few nights.

At this point, we looked at the map to discover that it was still almost 2 hours to Newgrange. As we were only having one night there, and we couldn’t pre book tickets as there is major works going on at the visitor centre, plus Newgrange Lodge, our intended home for the night was unable to prebook, and essentially just a car park with hook up, we made the joint decision to change our plans. It was too much of a risk to do a 4 hour detour for an activity that either may not be open, or wouldn’t be able to be enjoyed to full potential. We therefore have vowed to return when the works are completed.

We called our next campsite, to see if they could accommodate us a day earlier and luckily they could. We therefore set Google maps and Ruby’s Wheels East, heading towards the National Trust campsite at Castle Ward, which we arrived at just over an hour later.

Adventures in Northern Ireland| Easter 2019 | Part 2

Monday

After a wonderfully quiet night parked at Glenariff Forest Park, we enjoyed bacon rolls before taking ourselves off for a little walk. The campsite had immaculate facilities including a luxurious heated toilet and shower block, and hard standing, plus fully serviced pitches. In our opinion, excellently priced at just £20pn too.

Glengariff Forest Park is known locally as Queen of the Glens, and it’s not hard to see why. It was different to how I imagined in that is was at the top of the glen rather than the base, but this made for lovely views from our pitch, but also a downhill start to our Waterfall walk – and the dreaded uphill back! The waterfall walk at Glenariff was recommended to us by quite a few people on various Facebook pages, and actually was the reason why we booked to stay here. The 3km walk did not disappoint, it was well paved and offered views of three separate waterfalls, and a pretty impressive gauge.

We returned from our walk for 11am and did one last wash up before hitting the road. Our first stop of the day was Cushendun, which is a pretty little seaside village.

We stocked up on some local beef steak sausages from the Spar and carried on along the coast road. Our next stop was the National Trust owned Carrick-a-rede Rope bridge and coastline. More recently the adjoining old quarry, Larrybne, now the NT overspill car park, was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones, so as you can imagine it was pretty busy here.

Perhaps now is the time to admit that Keith and I haven’t watched Game of Thrones. Anytime we’ve ever mentioned to people about this, we are gasped, gawped and god knows what else at! We did try to get into it, but after series 1 ep 3 we kind of gave up!

Carrick-a rede rope bridge connects the mainland to a tiny island which used to be used by salmon farmers.

They used to have their own rope bridge which looked terrifying, to cross to get their salmon fishing boats. Nowadays the rope bridge is still terrifying but much safer than how it was originally. It hangs 100ft above the sea, and really is utterly terrifying to cross. However, I’m so proud of say both Keith and I managed it, despite me having a phobia of heights, swinging things, uneven and insecure edges, plus a whole host of other issues that should have prevented me crossing!

It may have taken US BOTH about 30 minutes and a swift Carling tinny in Ruby- well it was lunchtime, and when else can you have a picnic lunch on a film set – to recover. But, we did it! AND we LOVED it (in our own terrified way!)

Check out our video here 🤣

Attempting to embrace the Games of thrones excitement we ventured for our last stop of the day to the famous (if you watch GOT) Kings Road- known here as The Dark Hedges. This rather spectacular and creepy mile or so tree lined road is now heaving with enthusiasts however for us we really found the tree shaping fascinating and great for a leg stretch and photo opportunity.

If you visit, please respect that is is now a huge tourist area, and whilst there is very generously no entry charge, or parking charge, please don’t park on the road itself. There are numerous signs asking people not or park or drive down the road, and the hotel across the road has generously providing free parking. So why on earth it was ignored by at least 5 cars in the 20 mins we spent there is just beyond me. I’m willing to bet in 5 years or likely less, you’ll have to pay entry or parking to manage the huge crowds flocking here.

Just 8 miles from The Dark Hedges was our home for the next 3 nights, Ballyness Caravan Park. This had been recommended to me by several and I can absolutely see why. The facilities are absolutely wonderful and immaculate. There is a regular bus service from the campsite to the attractions in both directions along the coast. There is a huge dog walk on site. It is by far the best campsite we have ever stayed on.

The weather is tremendous and as we don’t want to assume it’s here to stay, we decided to have a bbq tonight.

We enjoyed the local sausages, a lamb leg steak each we picked up (also local) and accompanied it with a jacket spud and stuffed mushroom each cooked in our new Remoska courtesy of Lakeland.

It was delicious, we stayed outside until it got dark. We can’t believe how much we’ve enjoyed our first day in Northern Ireland.

Tuesday

Another day, another bucket list item to tick off! Today it’s the UNESCO world heritage site that is The Giants Causeway. Actually it’s quite fair to say that both Keith and I were tremendously excited about visiting this site, it’s been a dream for years. And that old Irish O’Gorman luck was on our side – it was so sunny, we decided to get our shorts on. Not bad for April 9th.

Although there is a regular bus service from the campsite, we opted to don our walking boots and walk the 4 miles there. The route took us through Bushmills where we picked up the old tram heritage railway, and then the path ran beside the railway the whole way there.

We took the extended route around the headland just before the Giants Causeway. The scenery was beautiful and rivalled the Coastal path in Cornwall and Pembrokeshire.

Bu the time that we got to the visitors centre we were buzzing! Entry to the Giants Causeway itself is free for all, however National Trust members can gain free parking should you need it, an audio guide and access to the visitors centre and toilets as part of your membership (£12.50 otherwise) There is also a free shuttle down from the visitors centre to the causeway – 20 min walk otherwise. We found the audio guide was very informative into how the Causeway was formed and why it’s called the Giants Causeway.

The Giants Causeway was absolutely phenomenal. I mean seriously SERIOUSLY awesome.

The stones in large are shaped as almost perfect pentagons, and the columns are just mind bending. The scenery is breathtaking and we spent 4 hours there just in absolute awe of Mother Nature.

As you can probably tell, we absolutely LOVED our visit, and rate it as spectacular at the Grand Canyon. A real must for all to visit.

We took the bus back to Bushmills (£2.20 each) but disembarked a stop early than the campsite to replenish our alcohol supplies. We have found since being in NI normal convenience stores such as the Spar and Coop DON’T sell alcohol! Part of the joy of exploring new areas for us is to embrace the local ale/gin/cider etc so we were thrilled when we spotted a liquor store attached to a supermarket in Bushmills. I also brought a brush as I forgot mine and therefore my hair is resembling a birds nest as it’s not been brushed since last Friday! We stocked up on Irish ale, cider and of course gin before walking the last 3/4s of a mile back to Ruby.

I made from scratch a chilli con carne for the slow cooker before we left this morning, but accidentally left it on high! So today I got to use my Remoska to resurrect the chilli – I put the now dried up chilli into foil cartons, topped with Doritos and grated cheese for 20 mins and we ended up with a delicious chilli and nacho meal – something we couldn’t have done without the Remoska.

Thanks Lakeland,you got me out of the dog house! I absolutely definitely intended to do the chilli this way!

Wednesday dawned another fabulous sunny day. We are starting to become rather attached to this campsite, the showers are just phenomenal, as is the location, and talks are taking place in Ruby the VW as to whether we can change our next campsite, instead remaining here but still do the activities we’ve planned. Watch this space…

We opted for a bit of a lazy morning, that culminated in a home cooked Irish breakfast, which was cooked al fresco – the first of the year, except for the sausages which went in the Remoska and cooked beautifully for an hour whilst we got showered and sorted the rest of the breakfast out.

I’m loving having the Remoska as an alternative to gas hob cooking – I can get on with other stuff (including a cuppa outside in the sunshine) rather than having to sit and watch and constantly turn the food and turn the gas flame up or down inside Ruby.

We unloaded the bikes and took ours,eves for a gentle 2 miles bike ride to nearby Portballintrae. Here there is a lovely stretch of beach which we thoroughly enjoyed walking the length of, and I was eying up places to paddleboard from tomorrow perhaps.

On our way back I managed to not only loose my chain, but get it completely and utterly wedged between the cogs. Keith spent at least 30 mins trying to get it out to no avail, and at the point we decided to just walk back, we noticed a local man working on his own bike in his garden, so we asked if he had some oil we could try. He was so friendly, he took over, and ended up using not only a chisel, but a hammer too to get my chain back to where it needed to be! What a nice man!

On the way back we dropped into Bushmills Distillery to get some miniatures to try – dogs aren’t allowed on site, so I nipped inside to the shop, before stocking up across the road at the Spar for some side dishes for our Irish steak dinner – we also tried a local ice cream which was yummy.

The rest of the afternoon was sat outside Ruby in our own version of heaven. The sun was gorgeous and we were about as chilled out as we could be. A far cry from this time last week!

Dinner tonight was not one but 2 Irish fillet steaks, served with chips and onion rings cooked in the Remoska and corn on the cob and mushrooms. Al fresco of course for the 3rd night running!

So the question remains. Will we move on from here, the best campsite we’ve ever stayed on ever in nearly 10 years of motorhoming, to our next designated campsite tomorrow? Or will we make a change to our itinerary?

You’ll have to wait and see 😉

Until next time

Lx