Searching for Puffins – Northern Ireland – Day 6

Date:1st June 2018

The Drive: Today’s drive was a simple one. We drove to the port and parked the car there for the day for free! Then at the end of the day on returning to the mainland we stayed close by so again a very easy drive.

Where We Stayed: Sleepy Hollow B&B which was another lovely place with breakfast.

What We Explored: Today was all about seeing the Puffins! At one point we thought we may never see them, more about that in a bit.

So we started the day with a lovely breakfast in our B&B by the cutest couple. We had a really good night sleep and felt totally refreshed. We then headed towards the port ready to catch the ferry, luckily there were tickets left! We’d recommend you book in advance through the website if you plan on making the trip! We had a 30 minute wait so went to a shop to grab some water and snacks for the ferry (These came in handy).

The ferry ride over was a bit rough and quite cold because of the wind. It was bitter! It took under an hour to get from the main land to Rathlin Island and once there we decided to walk across to the tourist information which turned out to be the biggest mistake of the day… To get the to other side of the island there was a bus that cost £5 return. We thought great, let’s do that as we don’t have much time on the island.

Little did we know that there is no timetable and the buses go with every ferry or whenever it feels like it…so we had missed ours. Typical! This was island life at its fullest. It was an hour until the next bus so we decided to walk the 4.5 miles over to the bird centre. It was miles of ups and downs, although the weather was on our side! Just as you thought you were getting there you would turn a corner and see even more road. It was a lovely walk but we’d say if you were going for the day like us, get the bus as soon as you get off the ferry. It’ll cost you £5 for a return ticket and save you a lot of time!

Along our trek we did witness a load of different animals and it was full of spectacular views of the island and out to sea.

We finally turned the last corner and saw the building. Thank God for that! We were losing the will to live a touch towards the end! So we had about 40 minutes to explore before needing to get the bus back. Off we went in search of puffins. There is an RSPB centre at the end of the trail and they were amazing. There is a cost, £5 each, and they offer binoculars and help you distinguish between the puffins and other birds. They were a great help. There were thousands of birds on the cliffs, the noise was quite unbelievable. 

Eventually after looking for ages we found puffins and they are the cutest thing ever. It was a little like a massive game of Where’s Wally? Puffins seen and looked at… for ages. It was time to get the bus back. On the way we had a quick look at the lighthouse, where you can learn a lot about the history of the lighthouse and get some more great views!

So we get back to the top and try and get on the bus. Apparently we would have to wait for everyone to be on and “see if there is room”. This was a little worrying as we wouldn’t have enough time to walk back to the boat. Eventually he started the bus and told us to come aboard. Another phew moment! 

We were exhausted today after all the walking and stress about getting back to the ferry in time. We went for ice cream once we were back at Ballycastle and had an early night in our next B&B. 

Steps According to Fitbit: 18,814

Miles Walked According to Fitbit: 8.21

Total Miles Walked: 47.26

Up Next: The Gobbins 

Important Question: Rathlin Island is worth the visit if visiting Northern Ireland, however make sure you get the bus once you are off the boat. Also, if you are only going for the day it’s worth researching what you’d like to do. As travelling around the island can be a challenge!

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