So my Halfway Summer Bucketlist has been sitting all sad and unticked since I wrote it as I have been waiting unpatiently for the last of the summer sun to arrive. Turns out I might be waiting a long time because the weather has been relentlessly grey and unaccommodating. August has been hammering past us though so it’s time I realised I live in Ireland and to not ever depend on the weather!
Camping has been my biggest priority this summer; I’ve been aching to sleep outside and wake up hearing nothing, absolutely damn all as the sun comes up. We’re so lucky to be close to many beautiful spots where heading off for a night’s camping is super easy, shameful really that I’m leaving it until now to finally get moving!
On Saturday we packed up the car, had the usual tiff about packing too much (me, my fault, I always like to be over-prepared) and drove up towards Antrim not entirely sure where we were going to end up. This is how the best trips start I think.
We got as far as Glenariff Park anyway and found out there’s no camping allowed, only caravans. Boo. We kept on driving down the winding lanes through the valley and found a farmer along the road and wound down the window to ask if he knew of anywhere to pitch our tent.
“Sure yiz can just pitch in my field over there, no bother at all!”
And this is the kind of thing that restores my faith in humanity…
We couldn’t believe our luck as we got the tent up, looking up at the valley we were going to be nestling in for the night and thanking our stars we had ran in to this affable farmer (Eamonn was his name).
We headed in to Cushendall, a nearby fishing village which is very sweet with a surprisingly big number of Irish speakers. After we got back from a stressful trip (turns out the a local charity run was taking place which made it virtually impossible to navigate) we found that aul Eamonn had left us some deck chairs, a gas stove, cutlery, umbrellas (a blessing) and a tree stump we could use a table. A host with the most indeed!
Using the stove Eamonn leant us (his was much better than ours), we made a delicious dinner of spaghetti bolognese washed down with even more delicious wine. Topped it all off with some s’mores and I swear I was in heaven. There’s something to be said about slicing onions surrounded my fields and nothing else, I’ll tell ya.
The next morning we woke up to a cacophony of moos and baas. There was one cow in particular who was a serious early bird so the novelty of waking up to the sounds of nature wore thin fairly quickly! Until I got out and reminded myself of where we were again.
I had the loveliest morning walk around the fields along the river towards the tiny village of Waterfoot. I might have gotten a few bruises climbing the walls and I’m pretty sure I had trench foot when I got back but it was all so wonderful I didn’t give a damn. There was no one around, so quiet bar the sound of the wind, and the farmer yelling “hi boy!” while herding the sheep.
We made some bacon butties for breakfast while the rain threatened to come down harder and harder. We ate under our borrowed umbrellas and reluctantly packed up our gear to head home but made sure that the weather wouldn’t stop us from sleeping under the stars anymore.