The crossing was plain sailing if you pardon the pun, the first ship across to Cairnryan was virtually empty, it also had an open car deck and the mate had to be well wrapped against the chilly wind.
The weather was blustery as we left Belfast loch, passing various cargo ships entering either to pick up or discharge a cargo,
we passed many of the landmarks that I grew to know so well back in the days when we brought lub-oil and chemicals to the then troubled city, to the Port side was Bangor and Starboard Carrickfergus still sleeping off their hangovers from drinking too much of the black stuff and the gold stuff no doubt.
and entered Loch Ryan before docking at the new ferry terminal at the small port of cairnryan.
|Opening the bow doors|
|And off we jolly well go|
I then had a quite uneventful trip through and across the border country first into Cumbria and then Northumberland and home.
|Shut, would you believe it?|
Never mind I visited a smashing little art gallery run by the local artist Mick Oxley. I then popped into the Jolly Fisherman and had a mineral water and a smashing crab sandwich.
|Bobbing Eider Ducks|
Turnstones picking through the kelp left from the storm that hit the coast during the night.
|Permission to enter harbour, line astern|
|The hardy lads doing a spot of rock fishing|
As well as the ruins of Dunstanburgh castle standing sentinel on the cliffs.
On the way back to the car park in the old quarry I took some more photographs of the bird life in the harbour and around the holiday chalets.
It is the land of my forefathers, my Great, great, great grandfather had been a hill shepherd in the Cheviots having been born into the small farming community of Chatton in 1807 (but more of this later).
The smashing Alnmouth beach looking towards the river mouth, full with sauntering, jauntering two and four legged revelers out for a breath of fresh air
As you head out of town you travel along the river Coquet, this is also a very good salmon, sea trout and brown trout river, it also teems with bird life, I stopped by the wier and looking back along the river and done a bit of bird watching, it was a smashing day.
The now rotting coaling staiths and ribs of once proud colliers (the ships not the lads down below)
|A beacon from the millenium|
I am researching along with my oldest brother John our family history, but we have hit an impasse, we cannot find our great, great, great grandfathers parents, we know from the very first census that he was born in Chatton a small farming community and worked later as a hill shepherd on the Cheviot hills that form the border between Northumberland and Scotland. He did move to other locations, but this was normal in farming and shepherding as they stayed in tied cottages and could only move on Michaelmas each year, a manner of employment not far removed from serfdom. But even with the help of a very kind lady researcher, I was unable to find any traces and trails that could lead me on the quest of the disappearing member of my lineage.