This morning, when I got up, my feet and legs were still sore. But it was a nice day once again, and I thought I could take it easy and slowly hike the last 25 kilometres of the Causeway Coast Way to Portstewart.
After a last look at the Giant’s Causeway, I continued following the coast heading west.
The cliffs eventually gave way to sand dunes and beaches. And as the weather was nice (and warm) there were many walkers on the trail, on which I had until now crossed few people (except at Carrick-A-Rede Bridge and at the Giant’s Causeway).
I arrived at Portballintrae, the first village on my itinerary of the day. And there, the convenience store clerk where I bought a coffee made me a bit anxious. He told me that a motorcycle race was taking place in the area today, which would mean that many roads would be closed. And according to him, it would be impossible for me to reach Portstewart since the road leading to it would be closed from 3pm.
So I decided that I should quickened my pace a little and not loose too much time along the way.
I still made a detour to visit the ruins of Dunluce Castle. Especially since they were the most impressive I have seen so far. The castle perched on a promontory by the sea was the seat of power of the MacQuillans in County Antrim from 1500. It was inhabited until the late 17th century and then slowly fell into ruins.
After this stop at Dunluce Castle, I arrived at the long Portrush Beach. My legs were really throbbing at that point, and with the heat I would have liked to just lie down on the beach and rest, but I absolutely wanted to cross Portrush before the closure of the road.
As I approached the town, I could feel that I was approaching the race site. There were many, many people, the engines of motorcycles could be heard everywhere in the city and the air smelled like diesel. I went through Portrush as quickly as possible but when I came out of the city, I still ended stuck by a barrier that prevented me from going further. No!
As I did not want to wait until the end of the race, and as I really did not want to give up, I snuck between the barriers to reach my path which was a few meters away. A nice volunteer let me pass, which was fortunate because the race started a few minutes later.
After that, I had less than ten kilometers left before reaching Portstewart, the end of the Causeway Coast Way. But the sound of the motorcycles, the commentators and the BBC helicopter spoiled the serenity of the landscape. At this point, I was really looking forward to the end of the trail.
I finally reached Portstewart, completely exhausted. I still had to cross the small town to reach the Portstewart Strand, the official end of the trail. Which I did.
I have a sunburn, my feet, legs and back are aching, but my head is filled with the incredible views I had along the way. And I am especially proud to say: mission accomplished!