DAREDEVIL CLIFF WALKS – BEAKON AT THE GOBBINS

by | Sep 30, 2016 | Celtic Times | 0 comments

 

DAREDEVIL CLIFF WALKS – BEAKON AT THE GOBBINS

A white-knuckle cliff-face walk along Northern Ireland’s famous Causeway Coastal Route has opened to the public for the first time in over 60 years this summer.

The Gobbins Cliff Path, a dramatic, two-mile-long cliff-face walkway, features tubular and suspension bridges, a staircase, caves and tunnels carved through the rock in County Antrim.  Its long awaited restoration brings a modern twist to a major attraction first built in the Edwardian age and re-awakens a magnificent but forgotten experience of the spectacular Northern Ireland coastline.

Puffins, eerily carved cliffs and crashing waves – the Gobbins landscape is straight out of Game of Thrones and is actually in the vicinity of locations used in the filming of the hit TV show.

Strictly for thrill-seekers and those who can handle a bracing climb, the narrow route uses the original uneven steps that were carved out of the cliff by pick and shovel more than a century ago.  It’s ‘daredevil stuff’, according to the team behind the ambitious project, with walkers and adventurers scaling narrow, winding steps cut from the basalt cliffs.

Visitors will have to brave 23 metal bridges and water-splashed gantries installed along sheer cliff faces and plunging down to a series of steps that drop below sea level.  With access by guided tour only, the journey begins at a state of the art Gobbins Visitor Centre, where walkers will meet their tour guide and be placed into groups of no more than 12.

Following a short safety briefing, a minibus transports walkers the short distance to the road overlooking the cliffs, where a 15-minute trek leads to a steep slope at the entrance of the path at Wise’s Eye. The full excursion should take several hours.

Those not wishing to walk the path can still enjoy the stunning views and at the visitor centre learn about The Gobbins through an exhibition on the building of the path, its history from Edwardian times and the local geology and ecology. There is also a coffee shop and gift shop.

The Gobbins was originally designed by visionary engineer Berkeley Dean Wise and built in 1902, but fell into disrepair following the Second World War.

Its name comes from the Irish An Gobain, meaning ‘the points of rock’.

Only a 40 minute drive from Belfast, The Gobbins is in Islandmagee, a narrow peninsula just off the world-famous Causeway Coastal Route.  The area is an idyllic holiday spot and home to the Giant’s Causeway, the Glens of Antrim, Bushmills Distillery, miles of golden sand and loads of water-based activity.

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