The story of the Antrim Hills picks up where Out of Ballynure left off. Ordovich and I had just spent the night at the edge of Ballyboley Forest. After counting all of our fingers and toes we realized how beautiful the scene had become all around us. Dawn had brought with it a diffuse, golden light that shone through the early morning mist with a soft glow. It would've been easy to wait around a while and admire the scenery, but we were determined to reach the next town that night and so we had a long walk ahead of us. It was time to pack up and go.
We left the forest and crossed the plain directly east of us to reach the Antrim Hills, the last bit of elevation before the water. The plain and the hills were a bog. It's clear that the mist and the rain we had just seen are not uncommon in these parts. In fact, another storm was just behind us over the forest and catching up quickly. Before long it was showering us with tiny hailstones and the world had become a blur of brown earth, bright sky in the east and dark sky in the west. Luckily the trail was easy to follow.
As the sun rose and we walked north the weather settled down. By the time we had left those first hills the sky was still gloomy, but otherwise it was quite pleasant. Much of this walk is best described in pictures that I won't discuss here, but I've done my best to annotate the photos in the gallery.
By mid-afternoon we had reached the last stone marker on the Antrim Hills and were ready to turn inland once again. The nearest town was Glenarm. We took a short break here before the final push into town and I took the opportunity to put the camera away. The last stretch didnít offer any views I hadnít already captured and also the clouds were looking mighty ominous over the town ahead. Those same clouds opened up when we were a few miles outside of town. Lucky for us the townspeople were willing to give us a warmer welcome than the weather. As soon as we got into town we found the first pub, which didnít take much, and asked for a B&B, of which there were several nearby.
It was like a little slice of heaven. Warmth. A shower. Dry socks. Donít get me wrong, I love being on the trail, but as Iíve said and will say again, we were unprepared for this trip in all the worst ways. My patched up, 15 year old, middle school bag was not making my shoulders feel very good with a borrowed sleeping bag and another stuff bag dangling from it. And when I say stuff bag here I donít mean one of those fancy waterproof bags with the drawstring, I mean a plastic shopping bag full of food tied to the handle of the backpack with clothesline. Just one more thing to upgrade when I get back to the US.
In any case, it was nice to put all of that down and head back to the pub for some bangers and mash and the most delicious pint of Guinness Iíve ever had followed soon thereafter by the second and third most delicious pints of Guinness Iíve ever had. Somebody later on in our journey would tell me that the reason Guinness tastes so different (read: bad) when it crosses the Atlantic is that the sugars change over time. Whatever the reason, it was like day and night. In Ireland itís like drinking a malty, runny chocolate mousse spiced with a touch of hops. In America itís like drinking used motor oil.
On that note I end this post. The story continues with my Glenarm gallery.