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The Gobbins

Meet the Locals: 
George McGrand

George McGrand, tour guide, explains what makes the Gobbins such a dramatic coastal walk.

I have been guiding people over this walk since it re-opened in 2015 and it never fails to surprise and amaze me.

The two-mile path around the cliff passes over some amazing bridges and through a tunnel in which you are below the water level.

Soon after entering, through the hollowed out entrance, Wise’s Eye, you come to your first cliff edge, the first bridge, with the sea crashing below you and Deane’s Point, one of the highest cliffs, towering above you.

I love the difference the seasons make, the crystal blue waters of summer, the winds howling through the caves in winter, like Thunder Cave, where dull thunder like peals resound as the waves hit the back.

The Devil's Steps, cut from the rock, leads round to the Smuggler's Cave, the largest cave we pass on our journey.

Gobbins | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Even as late as the 60s, bottles of alcohol were found here, though actually the main thing they smuggled in the old days was salt! A photo was taken here on opening day in 1902, with Mr Wise (the engineer who constructed the path) and guests.

The Gobbins | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Then we come to Tubular Bridge, an amazing construction, hugging the cliff, where you can see the Maidens, and, on a clear day, cars driving on the Mull of Kintyre. As a place to see wildlife it has few equals, especially the vast colonies of early summer when thousands of birds arrive to feed on the herring and mackerel spawning.

The fish also bring in porpoises, dolphins, otters, hawks and puffins. Some birds are so near, you could reach your hand out to touch them, although that, of course, is not permitted under the law. The birds of prey, like kestrels and buzzards, arrive in August when the young birds are coming into flight. 

From the Tubular Bridge you go over to the Man of War, a huge basalt rock which looks like a man of war ship setting out. Then a girder bridge takes you back to the mainland over the sea. As on so many times on this walk you are so close to the elements now with the sea splashing spray up to you.

"Puffins with their brightly-coloured bills come here to breed. They, and the auks, push their offspring off the top of the cliff to fly. That’s some sight!"
Itineraries

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