Paddy at the Lighthouse - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

To The Lighthouse!

Hello there Beastie people! After last week’s visit with a new Beastie, we’re back on the road with Paddy and Plunkett… And it’s certainly nice and sunny wherever they are today!
Paddy and Plunkett Enjoy the Sunshine - CrawCrafts BeastiesIt seems the locals are pleasant, too. We all know about how well Beasties and cats get on, and the boys can really get on board with any place that puts up a sign like this.
Cat Crossing at the Lighthouse - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen, on the horizon… Look, a lighthouse!

The Lighthouse at the Mull of Galloway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
The boys have never been in a lighthouse before. And now we know where they are – they’re back in Scotland, at the Mull of Galloway! This is Scotland’s most southerly point, and between the lighthouse and the nearby nature reserve, there’s plenty of cool stuff to see. Better still…
Lighthouse Entrance - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Look, Paddy! It’s open!”

“YESSSSSS! I can’t wait to see the view from up there…”
Paddy at the Lighthouse - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut alas, Paddy will have to stick to admiring the lighthouse from ground level. The Beasties’ small stature has once again been their undoing, and there’s a minimum height requirement. And they won’t even be able to stow away in a handy human pocket or backpack, either.

” ‘Little ones may not be carried’. Sounds like the humans might be on to us, Paddy… Paddy?”

He’s already gone! Never one to dwell, Paddy has switched his attentions to something new. Namely, how to get down to this foghorn. It’s been out of service since 1987, but it was restored to full working order last year… And is occasionally sounded for lucky visitors.
Foghorn - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy is planning to take it a step further. He’s pretty sure everyone wants to hear his rendition of “Ode to Joy” blasted out over the sea at 120 decibels.

Fortunately, Plunkett has the perfect distraction to get Paddy away from the foghorn, and preserve the peace of this otherwise tranquil nature reserve…
Where to Next, Paddy and Plunkett? H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHow could any adventurous Beastie resist a signpost like this one? So many possibilities!

“Which way to Dublin, Paddy?”
“It doesn’t say… How about we head to Senegal instead?”

Do you reckon the boys will hitch a lift with a friendly gannet and send their next holiday photos from Dakar? You’ll have to join us next week to find out!

Surf's Up, Explorer Beastie! CrawCrafts Beasties

Back to the Wild North West!

Explorer Beastie’s been a bit quiet lately, hasn’t he? But he always likes to take advantage of the post-Christmas lull to do a spot of out-of-town adventuring, and last week found both of us up in Donegal again, treading a slightly different path from the one we took this time last year.

Actually, this breaking of new ground was thrust upon us by circumstances beyond our control. We had originally intended to fuel up with a monster fry at CafĂ© Donagh in Carndonagh, but alas! Some pre-trip research revealed that the owners had retired from the breakfast business, leaving us high and dry in the fried food stakes. We only had memories of last year’s feed to sustain us as we embarked on our quest for a new spot to enjoy Third Breakfast (the most important meal of the day).
Explorer Beastie, Eyeing up my Breakfast - CrawCrafts Beasties
Our first stop was the pretty little town of Ramelton. Surely there must be a good breakfasting spot around here?
Ramelton, Co Donegal - CrawCrafts Beasties
But unfortunately not – it being a Sunday, we had the choice of pricey gastropub fare or the diner in the local Eurospar. So Explorer Beastie Beastie-bombed my last photo of the river…
Beastie About Town, Rathmelton - CrawCrafts Beasties
…And we hit the road again. Several potential candidates were rejected along the way, until we drove up to Ripples Restaurant just outside Kerrykeel. We didn’t hold out much hope – we thought it might be a bit fancy for the kind of food we were craving – but the chef was happy to put together a plate of fried goodness for us while Explorer Beastie toasted himself by the fire!
Warming up by the fire - CrawCrafts Beasties
The meal itself escaped photographing, since it was half-eaten before I thought, “Hey, maybe I should have taken a picture”. Please be assured that it was very good, and feast your eyes on the glorious view outside the restaurant instead.
Mulroy Bay, Co Donegal - CrawCrafts Beasties
Well and truly refuelled and recaffeinated, we hopped back into the car and did the best thing you can do when in Donegal – drove to the extreme end of the finger of land we found ourselves on to enjoy some wild coastal scenery!

This time around, that meant heading for Fanad Head, where Explorer Beastie found some ruined houses to explore!Urbex Beastie at Fanad Head - CrawCrafts Beasties
Does it still count as “Urbex” if the buildings are in the middle of nowhere?
Ruins at the Lighthouse, Fanad Head - CrawCrafts Beasties
Post-road-trip research has revealed that this is an old coastguard station, which was abandoned after the Second World War. Back in the day, it would have housed four families, with sheds outside for storage (that’s the building in the top right of the image above). But hey, what’s that just around the corner?
First Glimpse of Fanad Head Lighthouse - CrawCrafts Beasties

Explorer Beastie did everything he could to get a little closer…
Can we reach the Lighthouse? CrawCrafts Beasties
…But we’d just missed the last tour of the day. Still, we enjoyed admiring it from a distance in the bright winter sunlight.
Fanad Head Lighthouse - CrawCrafts Beasties
Building work on this lighthouse started in 1815, and its light shone for the first time on St Patrick’s Day 1817. Its last full-time keeper retired in 1983, and these days it only needs a caretaker… But that means that us regular folks can now book a stay in the former keepers’ cottages! It’s lucky we didn’t know this at the time, or we might not have come home.

As it was, we thought it best to make the most of the remaining daylight – let’s head down to the shore!
Heading to the Shoreline at Fanad Head! CrawCrafts Beasties
One Beastie on the rocks, please!
Surf's Up, Explorer Beastie! CrawCrafts Beasties
We spent a while watching the waves crashing on the rocks – they were seriously huge, even though it was a calm day! Then, as the sun set, we jumped in the car and made for home.Sunset at Fanad Head - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut next time, we’re totally staying in the lighthouse.

Have your travels taken you anywhere interesting yet this year? Be sure to tell us all about it in the comments! And we’ll be back in a week with our first new Beastie of 2018, so join us again next Tuesday!

PS Explorer Beastie isn’t the only one who’s been out adventuring lately! Finn McSpool has been enjoying the benefits of an unseasonably warm start to the year in Portland, and we’ve a new monster face in the Blogosphere too… Take a moment to meet Slartibartfast, who’s just taken up residence on Escribble!

Paddy and Plunkett Reach Beachy Head - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Life is Beachy for Paddy and Plunkett!

Paddy and Plunkett Hit The Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s back to Blighty on the BeastieBlog today! As it turns out, Paddy and Plunkett are still in beautiful Sussex, and they’re finding plenty there to keep them entertained. We’ll join them on the beach in a minute, but first they wanted to share a couple of photos from the village of East Dean, which they passed through on the way… Check out the famous former “resident” of this picturesque cottage!
Sherlock Holmes Lived Here - H CrawfordCrawCrafts BeastiesA little further along the road, the boys came to Birling Gap, where they got their first glimpse of the stunning white cliffs known as the Seven Sisters.
First Glimpse of the Seven Sisters, East Sussex - H Crawfor/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd they really are WHITE! Plunkett was kicking himself for not thinking to pack his sunglasses!
Plunkett Being Dazzled at the Seven Sisters - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe cliffs maintain their shiny brightness thanks to natural erosion – the soft chalk rock is constantly being nibbled away by the sea, which means that plants and lichens never really get a chance to take over the pristine white surface. Because of this, the Seven Sisters are often used as a stand-in for the more famous White Cliffs of Dover in films and TV… The Dover cliffs are so close to the huge international port that they’re no longer allowed to erode naturally, so they’re a little less white than they used to be!

Let’s follow the boys down onto the beach!
Paddy and Plunkett Among the Pebbles - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWith all those white pebbles lying around, it would be quite easy to lose them down here – they’re surprisingly well camouflaged!

After a few games of hide and seek among the stones, the lads decided to spend the afternoon strolling along the clifftop path which links Birling Gap with Beachy Head. On the way, they passed the wonderfully-named Belle Toute lighthouse… Although it was never considered a particularly good lighthouse (according to Wikipedia, its position on the clifftop meant that sea mists often obscured the light, and those people who most needed to be able to see it – sailors venturing too close to the rocky shore – had their view blocked by the cliffs), it is a well-known local landmark, and it’s even appeared on the silver screen a couple of times! And it’s lucky that it’s so popular – in 1999, the cliffs Belle Toute stands on threatened to crumble away from under it and drop it into the sea, so the whole lighthouse was picked up and moved inland! It’s now enjoying a comfortable retirement as a B&B, safe from the ravages of the tides, and its job has been taken over by a much younger, better positioned lighthouse.

Here it is – Beachy Head Lighthouse, which greeted the boys at the end of their wander!
Paddy and Plunkett Reach Beachy Head - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWhere will you be spending this weekend? Be sure to share your adventures with us in the comments!