Mulroy Bay, Co Donegal - CrawCrafts Beasties

Memory Lane: Donegal Road Trips

Hello there Beastie friends! And hey, look at this – we’re nearly halfway through January already. That HAS to be worth celebrating! Now normally at this time of year, my brother and I (often with a certain small blue and yellow woolly monster in tow) would spend a day driving around beautiful Co Donegal, in the extreme north-west of Ireland. For obvious reasons, we haven’t managed a Donegal road trip in a good few months – possibly since last Christmas. Yikes!

So, I thought I would use today’s post to take a virtual road trip instead. Quick, put on the kettle for a nice cup of tea, or grab a can of the black stuff… Ready? Okay, let’s go!

First of all, it’s never advisable to start a road trip on an empty stomach. How about we kick off with a nice healthy Full Irish Breakfast?
Explorer Beastie, Eyeing up my Breakfast - CrawCrafts BeastiesDon’t worry, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to walk this off later.

Now that we’re properly fuelled up, let’s go and enjoy some scenery.
Explorer Beastie at Glengesh Pass, Donegal - CrawCrafts BeastiesGlengesh Pass is pretty spectacular at any time of the year. The last time we were there it was late summer – look at those rolling green hills! It’s also on the way to Glencolmcille, where a Beastie can dip his paws in the Atlantic if the mood takes him.
Paddling on Glencolmcille Beach - CrawCrafts BeastiesMind you, it’s not all sunshine and sand dunes here. Sometimes it can be a bit on the breezy side…
Windy Out Today! CrawCrafts Beasties… And the traffic is terrible.
Rush Hour, Glencolmcille - CrawCrafts BeastiesAll this would really give you an appetite. Lunchtime! Conveniently enough, we’re just passing through Ardara… Nancy’s Bar here does a cracking lunch, and a very tasty homemade cider.

Also, you feel like you’re hanging out in someone’s cosy living room.
Nancy's Dresser - Spot the Beastie! CrawCrafts BeastiesAlright, time to head north! And because we’re travelling by blog, we can enjoy two sunsets at two different locations. First, Fanad Head, where there’s a beautiful lighthouse to admire…
Can we reach the Lighthouse? CrawCrafts Beasties… And rocks to scramble over.
Explorer Beastie by the Sea, Fanad Head - CrawCrafts BeastiesNext, we can journey to the northernmost point of the island of Ireland – Malin Head.
Malin Head Viewpoint - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen we can cruise by the wide sandy beach at Five Finger Strand…
Explorer Beastie on Five Finger Strand - CrawCrafts Beasties… Before catching the last of the daylight on our way home.
Explorer Beastie at Sunset - CrawCrafts BeastiesDon’t forget to leave a rock monster behind to show we were here!
Rock Monster in Donegal - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd once we get home, we can warm up by the fire and swap adventuring stories.
Warming up by the fire - CrawCrafts BeastiesAaaaah! Toasty.

So, where would you next like to take a road trip to? Be sure to share your travelling daydreams with us in the comments!

Strangers in a Strange Land

It’s been a while since we heard from intrepid globetrotting Beasties Paddy and Plunkett, hasn’t it? And now I’m beginning to think there might be a good reason for that… Take a look at their most recent set of holiday snaps and you’ll see what I mean!

What a weird, alien landscape… Are they even still on Earth?
Paddy, Plunkett and some Crazy Rock Towers - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Paddy, look at these – they go on for miles!”
Unusual Rock Towers - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesOf course, Plunkett was in his element – a field full of precariously-balanced rock towers? YES PLEASE!
Investigating the Rock Towers - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut then Paddy spotted something else off in the distance, and he just had to climb down for a closer peek.
Paddy's Off Exploring Again! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Hey! Plunkett! Check it out…”
Paddy Discovers Rock Pools - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“…ROCK POOLS!”
Paddy at the Water's Edge - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd they were absolutely teeming with wildlife…
Sea Anemone and Hermit Crab - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties…Including this sea anemone, hermit crabs and one rather luxuriant sea slug!
Sea Slug - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy could quite happily have watched this fellow grazing away on the rich pastures of underwater algae all day, but Plunkett was a little less keen…
Plunkett's Take on Sea Life - H crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesSorry, Plunkett! I promise we’ll stick to rocks next time!

What’s the strangest creature you’ve ever found at the beach? Let us know in the comments!

Oh, and be sure to join us again on Friday… I’m doing an extra bonus post this week to share photos from the day trip Explorer Beastie and I took to Ireland’s northernmost point! See you then!

Helen's Bay Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett’s Seaside Adventure!

Paddy on the Rocks - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Autumn may be in full swing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a day by the sea! And this isn’t any old seaside – Paddy and Plunkett took a day trip to my childhood stomping grounds, where I spent many happy hours (at all times of the year) clambering over the stones and poking around in rock pools. Come and see for yourself!

Our tour starts at the local railway station. Getting here from Belfast only takes about half an hour, and then it’s just a short walk to the beach!
Plunkett at Helen's Bay Station - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
See?
Helen's Bay Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Plunkett’s certainly enjoying the view!
Plunkett at the Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
The next stop if you carry on along the coast is Crawfordsburn Country Park. Formerly a private house and grounds, the park is now open to the public year-round, and is great for walking, cycling and picnics! It’s also home to all kinds of wildlife, since it contains a variety of different habitats – you’ll find seashore, woodlands and meadows here. Paddy and Plunkett bumped into a couple of the local residents at the Countryside Centre when they dropped in for a quick cup of tea!
Paddy and Plunkett meet a Friendly Fox - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy Hugs a Hedgehog - YEOWCH! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Since it was such a lovely sunny day (we’ve really been enjoying some very un-Irish weather these last few weeks), the boys decided to carry on walking. There’s a coastal route that takes you all the way around to Bangor, a seaside town which was a popular local holiday destination back in the day. Of course, there’s a proper human-sized path you can use to get there, but the lads thought it would be more fun to take the scenic route…
Paddy and Plunkett Take the Scenic Route - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Much later (they do only have little short legs, after all) they arrived at journey’s end! They resisted the urge to set sail on one of the swan boats at Pickie Fun Park…
Plunkett Considers a Voyage by Swan Boat - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
… But they were really kicking themselves when they found out that
they could have done part of their travelling on the Beastie-sized Pickie Puffer train!
Paddy, Missing the Train - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Oh well, at least they still had time to enjoy the walled garden at Bangor Castle before they had to head for home!
Plunkett at the Walled Garden - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPlunkett in the Flowerbeds at Bangor Castle - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

All in all, a great day out! Where was your favourite childhood haunt?

Mystery Solved!

Explorer Beastie Sunbathing on a Cactus

Hurrah! Thanks to an eagle-eyed Beastie fan on my Facebook page, I’ve been able to trace Explorer Beastie to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands! No wonder he’s looking so relaxed!

You know, I had always written Lanzarote off as an island of packed beaches and sprawling resort hotels, and I have to say that I’m surprised by what Explorer Beastie has found on his travels. It looks like he has definitely strayed from the beaten track…
Explorer Beastie on Path

…and discovered everything from crystal clear rock pools…
Rock Pool

… to prickly cactus trees…
Cactus Tree

… to out-of-the-way wine bodegas.
Beastie Bodega

He also seems to have had no trouble finding quiet beaches there, either…
Deserted Beach

… which he can claim all for himself!
Explorer Beastie on Black Sand Beach

All the same, I hope he comes home soon. I need someone to accompany me to the new Muppets film.

See you next time… I have some freshly-hatched Beasties for you to meet!