The day started badly.  The Holiday Inn Express I’d stayed in overnight (free with points) en route from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway was struggling for hot water.  My shower was brief and unpleasant.

They redeemed themselves by having added back bacon and mushrooms to their previously uninspiring, but always appreciated, breakfast.  The day was improving so I decided to change my plans again.  Rather than heading straight north I decided on east and Carrickfergus Castle.  This effectively meant that I’d stayed in the wrong location overnight but that didn’t really matter.

My useless sat nav wasted twenty minutes of my ever decreasing life expectancy by looping me around two roundabouts five miles apart and telling he to return back the way I’d just come, over and over.  I guessed an alternative and she eventually said “recalculating route”.  Sure enough, the coast and then the castle came into sight  and, as is customary in most of Northern Ireland, free parking made my short stop easy.

The castle quite an impressive structure from the outside and apparently saw action in World War Two, despite more ancient battles involving French, Scots and English.  I didn’t go inside but I could certainly understand why it has been used as a set in Games of Thrones.

And then I drove the north east coast of this lovely island.  As good as yesterday’s Mourne Coast was, this was better.  Quiet roads, stunning views of coast and countryside, numerous short stops to take it all in and all doable within a few hours and with minimal effort.

Cheap flights.  Cheap car hire and loads of different accomdation types make this a must do location for anybody who loves a wild coastline, driving on the left and being able to converse with the locals in something resembling English!

I crossed a rope bridge.  I had a pint of Guinness.  Then the Giant’s Causeway.  I waited for the National Trust people to go home so that I could avoid their £10.50 site fee.  They even charge this if you use their shop!  And the ten minute walk down the hill is a stunner on its own.

The Causeway itself is on my bucket list.  Ticked off today.  It was pretty much as I expected it to be and I walked across the stones.  Pondered the nonsense of the story that goes with it and failed to see Scotland in the distance.  I stared at the stones under my fee and was reminded of the 1980s teen quiz Blockbusters.  Who could forget the line “Can I have a P please Bob”.

This day had so much more.  Glorious weather.  Location after location.  And a remote bed and breakfast place to finish it off that’s an absolute steal.

When You Pick Up Your Hire Car and Do Something Completely Different to Plan A