Today, as you may know is a public holiday here in NI. We spent the day as a family, doing a few things we have done before, but a few we haven't.
1) Watching Chicken Little. The first time we watched this film, and hopefully, for me anyhow, the last! Very poor.
2) Walking round the resovoir. We live down the road from the local resovoir, and I have been aware that there is a nice walk around it, but have never done it. So today we decided to try it, and it was great! A lovely country walk, through a forest / hilltop setting.
3) Castlerock beach at low tide. Normally we walk on the East side of the beach, as the West side is water and cliffs, but today the tide was completely out, the lowest tide I remember, so we walked on the sand round the foot of the cliffs. This was amazing, to get right out round to a place normally well covered in dangerous waters.
4) Downhill beach at low tide. Having noticed Castlerocks low tide we decided to do the same at Downhill. When we arrived we got to walk away out round the cliffs there too, far further than is normally possible due to the water.
5) Trim Trail, and "The Cutts." By this time it was late afternoon, and we had not yet eaten. We popped into "Gareths" and picked up some suitably unhealthy chips and burgers which we decided to take to the Trim Trail to eat. After the kids had spent an age playing at the token park we walked across the road to "The Cutts," which is where the famous salmon leap is. This is a place where the Bann river drops about 10 feet in a short distance, regulated by a series of sluce gates. We had a walk around the lock gates, but we all felt uneasy because of the kids and the deep water :(. Anyway, that was another first for today.
6) I managed to trick SWMBO into visiting the 12th Day parades. We managed to get parked close to the end of the parade route, and so we got to see the tired Orangemen make their last few steps towards their buses. I think its fair to say we had a fine experience, and will certainly be going back next year for more ;)
7) Almost got drowned. Well, not me but Billy, a friend of the family from way back. The Story from the beginning : So we headed to the beach with the kayaks as is usual, and Dad told me that Billy may be there. When we arrived we saw that the placid, gentle waves we saw eariler had been replaced by huge monster waves, the like of which I believe have never before been seen (by mankind). We got unloaded, and down to the water, and sure enough Billy was there, raring to go. Out Billy and I headed, he was determined to go out far, I was determined not to fall in. He was getting on well, going out, coming in, and with a bit of swapping boats, I ended up in the water with my camera, with Billy and Dad in the boats. I popped out of the water, and the next thing I saw was an upside down kayak near the rocks, Dad paddling into the shore, and Billy nowhere to be seen. So I parked my camera on the rocks, and ran to see what was going on, but having no lifejacket I was very reluctant to get involved. I got the abandoned boats up onto the rocks, and went to see what was happening. By this time a crowd had gathered on the rocks, and by the time I arrived Billy had made it out of the water. Apparently he had been pulled by the current out round the rocks, and wasnt making any headway swimming ashore. He quickly disgarded his paddle, and used the waves to swim to the rocks, where he grabbed hold and climbed out. Shortly after this we gathered up, and packed the boats away for home. Thankfully Billy is safe and sound, and unbelievably interested to know when we're going again! See pictures at http://picasaweb.google.com/simonmcc/20060712BeachKayak
An exciting, and interesting day.