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  • Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    The Giant's Causeway

    I woke, packed up, and said goodbye to another great campsite on Northern Ireland's northern coast.

    I've never seen any animal so incapable of containing his excitement. It didn't matter that there was a man attached to the other end of his lease. He'd still run at the waves, leap into the air to crash into them, only to be yanked back before ever reaching them. Then he'd dart the other direction as far as he could, get choked, then run back to the waves for another failed attempt. If I could bottle that enthusiasm, I'd never be able to hold a job again.
      
    The Causeway Coast Way got me off the roads and onto the cliff tops...

    ...with the most beautiful views in Northern Ireland.

    Next on the Causeway Coast Way was a place I looked forward to seeing ever since I decided to hike across Ireland and the UK, The Giant's Causeway
    The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. I love science and geology, but in this case, I'd rather talk about the mythology and how Giant's Causeway may have gotten its name.
    One version of the story is that the giant Finn MacCool, from Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner.
     
    Since he was Finn F'ing MacCool, he accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel to Scotland, so they could meet. Even though Finn MacCool has the most badass name ever to grace thine ears, the size of Benandonner scared him...

    So Finn and his wife came up with another plan. They disguised Finn as their baby and tucked him into a cradle. When Benandonner saw the size of the baby, he figured its father Finn, must be a giant among giants, so fled back to Scotland, destroying the causeway behind him, so Finn couldn't follow.

    The ancient lava flow that created the causeway, formed when Ireland and Scotland were still connected, so there are identical basalt columns across the North Channel in Scotland. And so the legend was born.

    After leaving the Giant's Causeway behind me, I needed to rejoin the Causeway Coast Way back on the cliff tops. I wasn't happy to see the path had been closed due to a mudslide that took out a section of trail.

    So I hopped the fences. I'm a backpacker, not a backtracker.