Well I am not in Ireland but walking in the delightful small village and area of Fingal Heads.
When it comes to odd facts, they don’t come much odder than the fact that this charming Tweed village was named after the mythical Celtic giant Fingal who reportedly built the famous Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.
The connection is that Tweed’s Fingal Head has its own Giant’s Causeway – a crescent-shaped mass of hexagonal columns formed when the lava flows from the ancient Tweed Volcano rapidly cooled in the ocean currents. This unique rock formation sits just below Fingal Lighthouse on the headland, reaching towards Cook Island.
This is my first outing in “The Car”. Though Fingal Head is only a 25 minute drive from home this is the first time I have been to explore it.
A sign pointing along a sandy track to the intriguingly named “Dreamtime Beach” entices me to follow it.
I can hear squeals and shrieks as I approach the end of the track.
4 bikini clad girls are frolicking in the surf. Now I must remind you that it is winter but the temperature is approximately 22C and obviously these girls do not think it is winter.
These two are exploring around the base of the rocks as I pass by and find another sandy track taking me round to the headland.
A bench is conveniently placed to rest awhile before following the steps up to the top of the headland.
The lighthouse is having a renovation. But look at how bright that blue sky is in contrast to the fresh white coat of paint.
From this headland there are glorious views of the ocean and along the beach. Being Saturday and such a perfect day I pass many other people also enjoying a day out.
Perfect picnic weather. I follow along the path. Gulls are swooping and gliding in the air currents. I stand for a while trying to catch a gull in flight. But it is impossible every photo is blurred.
As I round the corner I am amazed to peer over the edge and see this man fishing. The ocean is swelling and breaking in a frenzy of foam, threatening to sweep him off the precarious rock he is balanced on.
This is the Giants Causeway. The might of the ocean is crashing onto the rocks then sweeping through the narrow causeway. The sound and fury of the waves is awesome and this is a fine day, I wonder how it would be in a storm.
Fingal Head boasts some of the most spectacular examples of columnar jointing to be found in the whole of NSW. The local indigenous Goodjingburra clan’s name for Fingal Head is Booninybah – Home of the Giant Echidna: “Booniny” means Giant Echidna. The spectacular columns of Fingal Head resemble the spines of an echidna, and so the Goodjingburra believe that the spirit of the echidna inhabits the headland.
I sit on a rock for quite a while watching the ebb and flow of the waves and waiting to see if the fisher man will get swept off his rock. I have heard that rock fishing is classed as one of the most dangerous sports and a number of people are swept to their death every year. (While overall coastal drowning figures for NSW are significantly down from last year, for the first time rock fishing deaths have topped the list at 26.7%, making it the leading cause of all coastal drownings.)
This is looking north along Fingal Beach and I follow the track back through the bush.
From this beach I look back and see the fisher man is still on his rock.
It is lunch time and after seeing a number of families enjoying picnic lunches it was time to go back to the car for my lunch.
I smile as I follow along behind this couple walking hand in hand. They soon disappear as I stop to listen to the birds. Then I spot a couple of bush turkeys and stalk them trying to get a photo, but I’m having no luck with the bird photos today. So I take photos of some native flowers I see.
I have no idea what these flowers are. They look like red bluebells!
A park is on the other side of the red flowers BUT it is not the park I left “The Car” at. There are so many tracks going in all directions through the bush and I have not been taking any notice of the direction I was heading.
I am lost…
Fortunately it is not a large bush area. So I backtrack along the beach and eventually find where I came in. Phew, there is “The car”…
I decide to go back, in “The car” to the park of the red flowers as I had noticed picnic tables.
I packed a picnic lunch as I was not sure if I would find any where to eat in Fingal. It was pleasant, an ibis joined me.
And I was entertained by a mother and her 2 children as they examined an interesting wooden sculpture. Then played hide and seek. The little girl “hid” under a picnic table in full view, but Mum searched around for her and there was shrieks of laughter when she was “found”.
The Tweed River flowed along the other side of the park so after lunch I wandered over.
At last I caught some seagulls as they scattered before me.
This looks a much safer way to fish.
Almost time to head home, it has been a great day. Then I hear singing and a guitar playing.
I had to investigate. What an interesting place and live music too. The Sheoak Shack, this groovy café is located on the banks of the river, under the shade of a Sheoak Tree.
It was so laid back and a small table in the sun called to me. So I ordered cappuccino and carrot cake and listened to Guy Kachel serenading us.
This was the most delicious, moist carrot cake to end my day out with…
I would like you to come along with me on Jo’s Monday walks. She has a dedicated group of cyber walkers who share their wanderings with us each week. Go here to join them.