Surfs Up… on the North Coast!

This is the best time of year for fresh air and all that lovely drizzle that keeps everything in the Northern Irish countryside lush and green. Our city guy Ken Adams, took time away from the big smoke to explore the surroundings of The Surfers Shack in Ballycastle

Just a scenic drive along the winding country roads of the North Coast, Ballycastle, and you’ll find yourself in one of the most unexpected little hideaways. Do you ever get the urge to just get away from it all? Welcome to the Surfers Shack!

Owned by Joshua McArthur, the Surfers Shack and his other accommodation, Pod by the Pond, are fast becoming the sought after dwellings in the area from travellers who want to escape the clean lines and technology of the modern world.

The Surfers Shack is a converted shipping container that abuts a barn and overlooks rolling green fields. One deep breath after a summer shower and you’ll feel all your ails disappear. It’s difficult to find a niche to force the shack into – It’s not a self catering accommodation, but its not glamping either, it’s a little bubble of its own and its remarkably wonderful, rustic and cosy enough to make you wish you were staying just that little bit longer.

As you walk beneath the corrugated porch, past the terracotta wood chiminea where you can sit in the evening with your feet up at the table and chairs at the blaze looking out into the dusky country side, you can let yourself into the shack.

The first thing that you’ll be greeted with is comfortable warmth and the faint smell of wood.

Aptly decorated to match the name, the shack had been thoughtfully finished with a nautical theme – surf board suspended from the ceiling and even a wooden oar that had been cleverly crafted into a hook rack. The large window allows the natural light to flood in and gives another perspective of the peaceful surroundings. Everything you need for a ‘give my head peace’ break is confined in that wee cabin. Table and chairs, kettle and cups, glasses and crockery, (even a little tipple of wine and water were left out for an added touch of ‘chill out and put your feet up’. The double bed… The REAL double bed, is inviting enough for a traveller to hope it rains a little too hard to venture out!

When you get to a certain age, one of the questions never far from your mind is ‘where’s the bathroom?’ Ah, just in keeping with the feel, the ablution block is just next door, in a sort of an ‘outdoor/indoor’ arrangement that was very quirky. Corrugated plastic and metal and hessian sack created a real authentic beach feel. Not only did it look great, but, most importantly, it was very functional! It even had a washing machine and a gloriously hot shower (that I have to say, was very refreshing to step out of in the morning when the fresh outdoor chill slaps you on the bottom as you stretch for the towel).

The Surfers Shack really falls under the umbrella term ‘idyllic’, and it really is just that. It’s not a hotel, it’s rustic and full of charm, not the sort of accommodation if you’re waiting on a complimentary dressing gown and slippers… It’s where you go to breathe, relax, enjoy the solitude of country life.

Ballycastle town is just a short drive away, so if complete isolation isn’t what you had hoped for, there’s no trouble in finding lots and lots to do.

One of the hidden gems of the area has to be Kinbane Castle (or what’s left of it). Not for the faint of heart, its quite a steep set of steps downward that seem three times as steep on the way back up – but if your knees will in anyway permit the trek, it is worth the effort.

The views are spectacular, look out over Rathlin Island as the seals swim close to the land to have a look to see who’s about and listen to the rushing waterfalls flowing into the ocean. A beautiful spot for a picnic.

You will notice, on the lower pathway, just at the foot of the castle ruins, there are many little rock stacks. They are so lovely, I decided to build one and leave my mark myself – it was only on the way back up the steep steps I grew nervous that I may have left some sort of alter to a fertility god or some other such thing and that my inadvertent request might be met and there be many a question to answer thereafter!

Yes. I enjoyed this hideaway very much. Thank you for your wonderfully kind hospitality Josh… You’re doing a sterling job. I would not hesitate to recommend The Surfers Shack to anyone! If you hurry, you can book The Surfers Shack through AirBnB!