What is now a fun tourist attraction in Northern Ireland near the town of Ballentoy used to be the means of getting to a very important salmon fishery for a hundred fishermen. When first erected the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge was simply a thick rope spanning the 60 feet between ridges and 1,000 feet in the air. The fishermen would carry their equipment over in the morning and the fish they caught back in the evening, going hand over hand. The distant island serves as a breakwater for the ocean waves from the Atlantic. We could see large waves crashing the rocks on one side of the island, but calm waters for the fishermen to string their nets on the other. This point is no longer used by the fishermen as the Atlantic Salmon is on the endangered species list. A salmon fisherman’s house still on the island is shown in the picture below, click the ‘continue reading’ button below to see it.
I was the first to cross this bridge two days in a row. The gatekeeper to the bridge arrives, assesses the wind speed and takes the first walk across the bridge for the day, inspecting the ropes. He or she will then call back to the main gate and advise that all is well. Warm sunny calm days can be the worst days for the gatekeeper. Some people will venture across when the wind is calm and the weather is sunny. But by the time they wish to return, the bridge is swinging wildly in the strong shifting winds and it may be raining, making the boards appear slick. The gatekeeper then must to go out on the bridge and coax the person back, sometimes not speaking the same language as the frightened tourist. Not a good day at the office.
For a fun experience if you have nothing but time on your hands, watch the video below on a mobile phone while walking. You get the real sensation of actually crossing the bridge.