The early morning skies at Portrush Harbour are still a rich and inky blue when you climb on board a fishing boat bound for the Atlantic Ocean. Catch and Sea guide Wendy is there to welcome you with a big smile and a very important message. “No pressure,” she says. “But no fish, no breakfast!”
The sight of the sun rising as you set off along the rugged waters of the Causeway Coastal Route is nothing short of breath-taking. Bold orange and yellow brushstrokes illuminate the sky, the warmth of the colours in contrast to the bracing sea winds which whip around you and ensure that – despite the early start - you are fully awake and energised. En route to catch your breakfast, you’ll spot some of the wildlife that inhabit the area: seals, cormorants, black rabbits, herring gulls and perhaps even a pod of dolphins – or, if you’re really lucky, a minke whale.
Then, amid the white limestone and black basalt, the imposing medieval remains of Dunluce Castle appear on the horizon. It is, Wendy notes, a ‘wow’ moment. Built around 1500, Dunluce Castle has a fascinating history and teeters on the cliffs (so close that the castle’s kitchen fell into the sea in a storm). You’ll hear local myths and legends, and see the mermaid’s cave under the castle.
“If walls could talk, you can only imagine what these ones would tell you,” Wendy says.
But enough reflection; it’s time for you to fish.
The boat’s crew are on hand as you carefully lower a line into the salty waters and wait to feel that urgent tug, then reel in your catch, most likely mackerel or pollock.
You fill big buckets with the best of it, scales glinting in the morning sun, before heading back to the harbour to eat. There, as you warm up with a hot coffee and discuss your trip, a local chef will prepare and cook your catch for you, serving it with some delicious locally sourced ingredients and flavours.
Breakfast doesn’t get fresher, tastier, or more rewarding, than this.
Price from £65pp.
Advance booking required.
Catch and Sea, Causeway Coast Foodie Tours, Co. Antrim.
80 minutes from Belfast by road.
Operates 7 days per week January to December.
On average a 4 hour experience.
Light refreshments provided on boat followed by hot breakfast served a 5-minute walk from pier.
Can cater for guests with restricted mobility.
English, French & Spanish.
Coach, minibus and car parking available.
For a comprehensive list of accommodation available across Northern Ireland visit discovernorthernireland.com
Fully guided experience.
Minimum age 4. Recommended to wear waterproof jacket and trousers, non-slip shoes, hat and gloves.
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