Sunday morning saw absolutely terrible weather, windy enough to have a named storm (I’ve lost track of the names over the last week or so!), and with incessant rain. I took the rare decision to give hill walking a miss for the day, but as the weather forecast hinted at some improvement in the evening, I decided to go for a drive to Fanad lighthouse. I was hoping for nice sunset light, with still stormy seas. It didn’t turn out as I hoped, but I did get a couple of images I was fairly happy with.
I was trying to time it to arrive at the lighthouse for sunset, and the weather was promising on the way down, and as the day progressed the rain did stop occasionally and there were glimpses of blue sky.
Clearing skies as I drove along the eastern side of the Fanad Peninsula, looking across Lough Swilly to Inishowen.
I had plenty to time to I thought I would also stop at the high viewing point overlooking the stunning Ballymastocker Beach at Portsalon. By the time I arrived at the lay by high above the beach, the rain had started in earnest again, and the views were obscured.
Foiled by the rain as I sat in the car overlooking Ballymastocker Beach.
I knew I had plenty of time left to get to the lighthouse by sunset, so I decided to wait it out, as it was the kind of evening where it would suddenly clear up, and ferocious hail storms would give way to bright sunshine, and vice versa, quickly and often. My patience paid off, as half an hour later, the sky overhead cleared, and the beach below was bathed in golden evening sun.
Ballymastocker Beach, once voted the second best beach in the world!
Also from the viewing point, with stormy skies still in evidence over Dunaff Head in Inishowen.
Driving down closer to sea level, I stopped again for another couple of views alongside the beach.
Dropping down closer to the beach.
It wasn’t far along the coast to the lighthouse and I arrived in good time for a sunset which sadly didn’t materialise. The clouds closed over again accompanied by some very heavy hail showers, but I wasn’t too disappointed, having got the shots of the beach. During a break in the hail, just after the invisible sun would have sank below the horizon, I dashed out of the car for a couple of long exposures of the lighthouse and choppy seas in the failing light. Although it wasn’t the light I had hoped for, I was surprisingly happy with the results.
Fanad Lighthouse as darkness fell.
One last shot, which I was pleased with despite the missing sunset.
As I stepped into the car, the heavens opened with some of the heaviest hail I’ve ever seen, and in the darkness, there was nothing for it but to head for home. I was glad to have salvaged something on a day when I hadn’t managed to get out for a hike.