Many’s a person has to muster some courage to cross this famous rope bridge, dangling some 30 m above the waters of the Atlantic Ocean lapping at the cliffs below.

But, if those people knew something of the past of this area, they would realise that this is far from the most dangerous time to be visiting. For, if by some means, they could travel back around 90 million years, they would be standing on the edge of an ancient volcanic crater. And instead of gazing down to the blue-green waters gently lapping below, they’d be staring into the mouth of hell itself.

The resolute dark gray basalt rock has stood against the relentless erosion of the sea as best it could. But the compacted ash that filled the vent could put up very little resistance to the waves, and the gap across which the rope bridge now stretches was slowly worn away.

Just one word of advice though: if someone you know is struggling a bit to pluck up the guts to cross, better not metion this to them. They’ve enough to be contending with…

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, Co. Antrim