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Carrick-a-Rede crane replaced after being washed away in storm

Published 05/07/2016

Work being done to replace a crane to lift a fishing boat from the water on to the rocky Carrick-a-Rede island (National Trust/PA)
Work being done to replace a crane to lift a fishing boat from the water on to the rocky Carrick-a-Rede island (National Trust/PA)

A century-old crane washed away in a winter storm two years ago has been replaced on Northern Ireland's North Coast.

The machine was used to lift a fishing boat from the water onto the rocky Carrick-a-Rede island and underpinned the fishing industry there.

The National Trust commissioned new equipment to help preserve local heritage after the timber of the old apparatus disappeared into the sea.

Frank Devlin, countryside manager for the Causeway Coast and Glens, designed the new development.

He said: "It was like a giant Meccano set.

"I just had to follow the instructions in my head which was easy for me to do, but might have posed a bit of a challenge for the other rangers working on the project."

Carrick-a-Rede was a working fishery from the 1700s until early 2000s and had a crane on the island for at least 100 years prior to its destruction in 2014.

Mr Devlin added: " It was probably as much old age as anything else. The lower part came loose and got swept away."

The vessel could not be left on the sea while landing fish as it would have been dashed against the rocks during swells and storms. It was hoisted ashore and docked on dry land.

The crane is a large wooden apparatus fixed to the cliff-face at Carrick-a-Rede island and a hand-powered winch was used to lift and lower a fishing boat.

Mr Devlin said: "The crane is integral to the fishery.

"There's no other way to land fish on the island. It would be complicated and impractical to row a boat back to Ballintoy every day."

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