Gobbins closed as storm repairs continue

The iconic tubular bridge at the Gobbins cliff path.  INLT 33-682-CON
The iconic tubular bridge at the Gobbins cliff path. INLT 33-682-CON

One of Mid and East Antrim Council’s top tourist attractions was closed over the Easter break as storm repairs continue.

The Gobbins cliff path, which reopened to the public in August last year after a £7.5m revamp, was damaged during bad weather in December.

“Council is working closely with the contractor to progress repairs to The Gobbins access pathways and whilst these continue, the attraction remains closed,” a spokesperson for MEAC said.

“The path was closed on December 30, due to damage sustained as a result of high levels of rainfall and storms. To date we have had to cancel approximately 390 bookings across January and February, with over 150 of these customers rebooking for a later date.

“The Gobbins undertakes regular reviews of the area and a geotechnical engineer’s report carried out indicated that there was a substantial land slip occurring, affecting the lower end of the main concrete access pathway and the first section of the main gravel pathway. It is advised that land slips, such as this, are common in the North Antrim coast area because of the geology of the area. They are caused when a sloping area of soil becomes saturated by water ingress and loses its internal cohesions and/or adherence to the underlying rock which allows it to slide.

“Work has commenced to put in place a new drainage system that will help manage this and repairs of the main access pathways will commence as soon as possible,” the spokesperson added.

“A recent report commissioned by council has confirmed that the resultant landslip and damage to the access paths was caused by the severe weather conditions and was unforeseeable.

“Health and safety inspections of The Gobbins cliff path are a standard feature of the operating procedures and are carried out every morning prior to it being opened to the public, ensuring health and safety is never at risk.”

The local government authority denied claims of a dispute with contractors, adding: “The council will make a further statement on the agreed opening date in the weeks ahead. The visitor centre remains open to visitors who wish to explore the interpretation area.”