But we can't start with a finale. Let's rewind.
There weren't many positives about the Covid lockdown but perhaps the enforced break from daily routine and an increased appreciation of outdoor life were two. Walks became the daily treat in our house, especially after the introduction of Buddy, our family dog. Day to day life though has a habit of dragging you back in and as lockdown fades from memory, so too did some of the more positive routine changes with the old 9 to 5 regaining its grip on the Wilson household.
The remedy? Well, have you ever heard of the 'Oddball Effect'?
Bear with me here. Without deep diving the science, the 'Oddball Effect' basically states that giving someone's brain something new to process (ie, a new experience) will make it seem like time lasts longer. For example, try something different over a weekend and suddenly two days feel like five!
I can testify it works, but I had help; major help. Step forward Tourist NI's 'Embrace Change Autumn Campaign' which managed to make a week out of my weekend.
It's to my eternal shame that I've been on this earth over 48 years and the north coast remained a relatively undiscovered land to me. But a couple of emails and calls to my Tourist NI contact, Nuala, soon had me all set to change that.
The base from which I was going to begin 'embracing change' was a real gem; The Bushmills Inn. We fell in love with it almost immediately. Located only a few minutes from both the Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a rede Rope Bridge, everything about the Bushmills Inn was quality. Superb room, superb staff (special mention to Yvonne for showing us the secret library and the 30 seater private cinema and being generally wonderful with us) and the best meal I've eaten in years. There was no down side. Loved it.
Somewhat reluctantly leaving this northern nirvana early on Saturday we headed for our first port of call, Carrick-a-Rede, courtesy of The National Trust. Thankfully Tourism NI had also organised some of the best November weather in living memory for an attraction I'd filed under 'Must Do' many years ago but never got round to visiting.
Arriving early, Billy was a welcoming font of useful information about the history of the place and I'm glad to say it was a picturesque test passed (although divorce lawyers were almost called when my wife, Deborah, decided to shake the bridge!). The bridge is brilliant fun but Carrick-a-Rede is more than just a two minute crossing, especially on a day like Saturday. You can spend hours marvelling at the scenery and taking in the panoramic views. I know we did.
And just around the corner is Ballintoy harbour, another stunning location which, like much of the north coast, has a distinctive 'Game of Thrones' vibe hiding around every corner. We had no plan to stay so long but our quick visit turned into a breathtaking three hour walk along the coast as what was supposed to be a couple of hours at the rope bridge turned into six of the best which made me curse the fact it took me almost 50 years to visit.
With our steps for the day well and truly covered, Ballygally Castle Hotel was the perfect location to recover and unwind. Steeped in history, the original castle dates back to the 17th century with a tragic story of love, death and betrayal that can be discovered in the 'Ghost Room' at the top of the tower if you dare!
The hotel itself is the epitome of modern luxury and ideal to rest our happy but weary limbs for another early start on Sunday and a real change of pace.
Neither Deborah nor myself have much artistic flair so eyebrows were raised at the suggestion of a visit to Heather McFadden's Silversmith experience at Gobbins Crafts, part of Discover NI's 'Embrace the Giant Spirit' brand. The eyebrows were unfounded! Heather was as welcoming as she was talented, and proved a patient teacher (even supplying delicious home baked treats baked by her son, Kai!).
The class itself was fascinating and it was easy to see why it proves so popular. In fact, with Christmas just round the corner it could be just the ideal way to solve that old ‘What to get them conundrum?’ The couple of hours flew in, and I'm pleased to report that after much shaping, soldering, polishing and laughing we each had a lovely silver ring to show for our efforts, as well as a beaming sense of achievement. Thanks Heather!
And just around the corner from Heather's Islandmagee base was The Gobbins. With Storm Debi arriving at roughly the same time we did, I had my doubts we would even be allowed on the dramatic coastal walk which first opened in 1902, the brainchild of local engineer Berkley Deane Wise. It had since fallen into disrepair only to be brought back to life by Mid and East Antrim Council who have turned it into one of the north's biggest tourist attractions.
And it didn't disappoint! Sunday's rough sea made for a walk as dramatic as it was wet but we loved it. The only downside was Storm Debi's increasing wrath meant we were unable to complete the full walk despite the best efforts of our brilliant guide, Roberta. It's an experience I'd like to return to in order to complete.
So little over 48 hours after leaving basecamp, our north coast adventure was over but in true 'oddball' style it had felt more like a week, and we had barely scratched the surface of the possibilities on offer on our own doorstep. If you don't believe me just visit discovernorthernireland.com to see for yourself. The list is endless.
And please, don't be like me. Don't wait years to discover what’s right in front of us. Embrace the Change this Autumn and stretch out your free time. This Causeway convert is certainly glad he did.
To embrace change this autumn visit discovernorthernireland.com to plan your perfect itinerary. For a great range of short break value offers visit discovernorthernireland.com/special-offers.