CAVEHILL – FEBRUARY 2020

As it was Leap Year’s Day, I though I would do something memorable. Might as well, seeing as it’s a day that only comes around every four years, especially as it won’t fall on a Saturday until 2048.

I might make this a thing from now on. It will fall on a Thursday in 2024, so it might be a (long) weekend away. I’ve got four years to book it, so no rush.

This, like my only previous visit to Cavehill, was postponed from my intended date due to the weather. My original plan was to walk it two weeks previously, but I decided to leave it because of the weather when it was raining, raining and then raining some more.

That day, was a football free Saturday due to Linfield not being involved in the League Cup Final. I was going to Ash at HMV that afternoon that afternoon, so this would filled up the morning.

In future years, I might actually make a walk up Cavehill on the morning of the League Cup Final an annual event. Even if Linfield are involved, it will be a teatime or evening kick-off, so there won’t be a danger of a clash.

I can actually see Cavehill from my desk at work, and have noticed over the post few weeks it being snow covered during the recent cold spell. I’ve also done some work at work in case you’ve been wondering.

That cold spell hasn’t put off Jake O’Kane, who regularly posts videos of his walks up Cavehill, incuding one of those days when it was covered in snow. Watching the videos of the snow was tempting me.

Weather would be a dominating issue of this walk. Rain originally delayed it, and the Leap Year’s Day walk would be dependent on Storm Jorge.

There was no sign of Jorge when I woke up, off to a good start. Thankfully, the rain didn’t make a single appearance on Saturday morning.

I did plan on being up there for sunset, but ha ha ha ha, you didn’t really expect that to happen.

From where I live, I’ve got a clear run to North Belfast, especially when the traffic was light as it was, which enabled me to get there at the relatively early time of 8.30am.

I’d had plenty of practice leading up to this walk, as one of the lifts in work were buggered all week, meaning I had to walk up four flights of stairs every morning.

I also did more practical preparation by layering up. I’d need to as it would be a bit chilly.

As I was going to a football match that afternoon, my last visit was timebound. This one was not, meaning I had more time to explore more of Cavehill.

Of course, I observed the unwritten rule of saying “Hello” to everybody I walked past, even if it made me sound like Shaughan McGuigan off View From The Terrace.

Something that I didn’t notice the last time I walked up is that you can see Solitude and Windsor Park from Cavehill. At the same time. Just adding that to the list of football grounds I’ve seen from hills after seeing Easter Road from Arthur’s Seat. I’m not sure what other grounds are visible from hills, apart from Brann Stadion in Bergen. I only know that from watching Travel Man.

My legs were sore the further I went up, but I managed to push through it and reach McArt’s Fort.

The last time I reached McArt’s Fort, I turned around, but with time on my hands I carried walking on for another ten minutes or so, on a downward curve.

When I reached McArt’s Fort again, I went in for a look about.

It was very windy. So windy in fact, that my hat was almost blowing away. I decided to walk about with caution for fear of being blown away and appearing on Weird News Websites in a story about a man who was blown off a hill.

I was able to get some photos on McArt’s Fort. Thankfully, after dropping some batteries on my way up. An incredible act of stupidity. Amazingly, I found them on the way down, and they work. My batteries still had enough juice in them when I got to McArt’s Fort.

From there, I headed down, passing dogs (all 13/10s, good doggies) and cyclists. I do love a cycle, but i’m not sure i’d fancy cycling up Cavehill.

I can’t help but feel that I’ve got more of Cavehill to explore, which i’ll definitely do on my future visits.

I’ve got the bug for hillwalking. I’ll be spending some time in Bray taking in a Euro 2020 game (well, tickets permitting) so i’ll definitely be walking up Bray Head ..… all the way this time after my visit there last year.

BBC Four to blame for this, i’m currently indulging on Yorkshire Walks, The Pennine Way and Extreme Wales (Well, that’s BBC 2)

In August, I plan on being in Edinburgh, and going up Arthur’s Seat again. And yes, early in the morning again.

Next on my hitlist, is Blackmountain/Divis. As soon as I work out how to get there.

Maybe at some point in the future, do a long weekend at a United game in March/April, and do some of the Peak District.

That will probably be me for Cavehill in 2020, but you never know.

Photo Album

Cavehill – November 2019

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