No football to go to, or even to sit in the house and listen to. Bike has a flat tyre. Might as well go for a walk.
This time, I chose Giant’s Ring, Minnowburn and Terrace Hill Garden as a trio. I’ve done them all individually, but I might as well do all three in one go.
Especially so, since I left this off my list of walks to do whenever I was off over Christmas.
I was up early, planning on being there for Sunrise. However, my plans were thwarted by the length of time my car took to defrost. Where I live, I get the extremities of weather. Nice in the Summer, not so nice in the Winter.
Arriving around 9am, I was greeted by lots of daylight, always good for photos, and frost on the ground. That, and a heavily grassy area, was a perfect combination for photos. Now to go out and get them.
I started off at Giant’s Ring, walking along the mound (I know I could have taken a shortcut through the field) to the gate that leads to the path, following the signage for Gilchrist Bridge, which led me into Minnowburn.
Having explored Minnowburn, it was back towards the Car Park at Minnowburn. It was cold, but the temptation of a cup of tea from the mobile cafe parked there could wait.
Next for me, was Minnowburn Beeches. I’d never been that way before, so I wanted to explore that.
Previous visits meant that I knew my way about, and where the gates were and went to. This route led me to Giant’s Ring Road, but there was a gate not too far away, so I headed through it towards Terrace Hill Garden.
Even though it was cold, I was surprised to have the place to myself. The frost and the sunshine was perfect for phototaking.
When I walked up Lisnabreeny Hill last month, there were quite a few Robins. I would be frustrated in my attempts to photograph them as they flew away whenever I tried to get a photo.
There were plenty of Robins about. I was mostly frustrated in my attempts to photograph a Robin, though I did have a small amount of success.
From there, I headed back to my starting point at Giant’s Ring, but not before a brief detour at Edenderry. The frost covered hill made for some good photos.
That was, when I wasn’t having to swerve to avoid being run over by a child on a sleigh.
To balance out the bad, there was a good when I had a dog climbing over me when walking back.
The rest of my walk was uneventful, the early start meaning I covered it while avoiding the crowds, which were starting to get bigger as I left in mid morning.
I had the idea of heading to Belvoir Park Forest on the Sunday with my bike still out of action.
A combination of sleeping in, and dull weather meant I decided to give that a miss and just go walking around Belfast instead. If you can’t get any decent photos, it’s a wasted journey. I can go again later in the month, it’s not as if i’ll be spending any of the upcoming Saturdays watching football.
At some point in January, I will be planning to make my monthly visit to Blackmountain. As with all my previous visits to Blackmountain, i’ll go early in the morning as soon as possible, especially as the PSNI are blocking Divis Road (usually around lunchtime to early afternoon) due to the sizes.
January is usually a time when people are looking and booking holidays for the Summer. Usually. Remember those days?
It is usually a peak time for launching Travelogues on TV, and there was at least three of them about Cornwall courtesy of Rick Stein, Julia Bradbury and Susan Calman.
Naturally, I was looking up things to do and places to see (you’d have to fly from Dublin though) because I have nothing better to do.
Talking of Julia Bradbury, I enjoyed watching Britain’s 100 Best Walks (co-presented with Ore Obuda) on ITV on New Year’s Day. I’ve ticked off two of them (Cavehill and Arthur’s Seat).
I think it was a repeat (I obviously missed the original broadcast) as it talked about 2020 in the future tense when covering one of them and makes absolutely no reference to the current situation.
I’ve also enjoyed on TV last week, Winter Walks on BBC Four where a different person each episode goes on a walk through the countryside guiding the viewer through it. There’s more to BBC Four than Top Of The Pops repeats and music documentaries.
Next weekend, should have been the Holiday World Show. Unsurprisingly, that is not happening. Having been bitten by the walking bug now, I would have been getting brochures and booklets from those that offer those sort of trips.
Unfortunately, I won’t be venturing much further than Greater Belfast for the next while.
Whenever I went through the photos, I was really pleased at how some of them turned up. Even though the conditions were perfect for shooting, it really pleased me and perked me up seeing how some of the photos turned out.