Having done the North Down Coastal Path starting at Cultra (cheating, I know), I decided to do the next leg, starting at Helen’s Bay.

I had anticipated that I would have to wait until October or November when I was offloading Annual Leave to get an opportunity to do so.

Instead, I made the most of an unexpected Public Holiday to do this leg.

I had a lie-in and got the train at 9.05am, and then made my way to the starting point at Helen’s Bay Beach.

It seemed that I had underestimated the distance from the Train Station, taking just under twenty minutes.

Although, when I made my way back to the Train Station on my way home, there appeared to be a signed shortcut. Will have to check that out next time.

As a result of it taking so long to get to the starting point, I decided to change my plan for 1 hour and then going back, to 45 minutes out and then going back. Although my curiosity made just over 50 minutes out and then back.

The weather was kind. It was dry, always a good start. It started off dull and then brightened up as I went along.

Helen’s Bay was full of dogs and swimmers, but no dogs swimming.

The noise of the sea, was very calming and soothing. A gentle soundtrack to a gentle walk.

Eventually, I turned back at Stricklands Glen.

I didn’t go into Stricklands Glen, but it has awakened my curiosity.

I’m definitely going to check it out at some point.

A quick internet search suggests that it is only a short walk from Bangor West Train Station.

I sense a plan developing. Now, if Linfield were to draw Ards or Bangor away in the Irish Cup.

Having walked back to Helen’s Bay Train Station, unaware of the train times. They were every half hour so I knew I wouldn’t have long to wait.

A train arrived as I was approaching, which meant I had to run to catch it. Not what I needed after all that walking.

It was an enjoyable day and I was hoping it would be even more enjoyable as I hoped to head to Lisnabreeny Hill for some Sunset photos.

Well, not quite. The skies were dark and dull, so I didn’t bother.

Probably for the best considering how sore my feet were.

Photo Album

North Down Coastal Path – June 2021

North Down Coastal Path – July 2022


I hadn’t been in a while, so I thought i’d use a football free Saturday to make a long awaited return visit to Giant’s Ring, at Sunrise.

Ok, well, just after Sunrise.

With the recent wave of decent Sunrises and Sunsets, I thought i’d go for it and drag myself out of bed.

My last visit to Giant’s Ring wasn’t an enjoyable one, in June 2021.

It was very untidy and unkempt, stingy nettles all over the place.

Not particularly nice, especially when it was shorts weather.

Other walks took priority, but such a negative impression meant that Giant’s Ring never came into consideration.

Fifteen months on, I thought i’d give it another try.

Arriving as the sun was rising, I was straight out with my camera, getting shots as I made my way across the field towards the path that leads to Terrace Hill Garden.

My photos were added by having some light frost on the ground.

The good news is, that Sunrises are going to be later and later over the next few months, so there’s more chance of catching some more.

I did my usual route, starting off at Giant’s Ring, then to Terrace Hill Gardens, on to Minnowburn then finally through Edenderry back to Giant’s Ring.

As the sun had just risen, there was a lovely glow on the grass, making for perfect shooting conditions.

It might just be me, but I seem to enjoy Giant’s Ring more in the Winter.

At some point over the next few months, I intend to make a return visit, but in reverse, starting at Minnowburn then working my way to Giant’s Ring.

Ideally, this would be at Sunrise or Sunset. We shall see.

Photo Album

Giant’s Ring March 2021

Giant’s Ring January 2021


I really hope this new kit, as wonderful as it is, isn’t going to be a jinx, as Linfield blew a 1-0 lead for the second successive season. Just like in November 2021, it leaves them with a bit of work to do in the title race, but no need to panic.

It could and should have been so much better. Defeats in their last two games had seen Crusaders slip out of two cup competitions. A third in a row could have seen any hopes of the League title slip away, even at this early stage.

The three points in the bag puts them very much back in the race, as well as the damage to Linfield as Glentoran and Cliftonville were now being presented with an opportunity to pull clear.

No surprises in Linfield’s starting eleven, but the subs made for interesting reading with a lot of attacking options and not much defensive cover.

It was an even start, with both sides having attacking moments but no real opportunities, although Crusaders were getting slightly further into Linfield’s third than Linfield were getting into Crusaders third.

Linfield weren’t really helping themselves with some sloppy passing, giving the ball away far too easily.

Eventually, Linfield began to flex their attacking muscle when a quick counter-attacking move saw Robbie McDaid put the ball over on the stretch from a few yards out.

During various stages of the attack, it might have been better for Joel Cooper or Kirk Millar to shoot instead of passing, especially Millar.

A shot across the goalkeeper would surely have resulted in a goal.

McDaid would be denied again when he ran on to a through ball but his low shot under pressure was well saved.

Linfield were now putting on the pressure,but needed a goal to show for it.

Sam Roscoe was denied from a header as another chance went astray for Linfield.

No need to panic for Linfield at half-time with the score at 0-0.

I did think to myself that if Crusaders went 1-0 up, there would be no need to panic as Linfield were more than capable of getting the goals to win the game, and that if Linfield could get 1-0 up, there would be no way Crusaders would be able to come back.

Spoiler alert, that observation would turn out to be spectacularly off the mark.

The second-half started perfectly for Linfield, with a goal inside the opening minutes, just as against Moyola Park three days previously.

Just as against Ballymena (twice) it came from a cross from Stephen Fallon on the left hand side, who worked space for himself despite having two defenders for company, straight to Joel Cooper to hook the ball home from close range.

To describe it as a dream start to the second-half would be an understatement. Now to push on and wrap up the three points.

Well, not quite. Not only did Linfield disappear as an attacking force, Crusaders started to get back into the game and were denied when Jimmy Callacher had to block a goalbound shot after Chris Johns dropped a cross under pressure.

The reprieve didn’t last long with Philip Lowry finishing from close range after a corner that Linfield simply couldn’t clear. Crusaders always seemed to be one touch ahead of them.

All the good work at the start of the second-half was now undone.

Just fifteen minutes earlier, it was looking like a matter of how many Linfield would win by. Now you would have happily taken a draw.

Even at this early stage, it was obvious that changes in personnel were needed.

There were plenty of options to freshen things up front, while there was Jamie Mulgrew and/or Niall Quinn to freshen things up in midfield.

However, there was no activity from the away dugout.

As the personnel stayed the same, so did the flow of the match.

If you hoped that the Crusaders goal would waken Linfield up, it would turn out to be false hope.

Crusaders continued to be on top as they pushed for a winner.

It was Linfield who had the next big chance of the game when a Jimmy Callacher header from a corner was agonisingly saved.

With just under ten minutes to go, Crusaders took the lead, and it was a self inflicted blow from Linfield.
Stephen Fallon lost possession and the cross from the resulting attack was scuffed into the net by Jordan Forsythe to put Crusaders 2-1 up.

The goal had been coming.

Eventually, Linfield made some changes, a bit late, you could say, bringing on every striker they could find.

As a result, Linfield had no shape, and were basically just hitting and hoping.

In fact, it was Crusaders who looked most likely to score when they countered.

For the second successive season, Linfield threw away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at Seaview.

This was three points thrown away, against a side who was there for the taking, before the match and during the game.

Crusaders had went into this game without a win in three, including losing their last two games, exiting two cup competitions.

We could have killed off their season, now it has breathed new life into it.

Two defeats already and a game in hand to play, Linfield are having to make up a lot of lost ground.

It’s not an impossible task though.

Hopefully, a traffic jam at the top will distract Linfield’s rivals and present an opportunity to blast through it.

Although getting into the Top 6 would be a start, as they sit in 7th.

Win the game in hand and it’s up to 4th, only four points off the top.

When Linfield lost at Seaview last season, Cliftonville had threatened to pull away as they did in the Winter of 2012-2013.

Linfield beat them the following week, reeled them back in, and used it as a launchpad for a run of results that sent them top for the first time in the season, where they (apart from a few weeks in February) stayed there.

It’s not Cliftonville they need to overhaul, it’s Glentoran. There’ll be an opportunity to reel them in a few weeks time, we’ve got two opportunities to get points on the board by then,

That game will be Linfield’s first home match in nearly two months. We’ll be needing directions to Windsor Park by then.

Should have been at home to Larne on the Tuesday after this, but it was postponed due to International Call-Ups, having been originally postponed due to clashing with Linfield’s European games.

Then the match at home to Cliftonville the weekend after this, but that match has been postponed due to both clubs playing in the Scottish Challenge Cup.

Unfortunately, i’ll be going to Northern Ireland v Kosovo so will miss Linfield’s trip to Buckie Thistle.

Plus, it’s an absolute nightmare to get to, the logistics might have defeated me anyway.

Fingers crossed we get a win and a favourable draw in the next round.

This is now the second of three away defeats in the League.

We’d better sort out the away form, as we’re slap bang in the middle of nine away games in a row in all competitions.

Photo Album


I’ve never seen so many trees at a football ground in my life. A very scenic view of my first visit to Mill Meadow to see Linfield get a win that was a lot more comfortable than people were expecting at half-time.

I don’t usually bother with League Cup ties, but a chance to visit a ground i’d never been to before was too good to turn down.

With a trip to Crusaders in the League three days away, it was unsurprising that David Healy made some changes.

It was more a case of who wasn’t starting, with Chris Johns, Chris Shields, Matthew Clarke, Jamie Mulgrew and Stephen Fallon all watching as the match kicked-off.

Linfield took a while to get going. They were always a little bit short in attack if you know what I mean.

Passes were either too long or too short. There was no real attacking fluidity.

That was never going to last though, with this much of the ball, Linfield were always going to get a chance and make it count.

Kirk Millar almost made it 1-0 when his shot flashed wide of the post.

Eetu Vertainen was almost presented with an opportunity when Moyola’s keeper kicked the ball straight at him, hitting him in the chest, but was denied at the expense of a corner as he looked to make the most of his mixed fortunes.

Chris McKee was denied by a last gasp slide as it looked like he was going to be played through, then was denied again when he headed home, only to see it chalked off for an infringement.

Linfield were having a lot of the ball but not creating many clear chances. There was no real panic but Moyola Park were having a lot of set pieces.

All it needed was for one of them to get lucky, and we could have another Queen’s.

Eventually, Linfield got the lead when a cross from Kirk Millar was volleyed home from close range by Niall Quinn.

Still a bit of work to do, the game was far from won, but a lead that was more than welcome.

It didn’t last long though, as Moyola Park responded immediately.

Straight from kick-off, they worked themselves into a shooting position, with Jake McNeill eventually hooking the ball home from the save.

Having taken a hold of the game, Linfield had given it up straight away.

There was not a similar response from Linfield.

Again, Moyola Park had a few set pieces.

I am usually worried whenever the opposition have the ball, no matter where it is.

In truth, the set pieces didn’t really worry Linfield, but you are still always worried that one might get lucky.

A match that was already tricky didn’t need to become even more trickier.

As the half neared it’s end, Linfield got a vital second breakthrough, if that is even football terminology.

Kirk Millar got on the end of a ball in behind Moyola Park’s defence, before the onrushing keeper to put the ball into the net.

Both players were injured in the collision, but were able to continue.

There would still be a bit of work for Linfield to do in order to see the game off, but they would have a better starting point to do so in the second-half.

I think the theme of the half-time chat was to try and get an early goal in the second-half to kill the game off, as that is what happened inside the opening minutes of the half.

A headed clearance from a free-kick fell perfectly for Andrew Clarke to fire home to make it 3-1.

Not quite the name in the hat for the next round, but near enough.

Just don’t do anything stupid like conceding a goal to make it 3-2 and give Moyola Park any form of encouragement.

It looked like that 4th goal was going to come when Eetu Vertainen capitalised on a mix-up in defence to hook it goalwards, only to be denied by a goal line clearance, which fell to Chris McKee, who hit the post from the rebound.

The last thing that Moyola Park needed to see was some of Linfield’s big name subs making an appearance, as Joel Cooper came on to get that elusive 4th goal, the closest they came after the 3rd goal was an effort from Andrew Clarke that went over the bar.

It eventually came when Eetu Vertainen was played in and made no mistake with a low finish. It was one of those, you were celebrating as soon as he got the ball as you knew there would be only one outcome.

Game won, time to relax, but there was still time for a 5th goal for Linfield when Ethan Devine crossed low for Robbie McDaid to finish in off the post.

I actually thought it was an own goal, hitting a defender on the way in.

Nope, TV replays proved me wrong. I think I might need to go to Specsavers.

A bit dicey in the first-half, but the two goals in a couple of minutes either side of the break ultimately made it a comfortable night for Linfield.

Mill Meadow is easy to find and is handy for watching football. They even had a barbecue on.

I even had a wee nosy in their bar, which was surprisingly quiet.

The draw for the next round handed another away trip for Linfield, to Dundela.

Easy to get to ground and should be a good night. Linfield usually played a pre-season game there in recent years, but not since 2020.

I wasn’t at that game, so this will be my first trip to see Linfield there since 2019, although I did go to see Dundela take on Queen’s University in 2020, my first football match in the flesh for seven months due to you know what. I really just wanted to go to a football match.

Even though they are in The Championship, it is potentially tricky, especially as they set up this tie by beating Crusaders.

A good omen is that the last two meetings (both in the County Antrim Shield) were 5-0 to Linfield with the added bonus of a hat-trick (Peter Thompson, Niall Quinn) for a Linfield player.

That would be greedy, just a win would do, by any score.

Photo Album


It’s much more fun winning in the rain than losing in the sun.

After recent bumps internationally and domestically, Linfield got themselves back on track with an emphatic win on a wet day in Ballymena.

The end result might see them lie 5th in the table, but in a position to pounce if others slip up.

With August being an emotionally and physically demanding month balancing domestic and international ambitions, a midweek without a game allowed an opportunity to clear heads and gather focus.

Europe is gone for this season, but that is the aim again, and the only way you get into Europe is through your domestic results.

With a postponement and a defeat since their last League win, Linfield had a bit of catching up to do.

They’ve been there before, in 2019.

They responded to that European exit with a clean sweep of wins in September.

Linfield went about repeating that with some decent build-up play, spending a lot of time in Ballymena’s final third, but with no real end product.

It felt like they were trying to scored the perfect goal. Taking too many touches.

Ballymena were concerned by getting the ball in by any means.

It looked like they were looking for an opportunity to shoot from long range as soon as it was possible, or to win a set piece and try and get lucky that way.

Linfield weren’t even giving them that opportunity.

One thing you don’t do at Ballymena Showgrounds is give the home side a lead to defend, especially with the vast wilderness behind the goal and lack of Ballboys.

You won’t be restarting the game for a while when you need time to be on your side.

Time was on Linfield’s side as they looked to take a lead. Joel Cooper had a shot from the edge of the box tipped over.

A neat passing move didn’t get the goal it deserved as Stephen Fallon lunged for the ball on the stretch, his effort going over.

Despite their dominance, it did look like it was going to take a moment of inspiration or a mistake for Linfield to open the scoring.

It turned out to be a mistake.

As the half neared it’s end, it was Cooper who gave Linfield the lead when a header back to Sean O’Neill was too short, Cooper finding himself through on goal, no time to think, just to put it in the net.

0-0 at half-time wouldn’t have been a disaster, you would still have been confident of Linfield winning, but this was a very welcome development.

Linfield definitely needed that goal. A second before half-time would have been just as welcome.

That was probably me being greedy, but that is Linfield delivered as injury time approached. Don’t ask, don’t get.

Stephen Fallon worked his way into a crossing position on the left hand side, hesitancy in Ballymena’s defence meant the ball fell to Kirk Millar who smashed it home.

A solid half for Linfield. No drama, just working towards getting the three points.

It was unsurprising that Ballymena would have some sort of response at the start of the second-half.

When I say “response”, it was having some of the ball in Linfield’s half though there was no real danger of a goal.

I am the sort who worries about conceding when the opposition have the ball, even if the keeper has the ball in his hands on his own goal line. A third goal would be nice just to be sure.

For some reason, I had though at some point over the last ten years, Linfield would have blown a 2-0 lead at Ballymena.

It just sounds like something that is believable. We have blown 1-0 leads a few times.

Nope, I was just worrying too much. A few scares, with 3-2 wins after being 2-0 and 3-1 up in 2014 and 2020.

There was a 2-2 draw after being 2-0 up at home in 2013. Thankfully, I missed that game due to having a weekend away in London.

It never looked like being a repeat of that at any point.

Joel Cooper was unable to get on the end of a cross as Linfield searched for a third goal.

They would soon have an opportunity for that third when a penalty was awarded for a handball.

Penalty misses, still a sore point for Linfield fans.

Not on this occasion, as Chris Shields slotted the ball home to secure the three points.

I say that with confidence at this point. Ballymena didn’t even look like getting one, nevermind three.

Soon after, another Stephen Fallon run down the left set up a goal, with Robbie McDaid getting a long awaited first goal for Linfield.

The goal got the biggest cheer of the afternoon, a bigger cheer than a goal to go 4-0 up in a routine victory usually gets. Linfield fans were with him after a difficult start.

Although, it’s worth pointing out, that Linfield have played eight games against teams better than what they face domestically.

There had been no faulting his performances, workrate or effort so far.

Now the first goal has come, hopefully, more will follow.

McDaid and Linfield both kickstarting their 2022-2023 season in style.

A special mention for Stephen Fallon’s two assists as well.

There was another similar incident while it was 0-0 that didn’t result in a goal.

Unsurprisingly, the game meandered with the result beyond doubt.

Linfield took the opportunity to make some changes and brought on a lot of strikers.

Their presence didn’t result in a fifth goal that would have added some extra gloss to an already impressive afternoon.

One real attacking moment for each side, with Jimmy Callacher blocking a shot and Chris McKee being denied.

It was a weekend where there were no shock results.

The table is already taking shape with the Top 6 pulling away from the rest, so far beating the Bottom 6.

Well, with one exception. Fuck sake Linfield.

Although, I don’t think Linfield will be the only Top 6 team to slip up against Carrick this season.

An enjoyable away trip for Linfield. They’d better get used to them.

This was the second of three in a row. Then after the home match against Glenavon, was scheduled to be five in a row, but a rescheduled home match against Larne just announced breaks that up slightly.

One away trip i’m planning is Moyola Park in the League Cup. I’m looking forward to it, i’ve never been there.

Unfortunately, I won’t be going to Buckie Thistle away as i’ve already purchased a ticket for Northern Ireland v Kosovo the same day.

Even without that, it’s not the easiest place in Scotland to get to.

It is a tie we should be winning though.

No trip to Florence though in midweek to follow this.

Still not over it yet.

Photo Album


Got a little treat for ya. A hillwalk, but at night.

I’d planned on making the most of the three day weekend by doing a hat-trick of Cavehill, Blackhead Path and Lisnabreeny Hill ,as I hadn’t been to either of them for a while.

It was dull on Monday morning, so I headed out for a cycle instead.

Naturally, as I was out, it started to brighten up.

I was thinking to myself that this is good weather for photography.

On a weekday, I wouldn’t usually go out for a hillwalk in the evening.

In the Summer, i’d be out on the bike after work and in the Winter, i’d just go for a local walk. I’m not walking up a hill in the dark.

However, it was a Bank Holiday Monday, so I decided to take advantage of not being in work.

I had a check beforehand and the Sunset was scheduled for 8.22pm.

So, I left the house after 7pm, arriving at the shops at Four Winds around 7.35pm to park my car.

It turned out I had underestimated the walk from Four Winds to the start of Lisnabreeny Hill, getting there around 7.50pm.

By then, the Sunset was already in full swing.

I managed to get some nice photos at ground level, but I did have a sense of frustration that I had missed the best of it.

My plan was to go the the halfway point where there is a bench.

I wasn’t planning to sit down there, but it is the point where the best views of Belfast are.

In the end, I had mixed results.

I’m not usually out to get Sunset photos, so it was all trial and error.

Unfortunately, it was more error.

A lesson learnt, the next time I head to Lisnabreeny Hill to get Sunset photos, i’ll pop out a bit earlier.

Elsewhere, i’ve been informed that the bridge in Cregagh Glen has been fixed.

That means when i’m doing non Sunset related adventures in this area, I can cover the whole trail.

Photo Album

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – April 2022

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – July 2021

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – April 2021

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – August 2020