This was a walk I hadn’t done for a while, not all of it my own fault.
I did neglect Cregagh Glen for a while, focusing on other walks.
However, a few weeks back, I did attempt it, only to be met with the most inconvenient of things, a blocked off bridge.
So, I just turned around, headed home and went out on my bike instead.
A few weeks down, I had assumed that it would have been fixed, but no, it’s still blocked off.
Never fear, there are ways around it.
There is a pathway where you can bypass the bridge. Be warned that it can be a bit slippy slidey and a bit perilous in parts, so be paying full attention to your surroundings when walking that way.
Or, you can stride along the river. The water is very shallow and there are stones that you can walk on.
Of course, it can be a bit slippy slidey so make sure to pay full attention and be careful when striding across.
The sooner it gets fixed, the better.
I wasn’t prepared for another visit where I have to turnaround again, even though I would have had the option of a short drive to Belvoir Park Forest or a long overdue return to Minnowburn.
With four days off work, I was planning to take in a few hillwalks so I was looking at what I should do.
Having not visited Cregagh Glen for a while, this was going to be on my list.
I wanted to go when the weather was nice, so dull weather on Saturday and Sunday of my four day weekend meant they were going to be set aside for cycling.
So come Monday, a nice bright morning, off to Cregagh Glen I go.
I did have a slight lie-in, but arrived there just before 9am, the aim of being there when it was quiet.
It was very quiet. I barely saw anybody on the way up. I did see a few people on the way down, but not a lot thankfully.
The lack of people definitely boosted the ambience as far as I was concerned.
It was perfect walking up Lisnabreeny Hill, via a detour through the American War Cemetery* (*Not an actual cemetery). Peaceful, lots of daylight for taking photos, and that daylight was bringing out the colour in the trees and hedges.
Having been up Lisnabreeny Hill a few times, I knew where is good fortaking photos and getting shots, so I got to work.
Due to the bridge being out of use, the next time I go to Cregagh Glen, I might actually start from the National Trust Car Park on Church Road and walk down instead of starting from the dual carriageway off the Cregagh Road and working up.
It was always something I was wanting to do, just to be different, the bridge being out of use might just prompt me.
Rather enjoyable day out and productive use of some time off.
Weather getting better and hitting Bank Holiday Season, there might be some more.
July’s first Photo Adventure began with a trip to Cavehill over the July Holidays. I should have been in London, but with it still being a free for all regarding Covid. I decided to put that back to later in the year, so I had to make do with exploring what Northern Ireland had to offer.
I then went to a football match. By this point, going to a football match was still a novelty. It was one of two matches I took in this month, Linfield’s European matches against Zalgiris Vilnius and Borac Banja Luka.
Sandwiched inbetween those two football matches was a walk up Cregagh Glen and Lisnabreeny Hill.
Still using up Annual Leave, I then headed back to Blackhead Path at the end of the month, having visited there in late June.
The month ended with a trip to Bangor to check out some newly painted Street Art in the town.
Truth was, i’d set aside this particular Saturday morning to walk up Cregagh Glen and Lisnabreeny Hill, the weather was coincidental.
Having travelled up this route frequently over the past year, there’s nothing much else for me to explore.
I would say that this walk was uneventful, but it felt like I was getting attacked by bees every two minutes.
Up early, arriving around about 8.20am, there was barely anyone about, which was very convenient.
With the weather being nice, I knew I was going to get some decent shots, so I might as well go for it.
What struck me was how dark it felt it was in Cregagh Glen, the trees that hadn’t fallen (there were a lot that had that were lying about) blocking out the sunlight.
I also took a shortcut through the American War Cemetery on the way back.
There were cows on Lisnabreeny Hill as per usual, but they were too busy sunbathing to say hello to me.
So, that was my monthly trip to Cregagh Glen, hope you enjoy the photos.
This coming Friday, i’m off work (I habve to use up a certain amount of Annual Leave by the end of July) so i’ll be planning Colin Glen Forest Park (Hopefully, remembering my camera this time), North Down Coastal Path or Blackhead Path. We shall see.
I will be heading to North Down anyway in the next seven days, to go to a Vintage Market in Bangor and to get some Street Art photos of new murals that have appeared in the town.
It’s been a while since i’ve posted some Street Art photos, so i’ll just give you something to look forward to.
You may have noticed a lack of walking related posts this month. I can only apologise.
On the Bank Holiday Weekend at the start of the month, I gave it a miss as I knew everywhere I went would be rammed.
The following weekend, it was chucking it down with rain so it wasn’t really worth going anywhere.
I did walk up Cavehill on the weekend, but the weather was dull and didn’t get any decent photos, so it felt like a wasted trip.
Finally, on the fourth weekend of the month, I got out and was able to get some photos, heading to Cregagh Glen on Saturday, and then continuing my journey onto Lisnabreeny Hill.
I was up, awake and refreshed after the previous night’s escapades in Lurgan, arriving at my usual parking spot at 8.15am for the short walk to the entrance of Cregagh Glen.
It was a nice and sunny morning, which I used to my advantage.
Curiously, there was a lot of fallen trees about, causing me to have to limbo under one of the trees to get past.
For a change, I went and fully explored more of the American War Cemetery, getting more photos of it than usual.
It felt like a certainty, that once I reached the start of Lisnabreeny Hill, the weather turned dull, the photo quality taking a drop.
At that entrance, I had a welcome party waiting for me, as a group of cows starting staring at me through a hedge.
Long-term readers will have noticed I visit the same places on a rotating basis. I am trying to diversify and go somewhere different.
I have a lot of Annual Leave to use up, so i’ll be doing that in June and July. During that time, i’ll be hoping to make use of there being less people about on a weekday when I visit Blackhead Path in Whitehead (a first time for me), Colin Glen Forest Park (again, a first time for me) and my old favourite, Blackmountain.
Might as well start 2021 in style. Let’s face it, the first half of the year at least is going to be crap.
With time off over Christmas, i’d planned on doing three walks i’ve done regularly over the past nine months – Blackmountain, Cavehill and Cregagh Glen, as well as fully exploring a fourth trail – Belvoir Park Forest.
Cavehill was the first on the list, but the day I planned to do it, it was pissing down with rain, so I left it to a later date.
Then I went on other walks, then a few cycles, and it suddenly was saved for the last weekday off, Friday 1st January.
It was a bit tactical, as i’d checked the weather forecast and knew that this would be the best day for sunshine and daylight. It’s a bit of a waste to walk up Cavehill and not take photos.
I had hoped to be getting photos of the sunrise, but my bed was too comfy. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I was having a lovely sleep until some idiots decided to let off fireworks at midnight, and I had to reclaim what I lost.
It wasn’t a total lie-in, I managed to arrive just before 9am, there were some cars already in the Car Park.
I’m not aware if a New Year’s Day trek up Cavehill is a tradition, but I might make it one for me, we shall see in 2022. It was a lot busier than it had been on my previous visits, usually arriving at the same time, although my previous visits had been on working days.
It might be a new year, but I note that Belfast folk are still thick as shit. Seriously folks, how hard is it to walk on the left?
Don’t even start me on Joggers. Quite how 60 year old men with beer bellies decked head to to in lycra get the front to act Billy Big Balls, but sticking to the left also applies to you.
That observation on Joggers is more general than this trip. But seriously, stick to the left and give people going the other way room.
I cannot emphasise this enough, but I am not prepared to walk in front of a bus because somebody won’t give me room.
Despite missing the sunrise, there was lots of nice photo opportunities.
Most of the photos included frost and ice, justifying my decision to layer up.
It was very slippy and slidey on the way down. I had a few slides but no falls thankfully. I might phone up ITV to offer my services for Dancing On Ice.
So, that is my first walk of 2021 done, although technically, this should have been my December 2020 walk up Cavehill.
Whilst there is lockdown and nothing else (ie – no concerts or football matches) to do, I make as well make Cavehill a monthly visit, as well as Blackmountain. That will be the big two.
I’m also going to sneak in Lisnabreeny Hill, Belvoir Park Forest and Minnowburn/Giant’s Ring on a rotating basis. Travel restrictions mean i’ll have to stick to Greater Belfast.
There was a story in the media last week about Stormont issuing Travel Vouchers to people. Something that hasn’t been mentioned is that anybody who has been convicted of a breach of Coronavirus Regulations should not be in receipt of any vouchers, be it shopping or travel.
There’s no point in having a reward culture that doesn’t actually reward people for doing the right thing.
If there are Travel Vouchers, and the R Number significantly reduces, I may be tempted to do Derry for Binevenagh or Fermanagh for Cuilcagh Mountain Park.
Again, dependent on getting the R Number down, i’ll see about a day trip to Mourne Mountains in the Summer.
Usually in August, I go to Edinburgh. If I do go, i’ll plan to visit Arthur’s Seat.
If normality returns, I may do a four/five day trip to Manchester for a match, and take in Saddleworth Moor or Peak District. I’ve been having my eye on the Leicecter match in May, but being realistic, that won’t happen. It might be towards the end of the year, for a match in 2021-2022.
I’ve got a few days in Bray booked for the end of June, for a match in Euro 2021. Even if the football doesn’t happen, I may still take up the booking (I have late cancellation) and go up Bray Head.
I also have flights to Gatwick booked for July, with a hotel booked in London (again, later cancellation). If London falls through, i’ve got Brighton as my back-up. I’ve already looked up hikes in Brighton, and Devil’s Dyke will be on the itinerary if I have a late change and go to Brighton instead.
Just over a week earlier, on Christmas Eve, I headed to Belvoir Park Forest.
I know what you’re thinking, but it seems it’s called Belvoir Park Forest. I’d always thought it was called Belvoir Forest Park.
I’d planned to make a visit and get some photos when I was off at Christmas, but I did make a visit in November when my bike was out of action. I didn’t have my camera with me but I had a nice walk about and got ideas of places to shoot.
It wasn’t too long, as I had slept in that day and I wanted to get out before it got busy. And it did get busy too that morning. What struck me most was the number of Good Dogs there were. About six of them came to me for hugs and cuddles, so I had this place marked down as somewhere to make a return visit to.
There were still some Good Dogs on my return visit, not as many, mainly due to there being not as many people about compared to my last visit, which was late morning on a Sunday, although I was still greeted by some Good Dogs just after parking my car.
I had only briefly been to Belvoir Park Forest before, just a brief visit, so it was good to finally chance to properly check it out. I feel quite embarrassed that I have largely ignored something that was so close to me for so long.
As with all my walks, up early and out early, arriving there just before 9am. I would have been there earlier, but I had to nip off to the shops before I left to get some last minute groceries when the shops were empty.
Weather reports had promised daylight and dryness. It was dry, and there was some daylight, not the spectacular balls of light I was hoping for, but enough to work with.
It did give me some nice reflections in the water to work with an experiment with.
I just walked about, curiously wondering where each path went to, until I somehow ended up on the Belvoir Estate, beside the entrance to Belvoir Park Forest, walking back in, but this time turning left around the back of the RSPB Offices.
From there, I walked and snapped until I ended up in Lagan Towpath. After that, I headed back to the Car Park after an enjoyable morning walking, but there is still a lot more for me to explore. That will be remedied in the early months of 2021.
Two days before I went up Cavehill, I went up Cregagh Glen into Lisnabreeny Hill. I did it a few times in the Summer but hadn’t been back since.
I got there around 9am. It was very muddy, foggy and frosty, making for some interesting photos.
It was very quiet on the way up but a lot busier on the way down, with people making the most of being off.
On New Year’s Eve, I woke up and looked outside, excitedly observing the snow that had fallen overnight. It turned out to be rather underwhelming.
Some of the photos I got of Belvoir Park Forest, Lisnabreeny Hill and Snow were ok. I’ve posted the better ones onto Instagram, but they didn’t merit a blog post on their own. I’ve included the photo albums if you wish to view them.
So, first walk of 2021 done, hopefully plenty more to come. I’ve already outlined my plans, but sadly it all depends on how other people behave.
Seriously, walk on the left, keep your distance, don’t ram up people’s arses in shops because it doesn’t make the queue go quicker.
Unfortunately, due to the situation with Coronavirus, it was too big a risk to travel anywhere, so I decided to have a Staycation in Belfast when using up Annual Leave in the middle of the month, walking up hills North, East, South and West, as well as documenting Street Art on the Peace Wall.
Monday was spent at Cavehill. The weather was dull so the photos weren’t that good.
Tuesday was spent at Giant’s Ring, more daylight to work with and a lot better photos, as well as an enjoyable walk.
Wednesday was spent getting photos of Belfast Peace Wall, while on Thursday, I went to Lisnabreeny Hill, but like Cavehill, the weather was dull, so the photos didn’t come out as I hoped.
Friday was the best day of that week for weather and photos, so I headed to Blackmountain, and got lots of photos, travelling along the Ridge Trail this time, as my previous visit saw me head up Divis first.
Two days later saw the return of Hit The North, originally postponed due to Coronavirus and back in it’s original traditional slot of September having moved from it’s new traditional slot of May.
I was out on the day getting photos, and then was out the following week getting photos of the aftermath.