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


If January and February was a non event, March wasn’t much better.

In the middle of the month, I headed to Cavehill for my monthly visit there as there was nothing else to do.

I managed to explore more of it than I usually do, getting photos of the pathway that leads to Hightown Road, having not visited there before.

Two weeks later, at the end of the month, I headed to Giant’s Ring to wander around the triangle of that, Minnowburn and Terrace Hill Gardens, getting photos along the way, making the most of it being a nice morning.


Cavehill Photo Album

Giant’s Ring/MinnowBurn/Terrace Hill Garden

Giant’s Ring/Minnowburn/Terrace Hill Garden Photo Album


It had been a while since my last visit to Giant’s Ring, so I thought I might as well make a return visit, seeing as there’s not much else to do. 

That last visit, in early January, was really enjoyable, helped by the weather. It was freezing, but it was nice and bright and made for some good photos.

I was glad to report, that the weather was the same for this visit, for which I arrived just after 8am in order to avoid crowds.

You may have seen Giant’s Ring on the news recently, with a feature on Newsline on the Thursday before about littering at beauty spots in Northern Ireland.

Seriously folks, don’t be trampy. Put it in a bin, and if there are no bins, take it home with you and dispose of it.

Thankfully, there wasn’t the amount of rubbish lying about as there was in that news report.

As I got out of my car, I had a look across Belfast and could see sprinkles of snow at Blackmountain and Cavehill. 

There wasn’t a lot of people about. Those that were out and about were usually accompanied by a dog.

One particular dog kept coming over to me with a ball in it’s mouth, almost as if it was wanting me to take it out and throw it away for them to chase.

The triangle of Giant’s Ring, Minnowburn and Terrace Hill Garden isn’t too hard to navigate and can be easily covered.

There isn’t much I haven’t covered, but I did manage a detour on my way back from Minnowburn through a field I haven’t been through before.

That ended up taking me to Terrace Hill Garden. I didn’t plan on going there, but as I was there, it would have been rude not to get some photos. 

Whilst walking from Giant’s Ring to Minnowburn, I encountered some cows standing about in a field enjoying the sunshine. 

I even took a detour to Edenderry Nature Reserve to see what it was like. 

While walking along the bridge at Minnowburn, I noticed a carving in the stone saying “H. Burns 1955”. I doubt they would have believed it would still be there 66 years later.

As I returned towards my car, the weather started to get duller, so it looked like I timed my visit perfectly.

With the nights getting longer, I’ll be able to get out on my bike after work, freeing up Saturday mornings for hiking.

At the moment, I’ll just be doing Cavehill, Belvoir Park Forest, Giant’s Ring and Lisnabreeny Hill on a rotating basis.

Photo Album

Giant’s Ring/Minnowburn/Terrace Hill Garden – January 2021

Minnowburn – November 2020

Giant’s Ring – September 2020


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.

Photo Album

Minnowburn – November 2020

Giant’s Ring – September 2020


It took a while for a photo adventure in November, a week of Annual Leave in the middle of the month saw me take an afternoon stroll to Minnowburn after the morning stroll got rained off. 

The next day, it was dry and bright, so I made an early morning journey for my now monthly visit to Cavehill.

There was also a very wet visit to Blackmountain. 

That was sandwiched inbetween two football matches, Linfield’s home matches against Glenavon and Glentoran.

My only photo adventure so far in December was a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts.

Unfortunately, there will be no Boxing Day game against Glentoran this year.

I have a bit of time off over Christmas, and I plan on using it to explore the great outdoors with Cavehill, Blackmountain, Lisnabreeny Hill and Belvoir Park Forest on my hitlist, weather permitting. So keep an eye out for that.

Talking of weather, i’ve always got an eye out for snow. Doesn’t even look like that will happen.

So, 2021, what is planned?

Well, I have tickets for concerts (Paul Weller, Doves, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Ash, Lightning Seedsm Beabadoobee) but who knows when they will be?

I do hope to walk up Bray Head, and visit Mourne Mountains and Arthur’s Seat. I also hope to go to football matches on a regular basis.

Seriously people, can you all start behaving yourselves so that I can go places and take photos of things again?


Minnowburn Photo Album


Cavehill Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

Blackmountain Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts


Having recently visited Giant’s Ring and Terrace Hill Garden in recent months, it was only natural that I would complete the set by visiting Minnowburn.

As I said when visiting Terrace Hill Garden, I only visited the entrance to Minnowburn, I was curious to delve in and explore it the next opportunity I got.

I decided to use my monthly week off (This is what happens when you have a backlog of Annual Leave) to do so.

My day didn’t go to plan at first.

I did check the Weather Forecast, and it said it would be raining on Wednesday morning. I woke up, looked out the window and saw that it was nice and dry. However, while I was having my breakfast, a rainstorm started.

Thankfully, I wasn’t up and out by that time.

Change of plan then, out in the car to do some shopping and errands, a brightening up in late morning meant that I was now getting primed and ready to head out after lunch.

By the time I arrived, I had a lot of daylight to work with, which made for some nice photos.

As I was walking along the path, I thought to myself that this looked familiar. Then it dawned on me that this is where I walked when exploring Giant’s Ring, which led me to Gilchrist Bridge, heading in that direction via a detour through Edenderry Nature Reserve.

Naturally, I headed back from Gilchrist Bridge. Once I got back to the Car Park, I went to explore the road that went in the other direction.

And explored it, and explored it. A quick Google search of a business I spotted revealed it was Edenderry Park. As it was getting dark and wet, I headed back to where I was parked.

That was, until there was a sudden and spectacular explosion of daylight, so I stopped to try and get as many photos of it as I could on my way back to the car. I would have preferred it if that happened when I was walking to and from Gilchrist Bridge.

I managed to accidentally plan my journey home to perfection. Just before the rush hour of people coming home from work, and just after the schools closed.

The triangle of Minnowburn, Giant’s Ring and Terrace Hill Garden are well worth a visit. If you really want to, you can take a few hours and explore it all in one go.

Nearby, I was hoping to get stuck into Belvior Forest Park when I have some time off over Christmas.

However, my bike suddenly became out of action, so I headed over the weekend after and had a walk about. I didn’t have my camera with me. The weather was dull so the photos wouldn’t have been good anyway.

I had an enjoyable walk, and had six different dogs climbing over me to get a hug. I like this place. I’ll definitely make plans to return with my camera in December.

With each of my previous extended periods of time off, I was planning on keeping an eye out of any last minute deals for a trip away somewhere.

That was never going to happen in this November time off. Binevenagh and Bray Head will have to wait until 2021.

The same applies to Arthur’s Seat with Scotland not getting much better, ruling out any possibility of sneaking away to Edinburgh. Even with the possibility of a vaccine in the early months of next year,  Fringe 2021 is still up in the air.

2021 will be the first year in a long time that I will wake up on New Year’s Day with no trips booked.

What I hope to do at some point is make a return visit to Old Trafford, especially as my last visit was a defeat.

If fans are allowed in toward the end of the season, I might look at sneaking off to the game against Leicester, scheduled for a midweek in May.

If I do, I’ll try to sneak in a trip to the Peak District. There are still a lot of things that need to fall in place for that to happen.

I might even get myself into gear and head to the Mournes. 

All I have for the rest of the year is the hope that there will be lots of snow in Belfast to photograph.

Photo Album

Giant’s Ring – September