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.
Before anyone asks, no, I didn’t see Pierce Brosnan.
I think i’m the only person in Greater Belfast who hasn’t had a photo taken with him, or got a selfie at Craigyhill Bonfire.
It had been a year since I was at North Down Coastal Path, so it was a welcome return.
I had been waiting for the right moment, but every day I want to go, the weather was dull.
Who wants to take photos of a dull sky? That would be a waste of time.
I’d planned to go on The 12th, get out of Belfast and have a bit of a quiet day.
It turned out that the much hyped heatwave didn’t arrive, so it was the bike instead for me.
I was up early enough to get out and back before things start.
Living near a Train Station, I might as well make the most of it.
I decided to try again on the Wednesday, and the weather was on my side.
When you have scenery this beautiful, you might as well capture it at it’s best.
Although, I was planning to go on the Mourne Rambler, but the timetable didn’t suit as i’d be rushing to get back to Belfast for the Linfield v TNS match.
Thankfully, the Linfield match was worth giving up hiking in The Mournes for.
That trip, all being well, will be at the start of August.
I have until the end of August to make the most of the bus being in operation.
After a relative lie-in, I got on the train (City Hospital Train Station was a bit of a mess after the previous day’s festivities. Seriously folks, how much effort does it take?), cheating a wee bit by jumping off at Cultra, two stops down the line from the starting point at Holywood.
There’s not much excitement inbetween the two, so I didn’t miss much.
My plan was to go out for an hour (I arrived there at 9.40am) and see where it takes me before going back. I ended up going out for slightly more than an hour, ended up at a junction where I could have walked up a path that would take me to Crawfordsburn Country Park.
Maybe some other day, as i’m curious to see what it is like.
Having headed out for one hour, it was time to take the one hour journey back to Cultra.
When I went last year, on the way back, I continued my walking into Holywood Town Centre, to do a quick tour of the Charity Shops and have a bit of lunch.
There would be no repeat, as I headed back to Cultra Train Station.
I didn’t have a look at the timetable but I knew that I surely wouldn’t have that long a wait for the next train.
As I arrived at the platform, my train was only two minutes away.
There needs to be a name for the phenomenon of arriving at a train station unaware of the timetable, and your train is only a couple of minutes away, but not close enough to panic, just take a leisurely stroll to the platform and have a short wait.
I had decided to give Holywood a miss as my feet were sore. The sore feet were worth it for such an enjoyable walk.
That meant I missed out on visiting The Cove, as endorsed by Pierce Brosnan, who recently visited it.
I’m usually indifferent on the whole Best Bond Ever debate, but I think I might now be swayed to have a favourite.
Although, if George Lazenby or Timothy Dalton make a visit to Empire Exchange in Manchester, I may have to reconsider that.
So, what are my plans for the coming weeks?
With Linfield having away trips to Newry and Carrick in August, I may be tempted to sneak in visits to Carlingford and Whitehead around those games.
I also intend on doing Cavehill and Lisnabreeny Hill, as well as my day trip on the Mourne Rambler before the football season starts up again.
June 2021 took a while to get going in terms of photo adventures, it wasn’t until the last three days of the month that I had one.
I was using up Annual Leave, so I took the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off at the end of the month. Well, those dates were booked off well in advance for a scheduled trip to Bray which eventually happened in August.
On the Monday morning, I headed to the North Down Coastal Path, cheating a bit by starting at Cultra, before taking the usual approach of walking for an hour and see where I end up.
If you care, it was Crawfordsburn according to the person I asked.
It was a beautiful sunny day on a route that is photo friendly, I was really happy with the results.
Just as I was the next day when I headed to Blackhead Path in Whitehead.
I’d read about it and put it on my To Do List, so I did it.
Again, a beautiful sunny day and picturesque settings made it a worthwhile visit and end to the month.
I should have going to Lansdowne Road that afternoon to try and blag a ticket for England v Germany, but a stroll in the sunshine in East Antrim was nice.