Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Exploring the Cavehill and Cavehill Country Park - Part 2

McArts Fort Cavehill BelfastAfter a long walk and a picnic with a view, which is where we left off after part 1.  I was left with the question of how to find my way down the Cavehill. Jumping seemed the quickest way, but I fancied staying alive and wasn't in any rush.

The day was still young but my legs were tired. I wanted to see as much as I could. So I decided to head North and then once I've seen what there is to see, cut back on myself and take in the rest of the country park.

With my right ankle already aching, I was wondering how it might hold out. Looking out over the moor and with a pretty view out to sea still in my eye line, my heart ruled my head and I set off for as long as it was going to take.

Upland Heath on the Cavehill Belfast

Here is the view I found looking towards Mallusk, Glengormley, Carnmoney and the rest of Newtownabbey.

Newtownabbey and Glengormly from the Cavehill

Distracted and with my head in the clouds as usual (though this time almost literally), I was soon heading downhill, but perhaps a little too quickly. It dawned on me just in time, well, just in time to prevent another uphill struggle. I turned around promptly and hiked back past McArts Fort and this time headed South.

Parts of the city that were out of sight before were now in view and up on the hill behind the moorland was the not so scenic view of landfill machinery.

Divis Hills from Cavehill Belfast

Landfill Skyline on the Cavehill

Where the North Side of the hill was battered by a relentless wind, the South side was calmer, the upland heath turned to flowering bushes and the trees stopped looking like the heads of models from those odd looking generic styling gel adverts.

The path was a steady decline which headed West as the path takes you around the site of an quarry.

The Limestone quarry on the south face of the Cave Hill was in operation between the 1840 and 1862, closing 8 years before Belfast Castle was built. Many of you may have heard of the Limestone Road in North Belfast, well this road was named after the route of the horse drawn gravity railway that took the limestone to the port from the quarry.

Quarry patchwork148 years later and the area has been populated with a variety of flora and fauna. Seemingly sheltered here by the hills and also south facing so bathed in what sun Belfast does see, it was quite a sight. A lovely place to take a walk. A tight and uneven path meanders through an almost wilderness of flowering bushes. The quarry sides were a patchwork of plants. Bees and song birds combined with the tranquil sound of running water provided by a small brook to provide a natural soundtrack to the walk.

I could have stayed there a lot longer than I did but with my ankle feeling a little weak on the uneven terrain and not wanting to tempt the bee's into making me move on by force, I kept a brisk pace.

Path through bushes in Cavehill Country Park

I never knew this place existed and it almost was like walking into wonderland. After the end of the Quarry faded away behind the flowers, the flowers in turn turned back into the sort of woodland found on the East slope around the castle. The ferns and bluebells were everywhere under the towering trees above.

Woodland canopy in Cavehill Country Park Belfast

I didn't have far to go now and as I popped out on to the path close to the car park, I felt slightly sad to only have pavement, cars and well mown grass to look at.

The trip back towards the Shore Road was downhill but it still took a lot longer to walk. Almost out of energy at this point, I only just had enough left in me to notice two more things. One was that houses in the area had far too many intercom systems. I mean how does the postman deliver the mail to those places without taking a week to make it down the street? The other was the remains of a pigeon being fought over by a crow and a seagull - the gull won if you were wondering.

Crow, Seagull and corpse

These sightings were a little random but it didn't matter, I was tired but happy having done something fun that I'd wanted to do since the day I first saw the Cavehill. I had a small sense of satisfaction and some good memories too. All in all a great morning and apart from the slightly unsafe aspect of the trip, one I'd recommend anyone who can, to go ahead and experience too.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    I love the cavehiil. It one of my favorite spots for a walk.





Related Posts with Thumbnails