Monday, 27 July 2009

I'm famous... well sort of...

The promised update is coming, soon, until then here is the article the Belfast Telegraph circulated on last Fridays edition. Nearly a full page was given to my ugly face, must have been a slow day in the world of news. Only Joking, I'm very greatful for the publicity, cheers Bel Tel. Thankfully I'm not as scared of getting wet as the article suggests, achieving anything in N.I would be pretty impossible if it was the case. I would also like to point out that although I was travelling as light as I could, I had a couple more things in my pack than a stove, tent and sleeping bag, thats a bit too hardcore for my liking!

Click to enlarge, and read.

Thanks to Stephanie Bell for a great write up, hopefully I wont be getting sued over copywrite issues.

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Sunday, 26 July 2009

Ulster Way -Stay Tuned

Sorry for not getting this page updated more often, I have a terrible habit of destroying/losing phones and unfortunately my current one has suffered the same fate. Dropping it flat on its screen while fiddling with my compass did it no favors, and except for receiving calls its all but useless, as can be seen in the next photo. Unfortunately this ended mobile blogging while on my last week of the Ulster Way, good news is that the last couple days will receive a bit more attention now.

No, that isn't some cool graphics on the screen

A quick write up of the last week is on its way, a new slideshow may work its way out onto t'interweb as well and thereafter a thorough write up of the complete trip might appear. Until then heres a couple of recent photos

Stay tuned folks...

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Friday, 17 July 2009

Ulster Way - Nothing to see here

Just a very quick update as I have to hit the road! Wednesday saw some monsoon rain coming in to play, however thankfully a large tree saved me from getting totally drenched!

A rather large oak saved me from the worst of this.

The rain continued on and off but the evening brightened up, and after setting off from the other side of Killyleigh I ended up on this side of Comber in a wee picinic area with pleasant views of both Scrabo and the Strangford Lough.

Geting the food on the go

My pitch on Islandhill

Setting off from Islandhill took me up Scrabbo hill, through Newtownards and then into the leadmines park. Once passed through the leadmines and then passing Helen's tower I was on familiar ground and followed the tree lined paths and then Clandeyboye Avenue all the way home to Helen's Bay for a night in my own bed, and subsequently a unwanted lie in. I suppose there are worth things that could happen.

Scrabo Tower

Gotta get started, Up round to Belfast today, via the North Down coastal path and then Stormont. Better get cracking or it will be pretty late by the time I get finished.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A day of annoyances on the Ulster Way

It was back to Downpatrick today to get restarted after my couple days off. Translinks "journey planner" told me there would be a bus to take me to Downpatrick at 11, however obviously nobody told the drivers this as it was an hour before one showed up. By one o'clock I was in Downpatrick and set to start off again. I had decided to head back on myself and avoid walking on a main A road by crossing castle and hare island, which straddle the Strangford Lough.

Everything was good until hitting the far side of castle island, where Qouille sailing club have there premises. Private land and no entrance to mere Ulster Way pilgrims meant that, except for swimming the 800metres i needed to get to the other side of the Lough (no chance, never mind thinking about the rucksack) I was going to have to double back on myself all the way to Downpatrick and then start from scratch.

One was not in a good mood, however there was very little I could do about it. An hour later I walked past the little tag which is pictured. It just reminded me to laugh about it and have a sense of humour, could have been a lot worse especially if the weather had turned. Talking of which I don’t know who was doing the forecast, but except for a couple showers in the last hour, I haven’t seen the rain, the Weather God's must have taken pity on me.

A further 4 miles took me into Delamont Country Park, a place I know very well due to organising quite a few orienteering events there. It was nice to be on familiar ground, even if I could see across the Lough to where I had previously been a couple hours past, before having to make a major detour! Continuing on another mile took me to a Lough side road and with the weather looking like it was going to close in, it was time to find somewhere to throw the tent up and get the stove on. Progress for today has been rather irritating, I have roughly counted up a total of 15 miles walked since starting, however I am only just over 5 miles further on from Downpatrick. Today will be getting filed and forgotten; tomorrow is a new day and will hopefully bring similar weather!

Time for some Z's

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Monday, 13 July 2009

Back to the Ulster Way

Well the celebrations for the Battle of the Boyne are nearly over for another year and amongst other things means that I will be returning to the Ulster Way, and Downpatrick, tomorrow morning for the last 180 miles of walking or so (I must remember to add up my total so far!) Its quite sad thinking that it will all be over in less than 2 weeks, however it was never going to last all summer, and neither was my money. Looking back I wish I had taken my camera out a little bit more, but will be snapping quite a lot over the next couple of days to make up for it. Looking forward I can see me writing up a relatively concise report when I’m done, to help me remember the trip and for anyone thinking of dabbling in walking the Ulster Way, however it aint all over yet, kid!

On the preparation side of things everything has been getting charged/filled/cleaned and dried, then repacked into my rucksack getting ready for the last push. Being back home, I had been looking over my kit to see if I could drop a couple ounces here or there, however it wasn’t excessive at the start and without dropping the level of comfort I’ve become accustomed to I can’t really lose anything.

The forecast for the Twelfth weekend was for nothing less than a total washout, and with that in mind, I didn’t really want to look for this week. However it was impossible to not look ahead, and have some sort of an idea. Like always the weather is a bit of a guessing game, but I’m hoping it will be a bit more like the forecast and not like the BBC’s, it looks pretty horrible. I suppose I have been very lucky and it was inevitable for it to break, all I’m hoping for is the last day or two not to be a washout.

Fingers crossed for clear skies

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Sunday, 12 July 2009


Threw a quick slideshow together, pretty much just the photo's I have added to flickr, but easier to view, check it out!!

It should be availible in high quality when they are finished playing with it

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Ulster Way - Flickr Update

Taken the Twelfth weekend off to recharge the batteries and to avoid running into any of the crazyness that occurs over here around this time of year, back to Downpatrick on Tuesday to pick up where I left off. Until then I am going through my pictures, and have uploaded quite a large selection up to my Flickr account.

Click Here to watch a slideshow of them, and press F11 to go full screen, some nice photies in their if I do say so myself, might work on a wee slideshow, if I can be bothered.

Definately not a bad weekend to take off anyways, the weather is absolutely awful, and certainly the worst its been since I set off, being inside bricks and mortar certainly is gratifying when it is hammering it down, and just a wee bit less worrying than when under a thin piece of Nylon!!



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Saturday, 11 July 2009

St Johns point and onwards (Ulster Way)

Yesterday took us from Newcastle though Dundrum and onto Ballykinler following well kept grass paths and then minor roads. After an ice cream in Ballylinker onwards we went (Alan is still with me) and finally stopped in the Minerstown Tavern for a 'refreshment.' After chatting to some of the characters in the bar the RNLI kitty got added to and later on, a sofa was offered as well. Eddie's offer was greatfully recieved, a man who was well travelled himself and knew the value of a bed and a kettle in the morning.

As well as more acts of random kindness we both witnessed for the first time the game of skittles, which seems to be popular in this area of Down, with its own leagues. A game of throwing bog found yew at what appeared to be 8inch lengths of brush shafts (each with their own numerical value) in an attempt to get from 51 to 0 in the least amount of throws in a similar fashion to darts. Very interesting and looked a good job. I find it rather incredible that I've never seen/heard of it as I live within 40 miles of the area!

After a night on Eddies sofa and tea and toast we set off this morning in the direction of Killough, stopping off at St John's Point having a look at both the ruined medieval church and the yellow and black lighthouse. Carrying on took us over nearly 2miles of a very rough and seldom walked trail, which took a good bit of effort to get over. After hitting killough and then to Ardglass stopping for some food and continuing on firstly with minor roads then well trodden paths following the coastline. Finally returning to roads for the rest of the evenings walking and ending up in strangford for 9. A couple drinks then on into the wilds to get pitched up for the night.

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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Ulster Way - Well deserved Pint

A pint of black to finish a hard day traversing the hills. Just like my weeks so far the weather was very kind, and probably the best I've ever had while up the Mournes.

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Ulster Way - In the Mournes

Finally got signal again!

I've had a couple longish days recently, walking circa 20miles a day; taking me from Moy to Portadown then to Newry. Spent last night pitched up beside Spelga Dam after meeting up with my mate Alan in Rostrevor, who is going to walk a couple days with me. I'm now off the route of the Ulster Way, instead we're traversing some of the peaks of the Mournes. Not going up them seems like an awful waste as the views from the peaks are outstanding. We will be crawling into Newcastle before the end of the day for a couple pints and possibly a night in a youth hostel to get cleaned up etc.

We'd better keep moving while the weather is still with us.

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