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ATLAS MOUNTAINS TREK - OCTOBER 2015

What a trip - full of contrasts. The icy blizzards at 4,000 metres on Mount Toubkal vs. body surfing at 70'F on the Ajadir beach; the luxury of our bedrooms in Riad Africa in Marrakech vs. the mattress on the floor in a Berber village; disco dancing to flickering head torches in a mountain refuge vs. listening to bird song in the Marjorie Gardens in Marrakech; luxury taxis to Imlil and Ajadir vs. travelling over mountain passes with our mules; freshly cooked tangines in remote corners of even remoter area vs. waiter served pizza (and fine food) with silver cutlery on roof top terarces; Berber whiskey (mint tea) throughout the Atlas Mountains vs. fine wine at poolside tables; young Luke vs. well matured Muriel ETC. But some things remained the same throughout - real friendship, encouragement, a love of walking and mountains, a quest for challenge, a sense of fun and wish to return to the Atlas Mountains.
(Thanks to Michael for the above text, to Helen for collating the photos and the captions and to the group for the photos)

COMBER GREENWAY 29 NOVEMBER 15

Great walk today along the whole length of the Comber Greenway. The much heralded heavy rain and strong winds were both notable by their absence. Thanks to Jim for leading the walk.(thanks to Ivan for the photos and text)

AROUND DONARD 07 NOVEMBER 15

The weather was miserable to start with and we almost called it off but the four hardy ramblers, led by Norman decided to give it a go. The route was basically up the Granite Trail from the harbour and then followed the Glen River and headed up to the wall. The weather had picked up by the time we reached the wall and the sun came out. The autumnal colours were spectacular. Over the wall and followed the brandy pad towards Bloody Bridge. We headed off across country to bring us back on to the Granite Trail and back to the harbour. (thanks to Cowan for the photos and text)

MALTA 13-20 OCTOBER 15

A large party of members visited Malta and stayed at the Park Hotel in Sliema, across the bay from the capital Valletta. The group visited several locations on the island such as the former capital Mdina, the fortifications known as the Victoria Lines and also enjoyed a boat trip to the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino. Thanks to Cowan for the photos and captions.

SLIEVE FOYE, CARLINGFORD 10 OCTOBER 15

Slieve Foye, otherwise known as Carlingford Mountain (587m), broods over the historic village of Carlingford and the nearby King John's Castle on the Southern shore of Carlingford Lough just opposite Rostrevor. The walk begins in the Tourist Centre Carpark with a stiff climb up through the Slieve Foye Forest. It then heads west to gain access to a modest gully which leads to a ridge which, in turn, forms the main part of the walk. Views of the Mournes, Warrenpoint Harbour, Newry Canal and Dundrum Bay are all to hand. The ridge itself is comprised of some amazing rock formations, quite photogenic, but not on our walk because of a persistent mist for most of the morning. Lunch was taken at the summit of Slieve Foye, followed by a relatively gentle trek back to the village. Refreshments in O'Hares, just the job. Thanks to Alison Wise for her leadership.(thanks to Ivan for text and photos)

BANAGHER GLEN 27 SEPTEMBER 15

We picked a glorious early Autumn day for our now traditional annual visit to Banagher Glen. This hidden gem, tucked away in the Sperrins just outside Dungiven, provides easy walking combined with glorious views of the Altnaheglish Reservoir and the surrounding hills including Benbradagh and Carntogher. Lunch in the sunshine was taken at what used to be the ford over the Crooked Stream, the ford having been replaced by a functional, but hideous, bridge. Refreshments later in the recently refurbished Ponderosa, the highest pub in Ireland. Many thanks to Helen Mallon for leading this walk.(thanks to Ivan for photos and text)

St Cuthbert's Way 12-19 September 15

For this year's trail trip I had asked Macs Adventure to book a seven night holiday(64 miles, 2507 metres of ascent) along St Cuthbert's Way, a different accommodation each night and our main bags transferred by Carrylite. I have used Macs for several years but they surpassed themselves this year with the accommodation choices. I chose and booked the evening meal venues and these were also excellent. The main criteria for an enjoyable holiday however is the company and this holiday was very enjoyable; thanks to Mary, Kay, Jim,Trevor, Peter and Roy for their company. Please view the photos and read the text to gain a flavour of our holiday.(for a change - photos and text by me John)


Newry Canal 12 September 15

This walk begins near Newry Townhall which sits astride the River Clanrye, probably the only Townhall in the UK to have such an eccentric situation. Just outside the front door is a very fine memorial stone to the famous mountaineer Banjo Bannon who climbed Everest unaided on 31 May 2003. Beside it is a relic of past times with a comfortable seat for Anne, Brett posing in the background. Two thirds of the group that undertook this walk are in this photo, disappointing for such an excellent walk. The section we covered is 13 miles from Newry to Scarva, relatively easy walking as it is along a good mettled towpath the entire route. The Newry Canal was begun in May 1733, built by manual labourers who received the princely sum of seven pence per day. Along the canal are dotted a number of humped back bridges in picturesque settings. At Poyntzpass there is an unusual piece of public art which incorporates a representation of the Victoria Cross. It transpires that a local man, Charles Davis Lucas was the first person to be awarded a V.C. in 1834 for conspicuous bravery in the Crimea. The walk ends in the pretty village of Scarva, the remnants of its important role in the life of the canal when it was a thriving concern, are still evident.(thanks to Ivan for the text and photos)

GOBBINS CLIFF PATH 23 AUGUST 15

Only five days after the newly renovated Gobbins Coastal Path was opened to the public a large contingent from the Club, some 30+ members! met in Islandmagee to undertake an inaugural walk. The photos speak for themselves. The walk is spectacular in every way and is sure to become an attraction to rival the Giant's Causeway and the Titanic Centre. Many thanks to Michael Carson for organising this event and for hosting the very successful BBQ afterwards. A day to remember!(I received many photos from Helen Magill, Cowan and Ivan. Rather than only select some I have included all as thumbnails, click on individual photos to enlarge, the drawback to this means of presentation is that downloading appears to be blocked[sorry])

SLIEVE ROOSLEY 22 AUGUST 15

Eight members took part in this new, and to some extent, exploratory walk from the Yellow Road near Hilltown to Rostrevor via the western spur of the Mournes. The route took in Trainor's Rocks and the four modest peaks of Grugandoo, Wee Roosley, Roosley and Leckan More. The terrain is mainly undulating moorland, similar to the Sperrins, with thick grass underfoot except near the peaks where there is an abundance of short heather. The views towards Eagle mountain and down towards Carlingford Lough are quite spectacular. The walk finishes with a pleasant dander through Ballymoney Wood and on into Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor. Many thanks to Colin for suggesting  and recceing this walk which is sure to appear again in a future programme. Also welcome to Garry Gerrish on a fleeting visit to NI.(thanks to Cowan for photos and Ivan for photos and text)

MEELMORE etc 08 AUGUST 15

One of the highlights of our walking calendar is our annual visit to Spellach to clamber up its steep and rocky gully only to be faced by a long, slow, gruelling struggle to the summit of Meelmore. This year we were joined by members of the Spartan Club for a joint walk so we were able to share the pain round. We were fortunate with the weather, one of the best walking days this Summer. Once Meelmore was conquered we went on to reel off Meelbeg, Slieve Loughshannagh and Doan in bite size chunks. We had hoped to see the Red Arrows who were due in Newcastle for the Air Show. Just at the crucial moment a fine mist came down and we were convinced we heard them but didn't see them. The return journey to Meelmore Lodge was via Pollaphuca round the base of Spellach. Many thanks to Ken Bradley for leading this testing and very sociable walk.(thanks to Cowan for most of the photos and to Ivan for the text and remaining photos)

WAINWRIGHT COAST TO COAST(WESTERN SECTION) 23-30 MAY 15

Jim and Colin organised a week's walk along the western half of Wainwright's renowned Coast to Coast Walk, 84 miles from St Bees on the west coast over numerous hills to Kirkby Stephen. They were joined by Miriam and Norman and the holiday was arranged by Wandering Aengus. Jim and Colin hope to arrange a return visit to complete the eastern section and reach the east coast. Thanks to Miriam and Colin for the photos.

ANTRIM CASTLE 26 JULY 15

On a bleak, damp so-called Summer morning Club members met in Antrim Main Street to undertake what had been billed as a pleasant and scenic dander. Perhaps it was significant that 13 turned up. Wet gear and umbrellas would be severely tested. The walk took us along the banks of a picturesque stretch of the Sixemilewater during which Eagle-eye Mary spotted a Kingfisher. The route then took in views of Lough Neagh, (which looked rather more like the Bay of Biscay) followed by the comparative calm of the Marina complete with swans and ducks, and then on into the Castle Gardens. Here a number of adventurous types climbed a big mound, admired some modern statuary, and wandered past several grand ponds to our final destination, the cafe. The wet waifs made themselves warm and comfortable fortified by copious amounts of tea, coffee etc until it was time to adjourn to a nearby hall to be serenaded by the Carrickfergus Silver Band, who should have been playing outside but sensibly deferred to the elements, unlike C S Ramblers. Despite the weather a good time was had by all. Many thanks to Den for leading this walk which was new to most of us and well worthwhile repeating in next year's programme.(Thanks to Helen Magill for the photos, Ivan for the text)

SLIEVE MUCK 11 JULY 15

Michael organised today's walk and eleven ramblers set out from Silent Valley to undertake the very challenging walk to the summits of Slievenaglogh and Slieve Muck and across rough and damp terrain. The weather was threatening to begin with but did not deteriorate sufficiently to spoil the day. A little rain during the afternoon was all we had to contend with. We welcomed new rambler Nora on her first visit to the Mournes and despite the fact that these mountains get steeper from year to year she coped admirably. Onward and upward (who said that?).(thanks to Ivan for the first photos and text and to Cowan for the later photos)

MALHAMDALE, YORKSHIRE 26 JUNE - 3 JULY 15

Imelda arranged a holiday at Newfield Hall near Malham in Yorkshire, with half a dozen club members attending an HF walking holiday at the Hall. The group had a wonderful weeks walking in the Yorkshire Dales with very hot weather at times. They were out around 7 hours each day with three different walking groups - hard, medium or easy. Club members mostly did the medium walks around 10 miles. They were still quite taxing, a lot of up and down although the total elevation was only around 360m.

The guides were superb with a huge amount of knowledge of flora , fauna, history and geology of the area. It was clear that they loved the area and were proud to promote it. Newfield Hall was superb, very classy but homely with lots of space both inside and outside as illustrated by the photos.(thanks to Mary and Ivan(the last photo) for the photos and to Mary for the captions and text)


SALLAGH BRAES 28 JUNE 15

This Sunday walk was organised by Helen Magill and offered two options, the full walk from Ballyboley Forest via Sallagh Braes to Carncastle and then on to Glenarm and the second option was to walk to Carncastle and finish there. Despite overnight rain the group enjoyed sunny weather during the day and then enjoyed a meal at Carncastle after retrieving their cars. Thanks to Cowan for the photos.

DRUMBANE TRAIL 24 MAY 15

For today's walk I had organised a return visit to the Drumbane Trail near Garvagh. Eight walkers turned out on a cold but dry day, six completing the full walk with two choosing the slightly shorter walk but avoiding the softer(underfoot) section. During the walk we enjoyed the scenic and historic sights and finished our day with another enjoyable meal in Garvagh.(thanks to Cowan for several of the photos)

SILENT VALLEY/BINNIAN 11 APRIL 15

On a bright but chilly and blustery day seven members set out from the carpark at the Silent Valley to climb Slieve Binnian. This route is somewhat different from the Club’s traditional route from Carricklittle in that it involves three fairly stiff climbs in quick succession, firstly Moolieve, then Wee Binnian and finally Binnian itself with an almost vertical scramble at the end to get to the summit. The reward for this effort is the spectacular views all over the Mournes and south towards Carlingford Lough and Co.Louth. Because of the high winds the group found shelter among the rocks for a quick lunch and had little time to examine the weird boulder formations that are unique to Binnian. Another day perhaps. The descent was by a newly renovated track from the saddle between Binnian and Lamagan down to the Ben Crom reservoir and thence to our starting point. Welcome refreshments, taken outside in the warm sunshine, were available from the fine café in the tin hut at the carpark. Many thanks to Stephen Dougherty for leading this exceptionally interesting and testing walk.(thanks to Ivan for the initial captioned photos and to Cowan for the later photos)

ANTRIM HILLS 29 MARCH 15

Despite the change in the clocks and the cold, wet and windy weather(as described to me by one of the group) there was a good turnout for Aidan's walk in the Antrim Hills. Thanks to Cowan for these photos.

THE BIRDS 14 MARCH 14

Today's walk was a return to the old favourites of Pigeon, C**k(in deference to the Web Police) and Hen; collectively known as the Birds and on this occasion directed by Norman rather than Hitchc**k(ranting over). There was a good turnout for the walk and thanks to Cowan for the photos.

AGM 23 JANUARY 15

The 2015 AGM was a vicious affair with the current officers voted out(standing down after long and faithful service) and replaced by Jim(Chair), Imelda(Sec) and Helen Magill(Accts).  Thanks to Ivan, Jim and Geoffrey for their previous service. Our guest speaker was Carol Ann Creagh who described her motivation for and experiences during her walk of the Camino. Money collected at the AGM will be donated to the Friends of Cancer Centre.
 

DUNDRUM AND MURLOUGH BAY
28 DECEMBER 14

To complete our 2014 Club Programme 16 Ramblers set out from Dundrum Castle to walk through the Murlough sand dunes, along the Newcastle beach, and back by the Slidderyford Bridge. Despite the blue sky and sunshine it was a bitterly cold day only mitigated by keeping constantly on the move. Lunch was taken at a sheltered spot in the dunes with splendid views of the Irish Sea and the snow capped Mournes. The day was rounded off with a welcome cuppa in a local tea shop.(thanks to Helen M and Ivan for the photos and Ivan for the text)

BLOODY BRIDGE TO MEELMORE LODGE
13 DECEMBER 14


On a chilly winter day 14 ramblers gathered at the Bloody Bridge carpark to undertake what is normally a fairly routine walk along the old smuggling route, now known world-wide as The Brandy Pad. What appeared to be, from the distance, a light sprinkling of snow on the upper slopes of the Mournes, turned out to be near enough waist deep (for small people). Fortunately the weather stayed kind and without exception the group revelled in the challenge. A few pictures illustrate the conditions but notice the happy, smiling faces. We could have been in Switzerland without the bother or expense of going.(thanks to Ivan and Judy for the photos and Ivan for the text)

TAVIRA, PORTUGAL 28 SEPT - 4 OCT 14

Michael organised for a large group to attend this Ramblers holiday at Tavira in Portugal. Judging by the photographs it was an enjoyable trip. Thanks to Heather for these photos.

DRUMBANE TRAIL - 21 SEPTEMBER 14

I arranged a new walk for the club this Sunday, the Drumbane Trail at Glenullin near Garvagh. We enjoyed a lovely Indian Summer day in the Sperrins, admiring the views and historical sites and giving thanks to the local community for developing this walk. We finished off with an enjoyable meal for twelve at The Vines in Garvagh, then a few of us completed the day by visiting the Pyramids(actually one small pyramid in Garvagh Forest).

BANNS ROAD 24 AUGUST 14

On a glorious sunny morning the Club walk began with a relatively gentle stroll along the whole length of Banns Road followed by a fairly stiff climb to the summit of Doan, aka Maol Chobha's Fort. Lunch was taken there at the same time as enjoying the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, Lough Shannagh, the Silent Valley and Carlingford Lough. Whilst the threatened rain did not materialise the sun did disappear behind a grey blanket and so we headed off to the Maghera Inn en masse for refreshments and idle chatter.(thanks to Alison for organising the walk and to Ivan for the text and the photo)

ROE VALLEY 9 AUGUST 14

Today's walk, organised by Lorraine and Carol, started at the visitor centre and basically followed a figure of eight down and up(or vice versa?) the river. Some slippage on the paths necessitated some last minute adjustments to the route but all enjoyed a very scenic and dry walk, including a visit to the small museum after lunch at the centre's picnic tables. One minor quibble, who forgot to bring the wasp spray? After the walk we drove into Limavady for a meal at the Market Yard, concluding with an impromptu display of firefighting by Wendy and yours truly(a lit candle, a discarded serviette by the couple who left from a nearby table, thankfully also leaving half a bottle of water to douse the flames). An exciting end to our day.

SLIEVE GULLION 27 JULY 14

There was a large turnout(19 walkers, 18 for the meal) for the Slieve Gullion walk led by me, John. Most arrived early to enjoy a cuppa at the cafe and to meet up with some old and some new friends. At 10.30ish we walked through the woods to join the Forest Drive and proceeded uphill to the top carpark for a breather and a group photo, then up the steps and fortunately reached the shelter just when a short lived shower arrived. Then to the top and the Burial Chamber at the South Cairn where we also had lunch(outside the chamber). Lovely views as we walked along the ridge past the lough and the North Cairn before heading down to Ballard Road and following the lanes past Killeavy Old Churches and graveyard back to the carpark. The day finished with a leisurely meal for eighteen at the Downshire Arms.

DROMANTINE, SCARVA 22 JUNE 14

Mary organised a walk through the grounds of Dromantine College, followed by a stroll along Newry Canal back to the cars at Scarva where the Sunday afternoon band concert was in full swing. Thanks to Mary for the photographs.

DOWNHILL, BINEVENAGH 14 JUNE 14

Lorraine and Carol organised two walks for this outing, the Downhill Demense and the forest across the road in the morning and then a short drive to the start of the Binevenagh walk. The weather wasn't totally kind as a mist was present for most of the day, particularly for the afternoon climb to the top of Binevenagh when the views were sadly curtailed. The day finished with a meal at the Point Bar. Thanks to Lorraine and Carol for leading and thanks to Lorraine for providing the afternoon photos.

LAKE DISTRICT 8-13 JUNE 14

A group of eleven ramblers spent 5 nights in the Lake District with 4 days walking from Pooley Bridge to Glenridding to Grasmere to Rosthwaite to Keswick. Highlights included High Street, sections of the Wainwright Coast to Coast including Grisedale Valley and Easedale Beck. On the final day seven of our party took an alternative detour up Scafell Pike! The remainder of the group enjoyed a lovely walk in beautiful sunshine on the Cumbria Way and alongside Derwentwater.

 
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