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Walking in a Winter Wonderland. A lovely walk in Castlewellan Forest Park led by Den Hamill along woodland trails and around the lake. Well worth the effort to get there following the inclement weather of the night before.(thanks to Ivan for photos and text)


The club's autumn break was a well attended trip to the Sligo Park Hotel. On the Saturday the main walk was Benbulben whilst half a dozen enjoyed a walk at Slish Wood Sligo. On Sunday morning the whole group of 18 walked round the famous and very scenic Horseshoe Road, a circular tour of some 10k. This was followed by lunch/afternoon tea at Mullaghmore Harbour before a ramble round Mullaghmore Head. On Monday morning those folk who did not go straight home after breakfast went to Rosses Point for a bracing walk along the beach followed by refreshments in Yeats Country Hotel before the long drive back to Belfast.(thanks to Ivan for the photos and text)


Saturdays walk started from the car park at Windy Gap. 10 ramblers expertly led by Jim Martin took the Windy Gap pad, joining the Legananny Road and onward to Cratlieve (Legananny Mountain), stopping briefly at the Dolmen on the way. The route contoured around the mountain on the Northerly side and then took us to the summit of Slieve Croob via the access road from the car park. Unfortunately weather conditions meant that the views were limited and our stop at the summit was brief. The return leg followed the same route back, contouring Cratlieve on the Southerly side. The distance covered was 17km, with a total ascent of 671m and a high point of 543m.
An enjoyable ramble over mixed terrain led to the usual slips and tumbles but thankfully all of us returned in one piece under Jims fine leadership! 
(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


As an intro to trail walking I organised a walk along three sections of the Wicklow Way for eight members. We travelled to Roundwood on Monday and stretched our legs after the train and bus journey with a 7km stroll around Vartry Reservoir. On Tuesday we walked to Glendalough and visited the monastic site before walking to our accommodation at nearby Laragh. Wednesday was to be our only bad weather day, heavy rain and strong winds especially as we crossed the high saddle of Borenacrow(circa 600m). Thursday was another bright day as we walked from Drumgoff to Iron Bridge for a taxi into Aughrim. We stayed in three old coaching inns and a pair of guesthouses at Laragh and enjoyed excellent food at the inns and the Wicklow Heather restaurant. On two evenings those of us who stayed up late were treated to traditional music sessions. Modesty aside it was an excellent trip.


Michael organised a trip to St Johann in Austria for twenty odd members. Judging by the photos they enjoyed an excellent holiday and thanks to Cowan for the photos.


Nine members met at the Scenic Inn to drive to the walk start at Altarichard Road with a distant view of our first objective, the climb to the top of Croaghan. We then descended via a "soft" firebreak into Breen Forest and followed a forest trail until an intersection with the Moyle Way which led down to the bridge over Glenshesk River. Our route then followed the river past McQuillan's grave until we climbed again into Slieveanorra Forest and eventually regained the road leading back to our cars. An enjoyable walk of about 9 miles through varied terrain and completed with an excellent meal at the Scenic Inn.


Eleven Ramblers enjoyed a week-long exposure to the scenic delights of Devon and Cornwall, guided by Garry, one of our two London-based members.
Devon and Cornwall offer everything that a walker could want; ancient paths and rights of way established by miners, fishermen and farm workers over the centuries; olde worlde villages and bridle paths; bays and coves and cliff top walks with spectacular views. An absolute delight!!
The pleasant, historic port of Plymouth provided the perfect base and Garry ensured that our walks were wide-ranging and different; from the stunning views from the South West Coast National Trail to the leafy lanes of Totnes and Kingsbridge.  St Ives, Looe, Polperro, Saltash and Dartmouth, to name just a few, provided the backdrops to some superb walking. And on our one day of bad weather, a trip on the Dartmouth Steam train from Paignton to Kingswear; ferry to Dartmouth and lunch in the oldest pub in Dartmouth, The Cherub Inn made the ideal “rest day”.
Another rambling treat, hopefully to be repeated next year!!
(thanks to Helen Magill for the photos and Denis for the text)


Benefitting from the clement weather, seven walkers met at Holywood station and enjoyed the pleasant walk along the North Down Coastal Path to Grey Point Fort. At the fort we stopped for lunch and a brief tour of the site before Mary left to travel home and Helen joined us a a substitute having travelled to Helens Bay by train. We then walked on to Bangor where four left to travel home, shop, enjoy an icecream etc. Helen, Jim and I walked on past Ballyholme to Groomsport in time to enjoy an ice lolly each before the bus back to Bangor.


113 miles and over 7000 metres of ascent over ten days walking are the bald figures but they cannot measure the pleasure of walking this beautiful trail. It has been described as two walks in one, a Moors walk around the edge of the North York Moors National Park from Helmsley to Saltburn-by-the-Sea, and an equally scenic coastal walk from Saltburn to Filey via resorts such as Whitby and Scarborough. Thanks to Peter for his company and to Macs for the brilliant mix of accommodation. Our only complaint was the weather, it was too warm. Our walk coincided with the hot spell, about five days of walking in temperatures above 30C(not typical for the UK), extremely draining but it did offer an excuse to top up fluid levels each evening!


This was meant to be the annual Club walk over Sallagh Braes to Glenarm but even the best laid plans sometimes go awry. As it happened after days of rain prior to the planned walk part of the trail became waterlogged and was impassable. And so, virtually at the last minute, Helen Magill proposed a substitute walk in Carnfunnock Forest Park. This was an inspired idea for, not only was the weather fine for walking, but the route through the forest to Ballygally is one of the best. An added bonus was ice cream on the beach at the half way stage. Thanks to Helen and Aidan for leading this walk and the other five ramblers who turned up to help make this a very enjoyable day out to the Antrim Coast.(thanks to Helen for the photos and Ivan for the text)


Injuries, other commitments and a less than promising weather forecast conspired to reduce numbers for the latest club venture into the Mournes. The original published walk was felt a little daunting for the intrepid three ramblers so an abridged version was agreed. The revised route avoided Spellagh, ascending Meelmore via Pollaphuca and following the wall to the summit. From there it was on to Meelbeg, descending to the col between Meelbeg and Slieve Loughshannagh where a quick lunch was taken.  The return route followed the path which contours around Meelbeg and Meelmore and from there back to Meelmore Lodge via Pollaphuca. The weather gods were kind to us with extended periods of sunshine and we made it back to the Lodge for refreshments just before the promised rain arrived. My thanks to Miriam and Kathryn for their patience with this substitute leader and next time we will do it via Spellagh!(thanks to Cowan for the photos and text)  


A party of 7 ramblers set off from Donard Park, taking the Glenn River path as far as the Ice House. At this point the group split with 4 ramblers heading for Donard via The Black Stairs and Thomas Mountain. The other group headed for Donard by the more traditional route. Following lunch on Donard, the reunited party made their way to a misty Commedagh. The descent from Commedagh was not quite that planned and the group contoured round Shan Slieve and across Slievenamaddy. making our way through an overgrown, rough track in the plantation before picking up the forestry track which led us back to the Glenn River Path and back to the carpark. Although not quite the intended route, it was an excellent walk and our thanks to Norman for stepping into the leaders boots and for his fine navigational skills in testing conditions.(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


Ten members braved the stormy seas(choppy at least) to visit Rathlin and walk the four miles each way to the West Lighthouse and the RSPB centre to enjoy watching the puffins which had sadly gone fishing for the day, except one giant puffin which Helen met. On return to Church Bay most members adjourned to the bar to await the return crossing but Jim and I checked out the 1.8 miles Ballyconaghan Trail which starts from the chapel to visit the north coast and enjoy spectacular views of Scotland and the East Lighthouse before looping back via a farm trail. Most finished the day with a meal at the Anzac Bistro before returning home to watch recordings of Line of Duty. A very enjoyable day with excellent weather, much better than the forecast which suggested strong winds and possible cancellation of the ferry.


11 members started off from Helen's Bay to be joined by 2 more at the station. After safely crossing the A2 dual carriageway, 3 members turned back to finish early. 10 walked on to Helen's Tower where 2 left to visit Conlig. 8 walked to the finish at the Lead Mines to be collected by 2 taxis. On our return to Helen's Bay 3 members enjoyed a meal and 4 pints at Bryansburn Inn(and also we walked past 3 golf clubs, 4 golf courses with XX holes........). A good day's walk of about 9 miles taking 3 hours!


Nine ramblers gathered at Ott Car Park for what proved a challenging walk ably led by Colin. The route followed the Ott Track to the col between Slieve Loughshannagh and Carn Mountain. At this point two of the group parted company and followed the wall in the direction of Slieve Loughshannagh whilst the remainder crossed the stile and headed towards Doan. The route skirted the lough, ascending  Doan by the more difficult route on the Ben Crom side. Following lunch on Doan, we headed across difficult ground to Ben Crom. The return leg of the walk took us on the low level path around Bearnagh, Meelbeg, Slieve Loughshannagh and back to the carpark via the Ott track. Whilst weather conditions on the 13Km walk were variable, the group were offered some stunning views from Doan and Ben Crom. Our thanks to Colin for his expert guidance.(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


For our Spring Break this year the Club selected a weekend at the National Trust Causeway Hotel just outside Bushmills. It turned out to be an inspired choice since not only was the hotel comfortable (and reasonably priced) but the weather was just about perfect, blue skies and sunshine but not too warm.
On Saturday 16 members undertook the world class walk from Ballintoy back to the Giant's Causeway, the reverse of our usual route giving an entirely different perspective to the scenery. Even the tides co-operated allowing us to transverse the wide expanse of Whitepark Bay and a relatively straightforward negotiation of the rocks at Port Bradden.
On Sunday we had a rather more sedate walk at Ballypatrick Forest, a pleasant contrast to the rugged coast of the day before.
Thanks to Carol Warke for organising the accommodation at the hotel and Den Hamill for leading the forest walk on Sunday over a new trail (to the Club)
.(thanks to Ivan for photos and text)


Nine ramblers gathered in the mist  at the Dunnywater entrance gates on the Head Road. Expertly led by Den, the group headed towards Rocky Mountain by way of Round Seefin and Long Seefin. The mist deprived us of any views but did not stop our ascent to the summit of Rocky. The dry conditions overhead were not matched by the somewhat challenging conditions underfoot as we picked our way across the bog to reach our lunch stop on Chimney Rock Mountain. As if by magic the clouds lifted and we basked in “warm” March sun as we admired the views of the ground we had covered and that which lay ahead. Encouraged by our leader, we began the return leg via Spences Mountain (the descent of which proved tricky), Rourke’s Park and from there back to the cars.(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


Meelmore Lodge was the starting point for what proved to be a challenging walk along the Brandy Pad. Eight ramblers gathered on a bitterly cold morning and were transported to the starting point at Bloody Bridge by minibus. Snow and ice made for plenty of thrills and spills along the way! Conditions were so hazardous that the plan for some of the group to divert via Donard and Commadagh was aborted. All eyes remained firmly fixed on the ground to avoid the worst of the ice, however slips and tumbles were inevitable. The descent from the Hare’s Gap to the Trassey track proved tricky and concentration and care were required to negotiate the ice which was not always visible to the eye – the mountain equivalent of black ice! Coffee and cake was the reward awaiting us back at the Lodge. Our thanks to Norman for his expert leadership and keeping us all in one piece!(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


A fine turnout of a dozen ramblers, including Catherine, a new member, enjoyed a pleasant walk through the famous dunes at Murlough. The route follows a number of grassed over trails that make for very comfortable walking. The day was mild and still with the sun appearing occasionally to brighten the day. We were fortunate to get close up to the famous herd of Exmoor ponies that have been installed to keep the herbage under control. Lunch was taken in relative comfort at the picnic tables in the NT carpark, and this was followed by a short walk along the Newcastle Beach to add a bit of variety to the ramble.(thanks to Ivan for the photos and text)


The NICS Ramblers AGM was held at the Stormont Pavilion, commencing with the necessary business matters before a welcome meal accompanied by a slideshow of the 2016 walks and holidays. Following the meal Ken "compered" a raffle which raised the excellent sum of £190(rounded up by the club to £200) for the NI branch of the Diabetes UKcharity and Imelda raised £41 in support of World Cancer Day. The evening concluded with musical entertainment provided by Victor and his wife. Thanks to the members who attended, contributed raffle prizes and helped make the evening a success.


A hardy group of 10 ramblers, under the expert leadership of Stephen Dougherty, gathered at Meelmore Lodge Amenity centre for our first Mourne’s walk of the New Year. The route followed a path round the base of Spellack to our first stop for refreshments at the Hare’s gap. We then headed onward along the Brandy pad to the saddle between Donard and Commedagh. A short stop here to catch our breath and enjoy the relatively fine January weather before the ascent of Commedagh and lunch at the top. The return journey via Slieve Corragh and Slievenaglogh was not without incident with a number or ramblers succumbing to the slippery conditions underfoot (some on multiple occasions)! We descended Slievnaglogh, bypassing the Hare’s gap, crossing the Trassey track and onward to Meelmore Lodge where a fine day ended with tea, coffee and cake. Our thanks to Stephen for his organisation and well done to those Ramblers who managed to stay upright the whole way round!(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)

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