Saturday. It was raining. The "Power Walkers" and
the "Mods" had disembarked from the coach leaving
the Amblers to wander off the coach at their leisure. It was
disappointing that there was no coffee shop in Embleton but
we sauntered along the coastal path where we met a chatty
lady pushing a wheelbarrow full of household goods! She was
on her way to the family's beach hut which had had to be cleared
of all possessions for the winter to avoid the local mice
population taking up residence. Coffee was had in a bird hide
with illustrations of the various wild fowl, a visitors' book
and a bench (luxury). We signed the visitors' book and recorded
the birdlife we thought we'd seen in the book. By the time
we emerged the rain had stopped and the sun was shining although
it was now very windy. At Low Newton there was a tiny pub
called The Ship Inn with a micro-brewery. In spite of the
excellent beer to be had, I had tea. It was the "in"
place to be on a Saturday but dogs along with fancy wellies
seemed to be compulsory. The Mods met us and after an exchange
of pleasantries, we set off. On reaching the beach, the sand
was being whipped up and we were in the midst of a sandstorm.
I looked in vain for Lawrence of Arabia on his bike or on
his camel or on a horse to rescue me but alas he did not appear.
(Peter O'Toole in his youth was a bit of a dish!) By the time
we reached Seahouses, I decided to cancel my weekend at the
Spa as I had already had my seaweed wrap and rejuvenating
facial courtesy of the sand. Lunch was had in the sand dunes
and the Mods arrived. We left. The Mods arrived again when
we stopped to admire the view. This was now the third time
that we had overtaken them. Surely the Amblers were not walking
faster than the Mods?
An Absentee "C" Walker
The Diary of a C Walker in Northern Ireland
Sunday - 36 dreary-eyed FDR walkers clambered
onto a coach at 6 30 am (!) and headed off to Northern Ireland.
It was a 12 hour journey by coach and ferry and I had more
drugs in me to prevent seasickness than a defendant attending
a Drugs Court.
The walks on the Monday were the Nine Glens.
The Power Walkers shot off, followed by the Mods and then
the Amblers. TheAmblers wandered along a road where a volunteer
of the Nine Glens had seen us walking and followed us along
the road to hand out leaflets about the area. We ambled
through moorland and on to a forest finally reaching the
pub-cum-club in Cargan. Here I found out that a Mod had
had a nasty fall which required the use of my extensive
first aid kit bought at vast expense. I was only too pleased
I could help. I later found out over dinner that we had
sufficient retired medical staff in the group to set up
a field hospital.
Tuesday was the day I had been waiting for
- Giants Causeway along the Coastal Path. We all walked
along the path over a varying distance. However, all had
to encounter the "hole in the cliff" which was
approached over leg-breaking boulders on the beach. The
Amblers stopped for coffee (we hadn't even started!) to
discuss the assault course. Maps were consulted and it was
agreed that none of us wanted to be air lifted to the nearest
hospital and so we walked along the road picking up at the
path at Dunseveririck Castle. We missed an interesting tiny
church, St Gobbans, set in the cliffs because we had chickened
out of the assault course. The views from the path were
magnificent. Giants Causeway is now a UNESCO World Heritage
Site and I know from my geography days (yes I could read
a map and yes I do have an A Level in Geography) it is caused
by volcanic activity millions of years ago resulting in
the molten lava setting in basalt columns. From the cliff
top the Causeway was covered with what looked like "ants"
but turned out to be people, mainly Chinese/Japanese all
with selfie sticks!
Wednesday was a day off and I went to Belfast
for the day as did several others.
Thursday was climb a mountain day - Slieve
Donard. I mutinied and took 3 others with me. My Mole informed
me that I had made the right decision as it was not an easy
climb. I had visions of them singing "Climb Every Mountain".
The walk started with a long steady climb through woods,
following a lovely river with quite deep rock pools in the
woods and as it was a hot day I wondered if anyone had gone
skinny dipping but my Mole was too discreet. It was rocky
and steep at the top but visibility was good. Four (eight
if you count the mutineers!) didn't make it to the top but
we all made it to the pub or tea shop!
The mutineers did a little walk through Tollymore Forrest
and planned to wander round the Arboretum on return. However,
the walk included some steep gradients and turned out to
be a moderate walk. That said, we had some fabulous views
of Slieve Donard and the Mourne Mountains. Funnily enough
the mutineers were last back!!
Friday was the Antrim Way and I decided it
was a day of rest for me. My Mole reliably informed me that
they were walking through bogs and she was unsuitably dressed
in her sandals!! The ground was rough but the walk was well
signposted which was useful if you haven't recce'd it. The
Power Walkers did 15 miles and 2,000 ft of ascent. (I'm
dizzy at the thought.) Over coffee they were attacked by
midges! I didn't think "A" walkers had stops and
they had invented the phrase "food to go". They
spotted the Mods at Hightown Ridge and Agnew's Hill and
met up with them on Robin Youngs hill. A satellite group
shot off to climb an extra peak and unfortunately for them
it rained. Everyone managed to finish in the pub in Cairncastle.
It struck me that Northern Ireland was very
green with very friendly and welcoming people.
It was a good holiday, it didn't rain (apart from the last
day on a selected few), the sun shone occasionally, the
hotel was very comfortable and we all thank John for organising
it and to Pat for dealing with the room bookings.
Report by Barbara
Losehill Hall (Derbyshire) 2 nights -
4 to 6 September 2015
click here to view the hostel website
click here to view the photos by Martin H (external
Patterdale (Lake District) - 9 to 12 October
click here to view the hotel website
click here to view the photos by Martin H
(external website link)