Gortin and Ballymoyer - 26 April 2018


We offered two outstanding loop walks, each taking in the summit of Mullaghcarn.

Mike led a big loop walk to Mullaghcarn starting in Gortin Village (see map right or click on it for an enlarged version). It's BT79 8PH on your satnav.

STARTING: 10:59am in Gortin village. There is ample road-side parking available.
WALKING DISTANCE: 9 miles / 14.4 Km
PRINCIPAL HEIGHT: Mullaghcarn (542m)
DESCRIPTION: Clear paths & tracks from Gortin to the summit; vague path down from the summit; clear track and roads back to Gortin.

John led an intermediate loop walk also to Mullaghcarn but starting in Gortin Forest Park and incorporating sections of the Nature Trail and Ladies' View Trail.

STARTING: 11:01am in Gortin Forest Park car park .
WALKING DISTANCE: 6 miles / 9.6 Km
PRINCIPAL HEIGHT: Mullaghcarn (542m)
DESCRIPTION: Clear paths & forest tracks to the summit with steep gradients in places.

For more pics of the walks at Mullaghcarn click here.


Ruth will led a shorter walk in the delightful Ballymoyer Forest.

Ballyhornan and Slieve Roosley - 19 April 2018

Disappointing weather at Ballyhornan and dreadful plastic debris especially at Saint Patrick's Well. Even if the weather let us down the views and the craic were great and, for John at least, fish bought afterwards at Ardglass more than compensated. Apologies for incomplete directions to Ballyhornan - I hope nobody's still out there and lost. I will fix directions for next time.

A page from Heather's diary

THURSDAY: On what was forecast to be the hottest day of the year so far, the ever hopeful Cedars swopped woolly hats and gloves for sunglasses and factor 50 and headed for the coast. I must admit I was somewhat misty eyed at the thought of a walk on the bright side. However, I didn't mean that to be taken literally as the sea mist swirled about us upon reaching Ballyhornan! This resulted in some hopeful rummaging in rucksacks for forgotten hats and gloves as the temperature dropped accordingly. Undeterred, we took to the path, trusting our imagination to fill in the gaps as the lovely coastal scenery ebbed and flowed in the poor visibility. What we were able to see all too clearly was the detritus deposited on the shore by the winter storms and what a sickening sight it was. Plastic in all its shapes and forms; even the grassy hillocks we were walking over had a plastic underlay.

Gordon left at one point to collect the bus and we followed John on a route that probably hasn't yet made it onto Google maps. The rocks, sand and plastic eventually ran out and we ended up in a field where we trod carefully to avoid the squelchy droppings of the bovine variety. Our pace quickened as Eileen claimed to have spotted the creature responsible for said droppings and we scrambled to safety over the farm gate. At a T junction, John and his harem turned left to sample the fishy delights of Ardglass, whilst the rest of us turned right following Brian to the liquid temptations of the pub.

Gordon eventually rounded up the drivers, delivering them to their cars and as we set off home out came the promised sunshine. Another great walk, despite the poor conditions, with lots of craic and sure what else would we have been doing? Relaxing in our gardens away from the coast, enjoying the sunshine with a glass of wine??...perish the thought!

Mike's crew had more luck with the weather and a great walk from Leitrim Lodge to Slieve Roosley.

For more pics of the walk at Slieve Roosley click here.

Meelmore and Meelbeg - 12 April 2018

A page from Heather's diary

THURSDAY: Spring had certainly not sprung in the Mournes, seeming more like the 'season of mists' but without the mellow fruitfulness, as the intrepid Cedars ventured forth in a valiant attempt to redress the balance of an over indulgence of Cadbury creme (sic) eggs. The 'spring lambs', nimbly led by balaclaved Mike, forged ahead skipping over Meelmore, Meelbeg and beyond whist the less frisky of us chose a circuitous, though nonetheless arduous route, being carefully shepherded by Gordon and John. They would have needed some sheepdogs on occasions to round us up as plaintive cries of 'Helloo where are you? I can't see you!' echoed around the mountain. Finding the elusive Mourne Wall in the mist was like finding the holy grail, resulting in an early lunch to give us the necessary energy for the final push to the top.

Summit reached: now for the difficult bit, the long and winding, muddy and rocky 'road' down as we circumnavigated Meelmore. At least, that was what we were told we did as that big lump of rock was invisible to all but the eagle eyed leaders. Like shrouded monks we trudged sheeplike out of the mist onto the Trassey Track, smelling the coffee as the last stile came into view. Mission accomplished; all present and correct (I think!); grateful thanks to Gordon and John for keeping up our spirits and for their navigational skills in somewhat difficult conditions. Also thanks to Tom M for spiriting Gordon and me away at speed for a date with a bridge table where we could attempt to exercise our few remaining brain cells assuming we didn't nod off in the meantime.

Well done Heather and everyone who endured the dreadful conditions in the Mournes - the ordeal will prove its worth when we get to Donegal. Next week we have been promised that the "W" word - "Warmer" - will be reintroduced into the weather forecaster's vocabulary. That gives you plenty of time to dig out the shorts and the sun cream!

Confirmation of the walk location to follow but meet at Jethro Centre by 9:45am for car share and minibus, or PRFC at 9:30 for car share.

For more pics of the walks at Meelmore and Meelbeg click here.


Slieve Croob - 22 March 2018

On 22nd March we walked at Slieve Croob, legendary source of the mighty river Lagan – it starts just a few metres away from the first waymark post at the top of the road up to the transmitter masts. These were the walks postponed earlier due to snow on roads.

The forecast for the day suggested we might have rain by lunchtime but we were fortunate to finish the walk (all too soon) in dry, if rather cool and windy, weather. So it was another perfect day for walking. We will restart our organised walks after the Easter break but keep active as it won't be long now to the residential!

For more pics of the walk at Slieve Croob click here.

Magical Mystery Tour to Abbey Road and beyond - 15 March 2018

We resisted pleas from our sub-aqua group to follow our traditional walk on the Thursday closest to Saint Patrick's day i.e. Saint Patrick's trail; foul weather overnight on Wednesday was expected to leave the ground even more waterlogged than usual. With the prospect of rain and wind easing off during Thursday morning we knew we were in for another perfect day for walking and we weren't disappointed.

Taking the train to Sydenham we disembarked and at the top of the stairs to the footbridge we set off in two groups - those who didn't know where they were going and those who waited to be told - it was a pattern of behaviour to be repeated later in the day. But we eventually regrouped and set off via Victoria Park, the Connswater Greenway to C.S. Lewis Square where we had a comfort stop and an unplanned cuppa for a few of the walkers.

Kathleen sat down just long enough to have her photo taken beside C.S. Lewis's wardrobe before we again set off along the Comber Greenway to Belfast's very own Abbey Road where we grabbed the chance to take some pics before heading into the grounds of the Stormont estate for 1:00pm lunch in the Mo Mowlem children's park.

Refreshed and reinvigorated, we then headed up to Stormont Buildings and despite our best efforts we were unable to detect much life about the place, so after a few more photo opportunities we made our way down to Massey Avenue and the bus back to the city centre.

Some of us decided that the walk back to the city centre might do us some good and set off at a brisk pace down the Belmont Road and Newtownards Road stopping along the way to enjoy some much needed refreshment and the paintings at Bittles Bar on Victoria Street. The walk was 18Km or 11.25miles. You can view the route of the walk (or rather the route as far as the Great Eastern Pub on the Newtownards Road) by clicking HERE

A few members of the group extended their magical mystery tour by catching the Bangor train for their return home but some helpful members of the public redirected them and it is believed they eventually made it back. Navigation lessons will be offered at a later date. Despite this, and even though we didn't get to enjoy the La Scala Menu at Stormont Hotel, a great day was had by all.

For more pics of the walk to Abbey Road and Stormont click here.

Martine B. prepares to re-enter Stormont in her new role as First Minister, leading her new multi-party coalition Brian B. maintains a dignified vigil at the foot of the steps up to Stormont after the Executive's failure to offer him a portfolio. Sir Edward Carson waves goodbye to Cedars Walkers following their visit to "Stor-mount"

Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor - 08 March 2018

Our planned walk at Slieve Croob was postponed because of difficult driving conditions anticipated in the area and instead we set off for an early start at Kilbroney Park. The forecast was for a lovely day with sunshine expected from 1:00pm; it arrived a little later than hoped for and the mountain tops were covered in mist as we approached their sumits but we nevertheless enjoyed another great day's walking.

Gordon and Ruth led two of Kilbroney's classic walks starting at Kilbroney Park. Meanwhile thirteen walkers caught the No. 39 Kilkeel bus from Kilbroney Park to the foot of Kilfeaghan Road where Mike led a 9Km mountain walk which included Knockshee (347m), Slievefadda and Slieve Martin (485m) before making the descent through the forest back to rejoin the rest of the group for refreshments and craic in Synge and Byrne's newly refurbished café at Kilbroney.

Kilfeaghan Portal Tomb

Some of Mike's group paid a visit to Kilfeaghan portal tomb, a megalithic dolmen standing on the eastern slopes of Knockshee, County Down on a farm overlooking Carlingford Lough. Early excavataions at the site, which is believed to be around 4,000 years old, unearthed various bones and pottery.

The chamber of the dolmen has an enormous capstone at least 2½ metres long by about 1½ metres thick; it weighs an estimated 35 to 40 tons and is believed to be one of the biggest in Ireland. The capstone stands on two portal stones which have partly sunk into the ground. The whole stucture sits on a cairn (now mostly disappeared) at least 15 metres long.

For more pics of the walk from Kilfeaghan to Slieve Martin click here.

North Down Coastal Path and Oxford Island - 01 March 2018

March - "In like a lion, out like a lamb"

The proverb seems to be holding true so far. The North Down Coastal walk was cancelled due to poor weather and uncertainty about public transort. John drove down to Lough Neagh Discovery Centre to check that the planned walk at Oxford Island could go ahead. Baltic temperatures and strong winds from the east had dumped snow and ice on roads and there occasional was the white out as snow was dislodged from the trees by the wind. The road down to Oxford Island was ungritted and the snow deeply rutted. Ominously, though there were some cars parked at rear of the centre, there was no evidence of cars leaving. Then just before 10:00am, as the café was about to open to serve breakfasts, staff advised that everyone had to get out as the road was to be closed. Four of us had braved the elements to get there and were determined to have a walk. Lurgan Park seemed a safer option however, as we got there, it was closing too so we had to make do with pancakes and an Ulster Fry in New Haven Café - it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Carol, Gordon, John, Barbara and friend enjoy the snow. Click to enlarge

It would take more than a bit of snow to stop these brave souls walking - Geralyn, Paddy Mac, Marian and Paddy C.

Looking for Cedars Walks in January/February 2018? Click HERE.

Looking for Cedars Walks at end of 2017? Click HERE.

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Cedars: August to October 2017. Cedars: first half of 2017. Cedars: autumn 2016 .
XCedars: summer 2016. Cedars: spring 2016. Cedars: 2015 .