BANGOR

Beach at Seapark seen from train  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Beach at Seapark seen from train Photo: © Michael Fisher

With my car being serviced in preparation for an MOT I had no excuse for not walking today. So I took the train out to Bangor and walked along the North Down Coastal Path, part of which I had been on with friends on New Year’s Day when we went to Holywood. This time I walked nine miles all the way back to the point where we began last Wednesday, beside the train station at Holywood. It was a very pleasant dander with great views across Belfast Lough towards Whitehead, Kilroot and Carrickfergus. I took over three hours to complete my journey. The only bit of rain came when I reached Seapark, close to Holywood so I went looking for a place on the High Street to get some lunch and ended up in Coast. The last two miles was the worst because I was walking into a strong wind.

Beach at Seapark seen from train  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Beach at Seapark seen from train Photo: © Michael Fisher

View from train of coastal path near Holywood   Photo: © Michael Fisher

View from train of coastal path near Holywood Photo: © Michael Fisher

View from train of coastal path near Holywood   Photo: © Michael Fisher

View from train of coastal path near Holywood Photo: © Michael Fisher

HOLYWOOD

Coastal Path near Seapark, Holywood  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Coastal Path near Seapark, Holywood Photo: © Michael Fisher

Our walk on New Year’s Day at the start of the North Down Coastal Path began at Holywood and went past Seapark. The weather was reasonable for a brisk walk and the rain held off. Conditions along the path were very different today (Friday) because of the heavy rain and winds, which caused flooding at Holywood Esplanade.

Houses at Clanbrassil Terrace, Holywood  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Houses at Clanbrassil Terrace, Holywood Photo: © Michael Fisher

The path goes near a block of four large houses at Clanbrassil Terrace. These are listed buildings B2 according to the schedule and appear to be in good condition.

Stream flowing into the sea along the coastal path  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Stream flowing into the sea along the coastal path Photo: © Michael Fisher

It was a pleasant area for a walk and at some stage I hope to return to explore more of the shoreline along the way to Bangor. I noticed several birds including seagulls who took delight in searching among the rocks for mussels or other shellfish, picking them up in their beaks then taking off and dropping the shells from a height so that they would smash on the rocks or the concrete path, and then going back to try to recover their spoils.

Coastal Path near RNI Yacht Club Photo: © Michael Fisher

Coastal Path near RNI Yacht Club Photo: © Michael Fisher

TRAINS PLANES & BOATS

Coastal Path at Holywood  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Coastal Path at Holywood Photo: © Michael Fisher

On New Year’s Day I began a walk on the North Down Coastal Path. Car parking is available close to the entrance to the railway station and opposite the Dirty Duck pub, where a good selection of ale is available at the end of any walk. The path starts at the Esplanade at Holywood and when I set out with six others, the rain had eased off but it was very misty.

NIR train on the Bangor route at Holywood embankment  Photo: © Michael Fisher

NIR train on the Bangor route at Holywood embankment Photo: © Michael Fisher

The trains were running normally on a holiday timetable. But for the aircraft coming in to land at George Best Belfast City Airport, the conditions were quite murky. The low cloud base must have made things quite difficult for the pilots of the planes from flybe and Aer Lingus, who moved their services from Belfast International Airport fourteen months ago.

Wilson Brest cargo ship heading for Belfast port  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Wilson Brest cargo ship heading for Belfast port Photo: © Michael Fisher

Walking along the shore it was possible to watch some of the ships heading in and out of Belfast Harbour. The cargo ship Wilson Brest emerged from the mist heading towards the port. I could not see the name on the vessel, but looking at my photograph afterwards I discovered the name of the shipping company on the side and then found out this particular ship was due to arrive at 5pm, which coincided with the time of our walk.

Follow the linear path from Holywood along the outer edge of Belfast Lough towards Seapark, a recreational area with a play park. Continue past the park towards the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club in Cultra. A major programme is underway to repair the roof of the building and there is scaffolding all around it.

Stena Superfast VII heading for Cairnryan  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Stena Superfast VII heading for Cairnryan Photo: © Michael Fisher

The first vessel spotted at the start of the walk was the Stena Superfast VII ferry, heading from Belfast to Cairnryan in Scotland at 3:30pm. In the early days of the HSS fast ferry used by Stena, the wash created by it was so strong on both sides of the Lough that its speed had to be restricted until it entered the open sea. Later on when it was dark we saw its sister ship Stena Superfast VIII arriving from Cairnryan (at 5:45pm).

Stena Superfast VIII arriving from Cairnryan  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Stena Superfast VIII arriving from Cairnryan Photo: © Michael Fisher