Horses and mountains

20 minutes up the hill out of Belfast there is the very wild and usually quite windy, Divis Mountain. The views are breathtaking. However a gentle 4K leg stretcher became a bog yomp due to horses asses. I jest not: We decided we had time to check out the Heath Walk on National Trust managed, Divis Mountain. (This was a ‘test’ walk for walkitoffni – I don’t take clients on walks I haven’t assessed). The Heath walk is around bog land and pretty mucky but we weren’t bothered until the markers disappeared. We decided that going upwards would be the drier option and we would soon find another marker or path. How wrong we were! An hour of sinking up to our knees in squelching bog and yomping from heather clump to heather clump slightly tarnished the joy of seeing bog cotton scattered like thousands of fairy ice-queen’s cloaks, flowing in the shivering grasses. The endorphins kicked in after a while and we giggled at our soggy toes and steamy clothes. At one stage we could see Lough Neagh, the Sperrins, Belfast Lough and the Mournes. We had to stop and drink in the fabulous view ( and wait for our hearts to stop thundering quite so hard!) It wasn’t until we got back to the coffee shop that we were told that the horses use the signs and posts for scratching and that they had “probably knocked them over”. Thanks for the advance warning! We damn well earned our coffee and bun from the cute Café! Bangor, Walled Garden, Sculpture Exhibition, Flowers, Beauty Later this week we walked it off further afield in Bangor Castle’s Walled Garden.  45 minutes from Belfast.   The fountain is my favourite of all those I have ever seen and I am pretty well-travelled.  I love its flower-like petals and it’s simplicity.  I adore fountains and water features. There is a sculpture exhibition on in the garden on until 25th June and these sculptures in the fountain made me laugh out loud.  Perfect positioning! The Walled Garden is an amazing space.  The planting is out of this world and the colours glorious.  A stunning place to walk it off and find serenity and beauty. I have a close friend called Shadow.  He makes me laugh when he stalks me and runs up the tree. He even has a Facebook page. Isn’t he gorgeous? (This is him, up the tree, stalking me.) Glorious weather to Walkitoff at the  Maritime Festival. Delicious thin-crust pizzas and excellent oceanic diversions for both adults and kids.  Even a mini beach! Happened upon the Belfast Baking Company stall and resistance was futile. Lemon Meringue Eclair. I just had to. Devastated they are closing their bistro in the Titanic quarter before I got a chance to eat there but heartened that they still have a bakery! I will travel for eclairs! Long may this glorious weather continue.  Contact me and we’ll Walkitoff in the warmth together. L8rs.  Nikki

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