Saturday 17th November 2018
Ballycarton Nature Reserve, Binevenagh – 11 miles
To mark 5 years of our wee walking group we decided to revisit Binevenagh which was our very first walk in November 2013.
After parking at Swann’s Bridge picnic area, and a short walk along the Sea Coast Road, we entered into Ballycarton Nature Reserve and started making our ascent through the forest.
It was a lovely dry morning but unfortunately misty, low cloud was shrouding Binevenagh. Ever the optimist I really thought it would lift but as we continued to climb it was becoming evident that it was looking less & less likely. So we stuck to the main forest trail and took the long way up!
After a very long and endless track uphill, heading up into the mist, we eventually reached the freshwater lake at the top carpark. Unfortunately there were no views to reward our efforts today. In fact the visibility at the lake was so poor we could just about see it, and the cliff edge was total whiteout! There was also a dramatic drop in temperature and a brisk breeze was stirring up waves on the lake. So after a quick group selfie at the top we had little choice but to return back down the same way. We managed to get out of the breeze for a spot of lunch before continuing on re-energised. We could see the sun shining on the fields below but kept moving at a good pace to keep warm!
As we approached the bottom again we took a slight detour towards St Aidan’s church through the ancient woodland and into the graveyard. From the church we followed the road down to the Sea Coast Road at Bellarena Primary School. The final mile was on the footpath beside the busy coast road. Binevenagh was teasing us as the late afternoon sunshine tried to break up the cloud … however, Binevenagh refused to reveal itself for us!
Despite the disappointment of not being able to walk our original planned route it was still a great leg stretch covering 11 miles – a great way to mark the 5 years and 60 walks that we’ve explored!
[The irony of a typical Northern Ireland weekend was that we woke to glorious blue skies on Sunday morning with perfect conditions for a walk up Binevenagh – c’est la vie!]
Anyway, another really enjoyable walk with great company and here’s to LOTS more walking in the years ahead!