We would like to share with you an afternoon both of us will remember as we rediscovered our love of facing the elements, enjoying the wonders of exploring by climbing to higher ground. We didn't have to travel too far although we were apprehensive before reaching our destination. After parking it only took a few minutes for us to feel we had made the right decision to visit Divis and the Black Mountain, an area neither of us had been to before. We used to climb a lot more with holidays in Southern of Ireland and across the water in the mainland UK. We put ourselves through the paces but these are the holidays we remember most despite crawling back to our cottage completely exhausted most nights! Due to circumstances we haven't been able to do things like this again but Sunday reminded us of the taste of our more adventurous side. Exhilarating and throughly enjoyable, cold but we blew the cobwebs away!
It was heartening to see families arriving to enjoy the snow and healthy exercise (don't tell the children!) The cars lined up, no complaining as people climbed through the snow to enjoy the view or a cup of coffee in the highest coffee shop in Belfast! The National Trust own and manage this area and have well marked trails which we intend to explore more in the coming months. Everyone passing spoke a few words of encouragement or warning about the ice, most useful!
I don't like all this 'selfie' idea people enjoy but this walk was a little different. I certainly wasn't taking a photo for people to admire but when an email arrived (yes half way up a mountain) it was a spontaneous reaction to take a selfie to share with our friend telling him that we were almost on top of the world, well Divis (it was the top of the world to me)
If you are reading this and are local and haven't been to this area we would recommend you to make a point of visiting. We regret putting our visit off for so long although it has now opened a new path for us to anticipate going back to. The fact there is an old barn style coffee shop up there is attractive to those who may not be wanting to exhaust themselves completely. It was very busy and we only peeked in to see inside although the snacks provided were more for chocolate, cake and bun lovers. I didn't expect the type of snacks dad could eat but I will be baking some healthy ones for our return visits and hopefully next time I can try the coffee.
Dad had more sense than me as I was so excited with anticipation of what was over the next hill that I would have kept on walking, sometimes knee deep in the snow. We came back down and it was only as we saw the car I knew my legs weren't going to take me much further. Well I did all of this on a small dish of sugar free jelly and a cup of skimmed milk! Dad had eaten his eggs and was looking forward to a roast turkey dinner. I had prepared the turkey in a Le Creuset casserole dish, left it slow roasting in the oven. We laughed as dad's reward was to sit down and eat his dinner, justifying his meal with the exercise while mine was to indulge in a cleansing balm with a warm cloth and then my skin care, refreshing my face, body and mind.
Joining the National Trust last year was the best thing we have done as we can choose to visit the more stately homes and gardens or enjoy some healthy exercise in the open air around the areas they are managing. Do we need to join a gym? Thankfully the great outdoors provides eduction and observation much better than cross training watching those bars.