Gardening Magazine

101 Miles of the Ulster Way

By Chrryblossomtat2
Ott Car Park - Rostrevor

We slept in which wasn't the best start, especially as Andrew had taken the day off work to do this. But such is life and we know our gear so well that it didn't take long to get out the door and on our way. It happened so quickly in fact, I hadn't time to feel nervous.
101 miles of the Ulster Way
The Mourne Mountains are an hour away, a distance in which I get sleepy and cosy in my car seat. By the time we get to our starting point I'm not at all ready, mentally or physically - putting on that backpack and starting off is a struggle!
101 miles of the Ulster WayI'm into my stride by the time we've walked past Spelga dam, on the road. Then take a sharp left and down into the wilderness, into sheep territory and a fabulous bridge with a creepy skull! Welcome to Slievenamiskan.
101 miles of the Ulster Way
It's slow progress around the base of Slievenamiskan and Hen Mountain, as in the Mournes proper paths are few and far between. The land here is bog and with people, rain and sheep it becomes a waterlogged mess. It's a shame as we hikers end up destroying the land we're here to appreciate by having to make many alternate roots.
101 miles of the Ulster Way
The views were nice though - archaeo-hubby pointing out places of importance and horses in fields close by. The sheep were friendly enough and lead us round to the next big gravel path. Boy, this was a long uphill trudge that just seemed never ending and ever more windy. At the top I was wobbly and seeing spots!
101 miles of the Ulster Way
Lucky there wasn't much more to go - just the Rowan Tree River to cross and then we hunkered down for lunch.
101 miles of the Ulster Way With full tummys we went through true bog- as in we had to plot a course and run it! At the base of the coll we were able to take a drink of water and then, up, up, up tackling the rocky, boggy climb; sometimes losing the trail, but always going in the right direction. Getting the to top was a happy moment!
101 miles of the Ulster Way
Getting down a big hill that's wet, slippery and mucky with rocks sticking up here and there is not easy but by gum, I did it (with many a helpful hand). Our phones changed to Irish roaming tariffs here - always a little novelty near the border. At last, at the bottom we could rest a moment and take off those gaiters (stinking, slimy things by now).
101 miles of the Ulster Way
Then came the easy bit - lovely forest walks. Little birds singing, my usual 10 mile pains kicking in and the sweet bliss of ibuprofen. We walked on into the darkness and then a mile outside Rostrevor, booked a taxi. Celebrated passing the 100 mile mark of our journey with a high five and then had an all important energy boost - Cadbury fudge bars for the win!
101 miles of the Ulster WayWe got to the finish in plenty of time :) It was dark (the almost black photo is Andrew, by the light of my head torch. I used the flash on the camera for the last photograph; it was here that the taxi picked us up and took us back to the start and our sweet car.
* Chips on the way home! And another 12miles crushed beneath our feet - yay 🤗
Hugs
Carrie xxx

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