Images of Events held in 2021
Solstice on Cave Hill 2021
Twenty-eight members met near Belfast Castle and walked to the top of Cave Hill to greet the sun at dawn on a summer solstice morning.
Image Nation NI join Cave Hill Community Campaign on a litter pick
We were approached recently by Sanjay Ghosh of the Indian community organisation Imager Nation NI who wanted to do something for the local community and environment. We agreed a litter lift to happen on 26th June. Around 15 members of that community, some members of the Green party and 7 of our directors spent more than 3 hours lifting litter across the hill. The Indian community members were lovely, full of enthusiasm and drive. At the end of the walk, they provided buns and delicious Indian tea (Chai). The youngest person there, Mia, seen below in her father's arms went the whole way over the top without complaint and with a ready smile. An enjoyable and heart-warming day for all!
Organizing the routes before setting out
Baby Mia and her father back at the Castle after the walk.
At McArt's Fort enjoying the rest - and the view.
Flowers of the Cave Hill
Twelve members joined botanist Karl Hamilton on 17 July for a sunny morning walk through Ballyaghagan to the top of Cave Hill. The return route was by the regular route to the Upper Hightown Road. Karl was a fount of knowledge and a very friendly guide to the wealth of flowers in the unimproved meadows beyond the car park. The weather was glorious and we were also treated to a great variety and number of butterflies. A really enjoyable outing.
The flowers in the photos are the common spotted orchid and the sneezewort.
Botanist, Karl Hamilton
The common spotted orchid and the sneezewort.
A bug Bonanza
Twelve members were led by Anna Hart of Buglife on a fascinating stroll around the park today to look at a wide variety of bumblebees, carder bees, sawflies, hoverflies, leaf hoppers, shield bugs, butterflies, moths and mites. An illuminating and informative outing - and there was no rain despite the dire forecast.
Bats of Cave Hill
Friday 7th September
Thirty members, including 6 children, met together at the Castle in the darkening evening and, guided by Aidan Crean, spent two hours looking for pipistrelle and Leisler's bats. I am sorry to report that our detectors picked up only a few pipistrelles and we saw no bats at all. It was a perfect evening, calm and temperate and that failure flags up the drop in bat numbers, probably linked to the widespread catastrophic drop in insect populations. We did however, find a roosting tree creeper (it's a bird!) and we enjoyed a dander in the dark.
Remodelling the Maze
The Maze, which was planted by CCC around the Millenium, is situated on the road up from the Gray's Lane/ Back Clinic entrance. Members are being invited to join in a long-overdue tidy-up; meeting at 10.00 on the second Saturday of each month at the Maze. The first session was on Saturday 11th September, (photos below), when members made a start in trimming the trees. These events are a great opportunity to meet other members, have a bit of craic and share in the work of conservation on the Cave Hill.
The Archaeology of Cave Hill
Twenty-two members met in the morning of 18th September and enjoyed a stroll in Ballyaghagan at the back of Cave Hill. The walk was led by local archaeologist Cormac McSparron. The weather was calm and warm with Belfast beneath us emerging from and disappearing under the rolling mist. Cormac made the whole complex history of the site understandable and he used the various remains to talk about the wider archaeology of Ireland. The morning was an entertaining and informative experience.
Week Two of
Remodelling the Maze
A damp morning did not deter nine of our members who gathered at the maze to continue our work in trimming the beech trees so they might thicken up and create a proper maze. Ten-year-old Alannah was the star of the show. After two sessions now, we are well through the task and another two sessions should complete the trimming. We will then have to repair the fence and plant trees to fill the gaps. We invite anyone who is a member to join us for the next work party on Saturday 13 November at 10. 00 am. Or come as long and join as a member on the day!
Cave Hill by Starlight
On Wednesday 6th October, ten members went for a starlit walk over Cave Hill. Unfortunately, the stars were hidden above a blanket of wet clouds. But being hardy souls, we went awalking anyway and headed for McArt's Fort. Over the first twenty minutes, the rain eased but the Newtownabbey lights disappeared as we climbed into the cloud. On the way down however, the cloud base lifted a little and the lights of Belfast accompanied us home. I have to say and we all agreed that despite the weather and the lack of stars, there was a magic in being out on Cave Hill at night. All attempts to take photos failed in the mist and darkness.
Thirty-seven members joined Debbie Nelson on a fungus walk in the Park Saturday 16th October morning. Everyone was amazed and enthralled by both the variety of fungi on show and also by Debbie's enthusiasm and comprehensive knowledge. To illustrate the hidden beauty to be found in the fungi world, I have included a photo of the porcelain fungus, so called because when held up to the sunlight, it reveals a colour and patterning reminiscent of the finest porcelain.
That was our last walk of 2021.
Our walks programme for 2022 is now available. Look out for it, and any updates. on FaceBook and here on our website.