Last Sunday morning was spent enjoying quality time with my dad, taking a bracing walk along Divis and Black Mountain. These mountains sit in the heart of the Belfast hills and give you spectacular views of the Belfast landscape and far beyond (to Scotland and Cumbria on a clear day). The mountains came into the care of the National Trust back in 2004 (the land was previously owned by the Ministry of Defence) and thanks to their work, it is now accessible to the general public. There are a number of walking trails in place which allow you to enjoy the best views the site has to offer.
It was a rather mean and moody morning weather wise, with strong winds and menacing clouds, but that just seemed to add to the raw beauty of the place. So close to the city, but yet it felt like a wilderness.
At least 1,000 feet above sea level, it is naturally an exposed environment, but with the wind in our faces, we walked for a few miles taking in the views, stopping to admire the trees clinging on and the delicate wildflowers growing in the heathland.
I especially loved this wooden boardwalk, carving out a trail to the summit of Black Mountain.
We didn’t quite make it to the summit of Black Mountain as it was a bit too windy that morning, but , all in all, a great place to stretch the legs, blow off the cobwebs and enjoy the natural beauty on our own doorstep. A chance to chat with my dad and reflect on life in general. It was great to see plenty of people out walking with their children and dogs. And for any tourists visiting Belfast, I thought this would be a great place to come and see Belfast from a different perspective. These mountains form the backdrop to Belfast and it is another sign of progress that everyone can now explore this green space just a few miles from the city centre.
Feeling reinvigorated after a 3 mile windswept walk, it was lovely to stop at the end for a well deserved cappuccino at the National Trust’s coffee barn. No cake on this occasion for me though !
For more information, you can visit the National Trust website to learn more about opening times, the various walking trails etc.