A record of my cycling trips in Britain and abroad


Strangford Lough reprise

dscf9356.jpgOk, I have quite a few updates to add here. Yesterday, I took a ride down to Strangford Lough - specifically to Nendrum; more on this shortly. However, the big ride to write up is from last week, when I went off to the West Coast. I meant to write that trip up as soon as I returned, but work sort of took over for the week. I’m pleased with work though, I managed to submit two papers (one conference paper, and one revised journal article), so it was certainly a productive week from that point of view. I’ll write up last week’s trip soon, but without further ado, here’s a quick description of yesterday’s ride…

dscf9358.jpgI’ve been to Strangford Lough a few times now; it’s pretty, there’s not too much traffic (though it’s far from quiet, sadly), and it’s also easily accessible from Belfast along the Comber greenway. I’m impressed with the standard of the greenway - the surface is smooth tarmac all the way, and there are only a few road crossings. The route also has some very pleasing curves in, ones that are just sufficient to make it feel like you’re turning without really having to slow down. What could be described as sweeping.

dscf9359.jpgYesterday, I headed out for a shortish ride towards Nendrum. This is an old ruined monastery and settlement from the 10th century, and it’s about 15 miles or so from Belfast, heading along the greenway. The weather yesterday was perfect, and we had a lovely ride outwards, stopping briefly to look at Espie nature reserve.

dscf9360.jpgWhen we arrived, we had a wander round the ruins of the monastery, and sat down in its shelter facing toward Whiterock, the appropriately-named town glittering in the sunshine on the shore of the lough. (Nendrum technically sits on what was an island, though it’s now connected to the mainland by a causeway.) A lazy lunch of excellent sandwiches, followed by raspberrys and other fruit followed. After lunch, we headed a little way back up the shore of the lough before finding - after a little trail riding - a beach, where I had a lovely little swim. dscf9362.jpgThe water was chilly but not cold, and very clear; a breeze was sending small waves across the fetch from the far shore, and these slapped into my chest as I swam, head up, out from the beach. (Ok ok, I wasn’t swimming head down. It wasn’t that warm and I still had the ride home to think about.)

After the swim, it was back on the bikes to retrace our steps to Belfast. Definitely one of the nicest rides around Belfast, I think!