and Down, Northern Ireland. SPARTAN
RED SOX activities during the deadly strike of Foot and Mouth.
Spartans as might be expected from their reputation, were undeterred by
the dreadful cattle pestilence and took up other things. Some remarkably
fine weather in the Ulster Province this year (2001), induced many of us
to seek out oil-can and bicycle pump and make for the roads. Seemingly
flat when travelling by car to a ramblers rendezvous on the coast,
the Ulster roads had more ups and downs than any of us imagined. Hardened
walking muscles were quite useless even on a modest circuit of Island Magee
and showed up weaknesses in the anatomy that were never thought to exist.
Fortunately the island is well equipped with ice-cream stores to re-supply
flagging energy reserves on a hot afternoon.
those who were not into biking, there was always the wonderfully scenic
coasts of Antrim and Down. As on can observe, those Mountains of Mourne
really do sweep down to the sea. New muscles were again put to the test
when feet had to be repetitively dragged out of soft sand, wet or dry.
But the prospect of visiting the new coffee shops opening in Newcastle
and Dundrum was a strong source of motivation to finish before sundown.
"..Sweeping down to the sea!"
myself, I headed to the Polish/Slovakia border, shown dramatically here
as the ridge of the dividing mountain range. To the north, Poland under
a blanket of mist and cloud. To the south, Slovakia bathed in sunlight.
This is a wonderful ridge walk, famous in the Tatras and accessible by
cable-car. Good quality low cost accommodation is available in the foothills
(I would be happy to recommend), and on the Polish side, minibuses race
around the suburbs of Zakopane solving all transport problems for foreigners.
The mountain ridge peaks
provide climbing of all grades of difficulty, detailed maps are readily
available and paths, trails and lines of ascent are marked in colour on
both maps and the mountain side. But be prepared, its alpine country!
||Crystal clear emerald-green
lakes abound in the Tatras. This is a second-level lake known as the Black
Lake (Czarny Staw pod Rysami, although quite clearly green); it is a short
climb above the the famous Morskie Oko lake, 'The Eye of the Seal.' The
Black Lake is surrounded on three sides by peaks and glaciers, including
Mount Rysy, the highest peak of the Tatras, towering over all with
menacing presence . A truly wonderful point to arrive at!
a walking group catering for all ages, are still very much active and may
contacted through Ronnie Carser,e-mail: email@example.com
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT
THE NI COUNTRYSIDE IS NOW OPEN!