Castle Ward and a long walk.

So Saturday was a walking day and I planned to visit Castle Ward near the town of  Strangford, County Down. I arrived around 10am and after paying my admission cost I parked up and grabbed my gear. The walking route for the day was the Castle Ward boundary trail.

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It’s the trail marked in red and listed at 15 km in length. This being my first time walking here I packed light. A trail mix bar to eat and a small bottle of water along with my Nikon and two lens. A 50mm and a 100mm primes, no tripod and a rain jacket. Never forget a rain jacket in Ireland its a must have. This walk was a scouting walk to check the place for a few photo days. Most photo taken with the 50 mm lens until about three quarters round the walk. then with the 100 mm lens.

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The above photographs are the first buildings you see at the trail beginning. This was the farm area on the estate, with the last shot looking back has I headed out on the trail. It’s here your will walk part of the lough shore with the town of Portaferry visible on the far bank with windmill hill above it. With a light breeze coming of the water it was a lovely day out.

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The fist building you see is the boat house on the shore with Portaferry in the distance. A small car ferry runs from there to the town of Strangford which is near Castle Ward.

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Turn a corner and this is the 15th-century Audleys Castle which you will see for the next kilometre or so for the walk. The trail here is easy walking on a good path.Castle Ward 2018-2263.jpgCastle Ward 2018-2271.jpgCastle Ward 2018-2277.jpg

The last photo above was looking back just before the trail entered the woods and the trail goes to a single track which was wetter in places.Castle Ward 2018-2279.jpg

And leaving the woods and into open farm land which was the least photographic stretch of the trail.

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A long winding path with the best views behind me, so a little detail.Castle Ward 2018-.jpg

The rust and handle detail caught my eye and the twisted and weather beaten old hawthorn in the one below.

 

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Then back into the woods again.

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A short road section followed before turning left into a lane way.

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Built into the dry stone wall was this, which I take was a step to climb up into the ground above. But it also works has a great seat for a short break.

It was here that I missed a turn off and walked for a kilometre or so before realising my mistake, so backtracking I still could not find my turn off point. The way marker had be removed and the gate tied close in two places so climbing over I was back on track. Given the amount of boot marks in the mud on the lane it looked like I was not the only person to miss the turning. It was also the first rain I encountered on the walk. So with the camera packed in its waterproof bag I started to climb the twisting up hill path. A few people on mountain bikes passed with legs going quicker that  the ground they were covering. At the top I met them again having a break so a quick chat and I climbed the last short steep track to the viewing point.

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Done a short handheld video here but have not edited it yet. Once more the rain returned so I was a few more Kilometres on before the sun returned.

I changed over to the 100 mm lens from here on. This is the first view of Castle Ward house.

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Back out into open county side and views across the lough.

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That is the end of the Ards peninsula on the far side. The trail turns muddy and narrow from here till I get into more woodland.

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Easy riding for those that are in no hurry.

 

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Looking on the side of Castle Ward house.

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There were plenty of Snowdrops growing around the grounds and the new shoots of the Bluebell starting to grow for there display in a couple of months time.

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Into the open ground again and good views again, also a few trail rides out enjoying the trail.

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My last shot of the day is this magnificent tree. At this point I am around 15 minutes from the finish. Around 5 minutes after this photo the wind picked up and a heavy rain shower came in. So dropping down to a wood lined lane beside the shore I finish to the sound of water. The waves lapping and the rain hitting the hood on my jacket.  I enjoyed my day and damp and tired with a smile on my face I reached for the car keys, remove my pack and jacket. Changed my boots and turned my face to the sky and said thank you to the universe.

Thank you for  visiting, take care.

George.

 

 

 

 

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