Scrabo (19th February 2022)

Arriving at Newtownards under a grey weeping grey sky, we got kitted up with our wet gear before setting off for a coastal path. We walked along the Flood Bank Path with open views of Strangford Lough to our left. The tide was afar though the remaining water gave the sandy surface a silvery shine. Beyond the green fields to our right, Scrabo Tower stood alone upon the hill in the distance along a grey horizon. At the end of the path we were tasked with walking the plank over a river that separated us from the adjacent field. After emerging from the swampy field, the group separated into two. One group heading straight for Scrabo Hill and the other going on a detour to Island Hill. As the groups parted ways, so too did the clouds revealing a clear blue sky and inspiring sunshine. A tranquil country lane guided us to Island Hill were we took a break and enjoyed the moment. The low tide revealed a pathway that lead to Rough Island. We walked the perimeter of the Island surrounded by peaceful waters and blissful scenery. We walked back up the country lane listening to some fascinating stories with the sunshine in full glow. After crossing the dual carriageway, we sauntered up another countryside paradise before reaching Killynether Wood. The woods were charming and filled with the sweet song of chirping birds. The forest trail was steep and offered magnificent views on the way up to Scrabo Tower. We reached the top and had lunch at the foot of the tower. Scrabo Hill presented amazing views of Newtownards, Strangford Lough and the surrounding countryside. Next up was our descent down Scrabo Hill. We took the steepest option and successfully adventured down a muddy freefall back onto a trail that took us back towards a buzzing Newtownards town. This was a great hike that had something for everybody; beautiful coastal scenery, countryside tranquillity, charming forests, hilltop views and challenging terrains.

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