NI Hospice Walk at Castle Ward

Today was the annual charity walk in aid of the Northern Ireland Hospice, so I met up with various family and friends at the Castle Ward Estate to complete the 5 mile walk. It was so much fun! I had a lovely day out. I took about ten thousand photos and can’t begin to post them all, but there are some below. In fact, I may be spamming you a bit today!! πŸ˜€

Castle Ward is owned by the National Trust and is set in stunning parkland sweeping down to Strangford Lough. The 18th century house itself is really interesting, as the Ward family who built it couldn’t decide what style to make it- the lady of the house wished for Gothic style of architecture whilst her husband preferred Classical. In an unusual move, they made one side of the house Gothic and one side Classical, and even the rooms on the inside are split in this style. It’s a lovely place to visit if stately homes are your bag. πŸ™‚ Sadly, the walk didn’t allow me to really get any good pictures of the house itself, to my irritation!


I brought the kids, and my brother Brian and friend Heather, in the car, and Ian followed us down on the motorbike. He was to look after the kids while the rest of us did the walk. We were also accompanied by my Dad and some of his friends, not to mention my Dad’s dogs Sophie and Bonzo, and a very special three legged doggie called Archie who is getting on a little in years, but who completed the first half of the walk with great enthusiasm!


The first loop of the walk took us in front of the house, and through the woods, with lovely views of the surrounding countryside. It was quite a clear day, so you could see across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man and Scotland, and see over to the Mourne Mountains which aren’t too far away.


When we got back to the start, which you had to go past to complete the second part of the walk, we were met by Ian and the kids, who had apparently wanted to come with us a little of the way.

This turned out to be a bad move- their little legs wouldn’t take them very far and Ian ended up with Ricky on his shoulders (he is big for his age and weighs a ton) pretty much all of the 2 1/2-3 miles…Robbie went mostly on my Dad’s shoulders and some of the time on Brian’s. πŸ˜€ Needless to say, they were all totally knackered by the time we finished!

My brother Brian with Robbie on his shoulders, and my partner Ian with Ricky weighing him down-


I don’t know why Dad, Brian and Heather are all looking at me like I just jumped out of a hedge with a knife, but they do…


The second loop of the walk took us around Temple Water, a man-made lake, and then down to the familiar woods and 15th century towerhouse at Audley’s Castle- regular readers will know that it’s a favourite haunt of mine.

Me and Heather at Temple Water-


Some from the woods at Audley’s Castle-




We then skirted the shoreline until we got back to the estate itself and climbed the hill back up the house and cars.

My Dad then treated us to a gorgeous meal in The Cuan, Strangford, and I had lovely crab claws and mussels.

I really enjoyed my day out, got lots of fresh air and exercise, and contributed to a really worthy cause. Thanks to everyone who walked with me for making it such a wonderful day!

12 Responses to “NI Hospice Walk at Castle Ward”

  1. 1 Sara
    April 4, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I’m so jealous of all the beautiful Ireland scenery! I so want to come for a visit now!

    And you look great! Looks like you had a lot of fun on your walk and for such a good cause. Plus, it’s good practice for your run in May! Keep up the good work!

    It was a great day and a lot of fun! Yes, I need to keep at it for my run in May. πŸ™‚

  2. April 4, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Looks like you had a great time and for a great cause too.

    Lovely photos. πŸ™‚

    Thanks, though don’t you find this kind of stuff boring?! πŸ˜› We had a lovely time. I’d go again tomorrow if I could!

  3. April 5, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Wow, what a great day! Cheers to you.

    Thanks Shari! πŸ™‚

  4. 4 Jenny
    April 5, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Seems like a fun day out (maybe more fun for those who were not carrying sturdy children). I LOL’d at the dirty looks you were getting in the knife murderer photo.

    I know! I even gave them warning and asked them to smile!!!!

  5. April 5, 2009 at 4:57 am

    You know I’d love some interior pictures…but these are nice too. I am glad you could get out and get some fresh air and some exercise!

    Heather and I are planning to go back in a couple of weeks and take a tour of the house, so I will post photos of that. If you mean pics of my own house, the reason you see so few is that my house is small and not really worth looking at, plus I am a lamentable housekeeper and the house has been trashed by my children. πŸ˜€

  6. 6 Emma C
    April 5, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I love Audley’s too and you’re looking great!

    It’s been a favourite of mine since my pregnancy with Ricky- I used to go for a walk there every weekend until I got too big to go over the stile! πŸ˜€

  7. April 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Great photos Suzy – especially the picture with the surprised look on everyones face!
    Must take a walk around there sometime soon. We went to Scrabo tower a couple of weeks ago – such a disappointment – much smaller than I remember as a child…
    Good to see the better weather crawling through lately – hopeful for a decent summer and lots of BBQs!

    That’s funny- we went to Scrabo last year and really enjoyed it! Ricky and I climbed to the top of the tower and the views were mesmerising! πŸ™‚ I hope we’ll get invited to your traditional birthday BBQ… πŸ˜€

  8. April 5, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I LOVE when you show up in the photos!! I’d love to walk around there too…as long as I didn’t have to carry anyone. Hee!

    I think the whole carrying thing did take the gilt off it for Ian and Dad! πŸ™‚

  9. 9 layla2376
    April 5, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Great pics. More power to you that you did that walk yesterday & still made it this morning. I think we scared the hill a little too ….just a very small little that is xxx

    Another week or two and the hill will shit itself when it sees us coming… πŸ˜€

  10. April 5, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    no time to read all the comments, but wanted to say how proud I am of you. I had to laugh as it looked like you were the only one in your group dressed for walking. tee hee….

    oh and I have lugged Sugar on my shoulders on a hike once….for about a mile. and man….it is hard work. ugh.

    loved the pics. so beautiful there.

    It wasn’t a very serious walk, so it didn’t matter! πŸ˜€ Actually it was freezing when we got out of the car and then the sun came out and it got very warm! So, some of the group were a little over dressed!

  11. April 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Looks like you had a great day and what a gorgeous location to walk around in!

    It was lovely- and I thought about you lots like I told you I would! xxx

  12. April 6, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I’ve been on the losing end of that “I wanna walk! No, wait, now I’m tired, carry me on your back for 2 miles” thing before. Hope Ian had a good ride to make up for that!

    The stone walls up top – there are many places in the central part of this state that have walls built exactly like that. I was told that it’s a dying art, that finding people who can build or even repair existing ones is getting very hard. It’s a shame – they’re beautiful.

    It’s the same here- it really is a dying art and a lot of those walls end up in terrible disrepair. They are lovely. At least your son is now old enough to walk ALL the way!!!

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