Christmas Lunch and The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Christmas Lunch and The Parable of the Lost Sheep

 Traditionally the Walkers combine a short walk with an end of year lunch and in December we got a beautiful day for our last ‘dander!’ of the year. Fifteen turned out for what proved to be a careful walk along the Coastal Path from Carnalea. Some slippery surfaces but walking on the grass helped. We had refreshments afterwards in the Pickie cafe. Then it was off to Royal Ulster for our Christmas lunch. We had a party of 30 in the Gloucester Room and the food and service were excellent.

Then come New Year and it was off to the Roe Valley Country Park for the first walk of 2018.

Led by Brian the group of ten enjoyed a memorable drive in the winter sunshine to the Country Park and a stunning walk along the banks of the River Roe. The park is approximately 3 miles long and consists of mainly deciduous woodland on each side of the river. The terrain next to the river is mostly steep sided gorge, with some areas of flat grassland on the northwest bank. As the river has a large, freely draining catchment area, it significantly increases in volume and speed soon after heavy rain, making it attractive for kayakers, and indeed there were several on the water. The valley was famous for its linen industry and the Green Lane Museum has exhibits on this and on local history, agriculture and artifacts of rural life. The remains the remains of the flax drying fields with watch towers, derelict buildings and a waterwheel are still there. There is also a disused hydroelectric generating station which was the first to operate in Northern Ireland. In 1897 a Major John Edward Ritter began the construction of the Hydro Electric Power House to supply electricity to his home, Roe Valley House, (now the Radisson Hotel) and eventually, in 1924, the town of Limavady. It operated until 1946 when the now NIE took over, continuing operations until the 1960s.

Roe Valley kayakers

The walkers (refreshed in the coffee shop beforehand) headed off from the Dog Leap car park along the west bank all the way upstream, finally across a Bowstring Bridge to the Carrick Rocks Church. On the way, some of the group noticed three sheep stranded beside the river. Other walkers said they would report it to the park staff. Several groups of kayakers were active on the river taking advantage of the high water shooting the old weirs along the way.

Having reached the church perched on a cliff edge in a picturesque location high above a wooded gorge it was time for lunch. Then it was down again (a bit of a scramble!) to the river bank and back along the east side towards the Visitors’ centre. On the way back we noticed that the lost sheep were still in the same predicament.

Not to be deterred Susan climbed over the fence having noticed a farmer working in the field and told him about the ‘stranding’. This was not the first instance of ‘lost sheep’ that day, as three of our group had become separated and headed off in the wrong direction, only to be gallantly rescued by Robert. A case of Three Lost Sheep x 2!

The walk ended with the usual refreshments in the Visitor Centre and then it was another picturesque journey home to end a day of what turned out to be wall –to– wall sunshine.

The next walk is on 3rd February in Tollymore Forest Park.

Added by: RobbieJackson
Added on: Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Category: Walkers

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