Ards to Conlig over the Lead Mines

Ards to Conlig over the Lead Mines

Our first walk of the New Year started at Bangor bus station with a group of eleven. We welcomed new member Irene from Donaghadee, who was introduced by Jackie before boarding the 09.35 bus to Newtownards.

We all headed off for the hills along the Crawfordsburn Road passing the impressive new Thriving Living Church where Brian suggested we go in for an early coffee break. Suitably refreshed we headed up the Mountain Road to the back entrance of the Lead mines. Leslie reminisced about his childhood days rolling Easter eggs in the sloping fields and later being a popular spot for courting couples.

The area known as Whitespots was established as a Country Park in 1995. The history of the mines began in 1780 when a farmer ploughing a field in Ballyleidy uncovered the lead ore in land belonging to Sir James Blackwood. Between 1849 and 1864 the area was mined for lead and continued to be so until 1910. For the last 60 years the Lead Mines has been synonymous with motorcycle scrambling and trials. We did see a few cycle scramblers.

Lake at the Lead Mines

We bypassed the Somme Centre and continued to the highest point at Helens Tower passing several disused engine sheds, towers and capped mine shafts. We were warned by Leslie about the presence of Arsenic in the lead ore in the spoil tips and that these may have to be grassed over for health and safety.

As Helens Tower was the last landmark which the WW1 troops, who trained here, saw before travelling to the Western Front, it was the model for the Theipval Memorial Tower in France.

We strolled back down through Clandeboye Golf Course to Conlig and to a café (Kaldi) in Green Road for refreshments where Betty and Peter joined us. (Some thought it was too cold for an outdoor picnic!).

Most walked back up to Conlig for the 14.15 bus back to Bangor and everyone enjoyed the dry calm day.

Maurice Mehaffey

 

Added by: RobbieJackson
Added on: Monday 7th January 2019

Category: Walkers

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