Sun 21st August 2016, From Belfast to Armagh, c. 45 miles

From Belfast to Armagh. Left YHA at about 10am, after eating all the emptyings of the fridge back in Bfd. Veg sausages in heaps. Saw Botanic Garden – pleasant Palm House with a lovely pelargonium called Creamy Nutmeg, great scent. Also a superb Rose Garden pretty much at its zenith and mostly the roses were Irish and Scottish ones I didn’t know. No David Austin roses were seen. Then a quick visit to the Ulster Museum where the lovely painting The Watcher by Russell wowwed me – I’m a succour for radiant boggy landscapes with faery folk. Then on the B38 out of town for some miles and steadily uphill. Crossed the Falls road with all its Irish flags and ‘Remember Bloody Sunday’ murals, even an INLA clubhouse. The revenge tit for tats of the past, not the future I hope. I had two punctures as we climbed out of Belfast due to very littered roads. Belfast, like Bfd, is rich in the middle and mostly poor outside of this – lots of broken bottles, not a great deal of pride in their environment. Eventually reached Lough Neagh and followed the road near the shore. Had lunch at a broken down old quay. Then through Lurgan and down to Tandragee, great name! Then we followed the B78 and a very straight little lane that more or less, with a mile of A road, got us to Armagh. Where I had another puncture. Maybe new tyres? Replenished our calories with a big pasta and a bottle of local beer – Northern Brewing oak smoked and also their version of an alt bier. Great. Sleep was guaranteed. Oh, it rained pretty much all afternoon, with sunny spells in the morning. The youth hostel seems very quiet and has raised beds and sweet peas, so I’m satisfied that things are just right.

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