The 10 Forest Parks 30 mile Fling, (sequel to The Forest Challenge previously reported) took place on Sunday 2nd March 2014).
The start was at Barnett Demense, South Belfast and the finish was Scrabo Tower, Newtownards. The route took in 10 Forest parks in an order of Barnett, Belvoir, Cregagh Glen, Stormont, Redburn, Helen’s Bay, Blackwood, Helen’s Tower, Leadmines and Scrabo. This was a continuous run linking these forests up by use of tow-paths, Comber Way, North Down Coastal Path, Clandeboye Way and Ulster Way. 6 checkpoints were in place to ensure club members safety and welfare.
10 dedicated Barfers turned up on the start line at 10am to take the challenge, some preparing for the real Fling on The West Highland Way in April. The weather was overcast, but rain soon followed us for most of the way giving a good opportunity to test gear. The first checkpoint at Stormont main gates was reached at 8.3m, followed by Seapark 14m, Helen’s Bay 19m, Helen’s Tower track junction 24m, Quarry dump Ards 27m and finally Scrabo Tower track entrance on Old Belfast Rd 29m, just before the final climb to the finish line at the top at 30 mile. Thankfully the sun greeted us with our final climb up Srabo and provided perfect conditions for Après fling.
As always with Barf, the craic was mighty, smiles at the start…and the end, and even bigger smiles when the pizza arrived and champers popped. A great achievement by all, with some tough running in the conditions and underfoot. Well done everyone, now enjoy your recovery before the Championship potato race!
Total mileage 30.56 in 5h 33m, with 2464ft of elevation gain.