14 Oldpark Terrace, Belfast BT14 6NN

North Belfast Harriers tour Europe

 

North Belfast Harriers: One Club, One Team, One Community

Not content with running a virtual tour of Ireland, our intrepid Harriers have taken on Europe, led by Paddy McCambridge.

 

 

Day 1                                                366 miles

Leaving the Clubhouse, we headed to Larne and took a ferry to Cairnryan from where we went to Glasgow and Edinburgh before heading South to Carlisle and across the border to England. From there we took a scenic route through Ambleside in the Lake District and then on to Buckden in the Yorkshire Dales before turning west and heading for Liverpool, the almost 2019/20 Premier League Champions.

We left the Yorkshire Dales taking the road to Liverpool. We overnighted in a town called Skipton just on the edge of the Dales. Well done everyone.

 

Day 2                                                 691 miles

We headed first to Preston and then on to Liverpool before turning back east and heading for Manchester before turning southeast to a town called Newark on Trent where a former club member, Alan Robinson, now lives. We then headed south to London for stops in two London suburbs to say hello to Matt’s daughters both of whom have set up home around the English Capital.

 

Day 3                                                 1107 miles

We left London through Tolworth and then on to Dover, leaving about 108 miles to The English Channel.

Once off the ferry in Calais we headed east via Dunkirk into Belgium to visit Brussels via Ghent, before swinging back southwest en route to a rather quiet Disneyland Paris. This leg of the journey took us through Charleroi before heading into the Ardennes region and then through Reims.

Over 1100 miles complete at the end of day 3. We are 19 miles from Disneyland, perfectly set for an early look around the parks before we get on the road into Paris.

 

Day 4

We reached Disneyland early which allowed us to get on a few of the rides before there were any queues! After Disneyland we headed to Paris where we saw the Eiffel Tower as we ran along the Seine and then headed up the Champs Elysée to the Arc de Triomphe.

Leaving Paris, we headed southwest to The Palace of Versailles and got to see the beautiful gardens before heading south to Orleans and into the Loire Valley. They were hard to persuade, but the Harriers sampled the produce of the area as they passed through.

From here all roads headed west through Tours and Angers before we reached Nantes where we visited Bernadette Duffy’s son and daughter-in-law, Helene.

That journey took us southeast and away from the coast through Poitiers, heading towards Magnac Bourg.

 

Ray Cameron, Paris 2015 An even more youthful McCambridge family enjoying Disneyland Paris Denise and Roy Rainey get hitched in Paris.

 

Day 5                                                 1769 miles

We arrived at Magnac-Bourg where we called in on a previous club member, Claire McCorry who some of you may remember as she ran with us a few times a year or so ago.

Claire McCorry welcomes NBH

 

Day 6                                                 2266 miles

We started today 37 miles from Bordeaux. Despite the liquid breakfast, everyone was feeling fit and ready to go. After getting through the city, we headed south to Biarritz on the French coast and then off to cross the Spanish border and head for San Sebastian on the Spanish Coast.

From San Sebastian we make the first of today’s special visits. The first two are trips down memory lane for two club members. We headed inland to Pamplona where Gillian Roden spent many a day studying during her University years. From there we headed west to the town of Vitoria Gastiez where Katrina McAuley studied. Unfortunately, neither was able to provide any incriminating photographs!

From these university towns we made our way to the third and final request for today. Many of the club members will be aware of a pilgrim route through northern Spain called the Camino de Santiago and it was that route that we took across the rest of northern Spain to a city just north of Portugal called Santiago de Compostela.

We made a really good start, reaching the town of Carrión de los Condes before nightfall.

Bull running in Pamplona Biarritz Robert enjoying the surf in Biarritz La plaza in Vitoria – Gasteiz

 

Those beds are mighty short on the Camino! Entering Santiago de Compostela

 

Day 7

We completed the Camino, arriving into Santiago de Compostela, earning ourselves the coveted Camino Passport.

Not resting on our laurels, we completed a further 55 miles to Vigo and 19 miles after that we crossed the border into Portugal and headed straight for Porto, another 86 miles down the coast.

From Porto we headed south towards Lisbon with the target of finishing our week somewhere between these two cities along the scenic Portuguese Atlantic Coast. In fact, we comfortably reached Lisbon.

At the end of week 1 we covered an incredible 2816 miles!

 

 

Day 8

Leaving Lisbon, we headed down the Portuguese coast to Sines before heading for the Algarve. On the southern coast we passed through Portimao, Albufeira, Faro and Tavira before crossing the border back into Spain at Ayamonte.

Once on Spain we passed down the coast to Heulva before heading inland to Seville, famous for its oranges and a main location for filming in one of the Star Wars movies.

 

Day 9

We started day 9 at sunrise in the beautiful city of Seville and we head south to our first requested stop of the day in Jerez de la Frontera a location requested by Bernadette Duffy.

Once through Jerez we were off to visit those famous Barbary Macaque monkeys on the Island of Gibraltar and then up the coast into the Costa del Sol visiting holiday locations like Marbella, Fuengirola, Benalmadena and Torremolinos before arriving in Malaga, a location requested by a few not least of all Gerry Gribbon who has enjoyed a few December marathons in the city.

From Malaga we turned inland and headed for Córdoba. Having reached it, we spent the night there.

 

Day 10

We started with a long 230 mile journey to Madrid and another 90 miles to the village of Grado del Pico, where we had a rousing welcome from the local radio station. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/paddy.mccambridge.7/videos/1590383371119464

 

Day 11

Heading southeast back to the Spanish coastline we arrived at Valencia before heading northwest along the coast. Lots of sun and seaside views to keep our minds off the miles.

Passing through Salou with its beaches and Port Aventura Theme Park, we rapidly made progress towards Barcelona, arriving in the Catalan capital before nightfall.

The Harriers were able to enjoy an evening on Las Ramblas sampling the many bars and restaurants.

 

Day 12            [4813 miles]

All too soon we had to say Adios a España for the last time as he head inland now to the Andorran border. As we entered the Principality, we faced the mighty Pyrenees mountain range. All those hill sessions paid off as we stormed up into the mountains, through the capital of Andorra de Villa and on to the ski resort of Soldeu, passing into France via Pas de la Casa.

From there we headed for Perpignan, then up the coast passing through Narbonne and on to Montpellier, Marseille, Toulon, Cannes and Nice.

We reached the Principality of Monaco, where the lure of the roulette wheel proved too much. Spent Friday night in a tent!

 

Day 13 

We started the weekend by travelling inland towards Turin in Italy and then onwards to Geneva. As part of our trip to Switzerland we visited Neuchatel where the 1986 World Cross Country Championships were held. Back in those days Northern Ireland was eligible to send a team to this race, and in that year a certain Ita Speight (now McCambridge) competed for Northern Ireland in a race won by Zola Budd. Ita didn’t run for NBH back then, because we didn’t have a ladies section!! But the Club was represented in the Juniors Men’s section by a former member, Declan Caddell.

 

Day 14 

Inspired by Ita Speight-McCambridge, the Harriers made excellent progress towards Zurich in the northern part of Switzerland. Then south again towards the Italian border en route for Milan. We spent the night close to lake Brienzersee.

 

By the end of week two, our foot-sore Harriers had clocked up more than 5000 miles between them – a remarkable feat (or feet!).