Northern Ireland

Special camera offers hikers a fresh perspective on Belfast's hills

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionA clear view of the hills

For the first time, people are able to view miles of public paths around the Belfast hills thanks to some sophisticated technology and an internet giant.

Around ten miles of trails have been published online after an environment group borrowed a special camera from technology company Google.

Using the backpack camera, volunteers walked the paths recording imagery which took almost a year to stitch together.

People can now view the paths in 360 degree detail, using the information to plan a day out.

Image caption The technology makes planning a good day out easy

The Belfast Hills Partnership hopes it will encourage more people to use the trails. the special backpack contained 15 cameras each taking 24 images a minute.

GPS technology logged location information. Four volunteers were used to do the work last summer.

Image caption You can access the detail via Google Maps or the Belfast Hills website

The result is now available through Google Maps' Street View function.

There are also links on the Belfast Hills website

Jim Bradley was one of those who lugged the equipment around the hills.

"It weighed about three stone, or nineteen kgs and by the time I got to the top of Cave Hill, it felt even heavier," he said.

People do not always react well when they spot the Google Street View car recording imagery and can sometimes make inappropriate gestures.

Mr Bradley said he did not think there had been such a reaction from the people whom they had met in the hills.

"But I haven't checked all the footage yet," he said.