“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.” – Marie Davis
Now that spring has sprung and the days are getting brighter for longer, many people are taking to the highways and byways of our beautiful country-side, breathing the fresh air and feeling better for the experience.
I’ve always enjoyed the odd hike but during the last two years, when restrictions allowed, I embraced hillwalking and climbing in a more consistent and serious way and have certainly witnessed the miracle of nature and all it provides for us.
There’s the challenge of the terrain, the struggle of the climb, the bite of the cold wind and rain, all leading ultimately to the wonderful sense of satisfaction when the summit is reached. The Australian rock climber and mountaineer, Greg Child explains that satisfaction well:
“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.” – Greg Child.
I see where he’s coming from.
At the beginning of the hike, I get a feeling of being overwhelmed, wondering why I agreed to take on this pretty strenuous activity. That feeling of dread lessens, however, as I get into a rhythm and enjoy the physicality of the experience and the changing landscape along the way, all the time getting closer and closer to my goal and the moment when I can give myself a high five and tick that climb off my list.
We are lucky in Ireland to have so many walks, hikes and climbs of varying levels of difficulty that are easy to access and are well signposted.
When I visit different parts of the country, I like to research the local hikes and pick out a place to go climbing during my stay.
The last two summers of staycations were ideal for that, so many counties, so many mountain trails. And just as golfers like to describe their game, hole by hole, to friends, I love to detail my climb, every step of the way.
Well not quite every step, but it’s nice to relive the variety of the landscape in different places.