I love days like this.
Training today wasn’t about the gym (although I know I have to do that too)….. today I trained with good friends, spending an hour kayaking on the Liffey in bright sunshine, and then a couple of hours hanging off a sunny rock in Dalkey.
The arms and core muscles had a good workout paddling against the tide on the Liffey, down at the Jeanie Johnston where City Kayaking operate their new watersports business off the pontoon – which will be great fun when the Tall ships hit town! Myself and fellow Concern Uganda adventurer, Vera Baker, paddled off down-river first, to check out the talent (ahem, I mean the crew) on our Navy Patrol boat the Eithne, which was docked near Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. Then we paddled back up past the Samuel Beckett Bridge – straining against a pretty strong current – until we reached our turning point and then surfed the tide back to the pontoon. Sunburned and happy, we skip off to the car and head for Dalkey.
I’ve heard my climbing friends talking about the city’s climbing Mecca, Dalkey Quarry, since I first tied onto a rope at the Trinity College Climbing Wall; and yet this was my first visit. The invite came from climber Niamh Gaffney, who was looking for ‘newbies’ to clock up teaching hours for an evaluation. I was happy to oblige and I dragged my mate Vera, without really tellling her what I was getting her into. She was a natural, which was fortunate – because we remained friends afterwards – which was fortunate, because she was driving me home! Wicklow Mountain Rescue hot gun Ronan Friel joined us with Charlie the dog, and both offered lots of encouragement.
It was a sunny day, with lots of climbers clinking as they walked past in their toe-pinching skins, jangling metal carabinas and different ‘protection’ blocks rattling off the metal hoops in their harness. It’s a distinctive sound, like the clinking of the sailing lines on the masts of yachts at marinas. It’s the kind of sound that goes well with warmth and sunshine, the smell of hot grass, drying thistles… and good feelings.