donegal

Walking The Line From Donegal…

Erigal

Knee Deep in Pressies, Boots, Sunscreen and Midge Spray….

Tomorrow I’m in the gym at 0730 before catching a lift to Donegal for a special birthday celebration for a really good friend.  A bunch of mates are marking the occasion with a meal tomorrow night, followed by climbing the iconic, volcanic, and mysterious looking Mount Errigal. What a way to celebrate a friendship, which for me covers 4 years of extraordinary change. My friend and I both discovered hills and walking around the same time, and this weekend will be really special.

Will You Walk The Line?

The annual fundraiser for Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue.  It’ll be tight getting to the start in time, but I’ve a fireman driving me, so hopefully we’ll make it 😉

The 25k hike kicks off at 9pm and continues through the longest day/night of the year, to finish well after dawn on Sunday morning. This is a chance for the hiking and climbing community to give something back to the volunteers who are on call 24/7, 365 days a year – ready to pull us out of trouble when we discover our map-reading skills aren’t as good as we thought they were! If you fancy it, the starting point is the Brockagh Centre in Glendalough. Registration opens at 6pm and you can be join a group with a navigator or navigate yourself. Click on the picture below for details.

Walk The Line 2

Presuming I finish up in time, it’s another dash – over to Swords this time, to meet up with my buddies from Get Off The Couch, the TV show we recorded last year. This bunch of adventurers from all over the country got out there and got active, and inspired a whole load of other people to do the same thing. They kept up their adventures, even when the cameras stopped rolling – and we also kept up our friendship, which is wonderful.  They’re having a get-together in Dublin this weekend and I’m dropping in for breakfast to survey the damage….

From Swords it’s back to Lucan for another friendly get together with a mate who’s planned a bit of a spa-break to help me recover from all of the above. It’s certainly going to be a busy weekend – but it all counts as training too; because my trip to Mount Elbrus looms ever closer.  I picked up my Russian Visa earlier this week, and it’s all looking very real..

Walking A Line – To Errigal

Walk The Line 2I ‘Walked The Line’ and I proudly get to wear the T-shirt, and raise the mug – thanks for a brilliant workout from Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue.  Their mega annual fundraiser had two challenges, a navigational chase and a straightforward 25k hike for those who were willing to follow the signs!  I chose the latter, but the physical demands were no joke.  It was a tough, long day out and I came home delighted in just over 6 hours.  To be honest, I had a secret weapon, the latter part of the hike was down through Spinc – my favourite mountain. I was actually heard to say ‘this is my patch’ as I trotted down the stones towards the Miners’ Village – and you know I meant it.  Yep I guess I’m declaring it.  Spinc is MY mountain – so there!  (I’m not actually being facetious – that mountain rescued me from being 23 stone and stuck in a cell of my own skin, and my own making. I owe a lot to that mountain).  The other benefit from ‘Walk the Line’ was accidentally turning up just 2-minutes before registration closed, and ending up ‘walking the line’ on my own, which I hadn’t really planned.  It left me picking out way-paths and finding my way around the hills in a way I hadn’t done before – and I learned a lot – lessons that came in handy later in the week….

A trip to Lough Sheelin cooled my heels after Wicklow – when I turned up to provide boat cover for my brave ‘Get Off The Couch’ colleague Karen Bowers, who swam her first 1k ‘wild swim’ in the beautiful County Cavan lake, surrounded by master swimmers and the fantastic long-distance swimmer, Fergal Somerville, who turned up to coach her, after recently adding an elusive North Channel Crossing to his previous English Channel crossing.  That man is inspiration in a set of speedos, and I have permission from his wonderful wife Margaret to say so. (Incidentally that woman is the best power-bar chef this side of either channel!).

Kayak DonegalA couple of days later I was back in the water again – this time in Donegal.  In bright sunshine, myself and buddy Vera Baker ‘Girls on Tour’ headed north with kayaks strapped to the roof of her heroic Jaguar and two bikes jammed inside, along with wetsuits, paddles, running gear, hiking gear, and high heels.  What other way to travel?  Well as Vera’s son commented wryly as he saw us reverse out –  “it wasn’t that we couldn’t do it – but probably that we shouldn’t“!

We hit the ground running when we arrived in Donegal in bright sunshine and instead of heading for shelter and our lovely home for the next three days, we made straight for the beach and launched the boats.  It was a good call too; we woke up to winter conditions the following morning, with the mist so thick we could hardly see our boots as we made our way towards Errigal.  That solo-navigation stuff in Wicklow helped with my confidence, as we strolled back down the mountain on a bearing and walked straight into the car park to our absolute delight.  Boasting to my Mountain Rescue buddies may have been a calculated error however – I’ve been told I’m navigating next time out!

Lots of thanks are due to lots of people after my last set of adventures.  Love you all and hugs will be distributed in due course. x

 

  • Saturday June 22nd – 25kilometre hike ‘Walk The Line’ fundraiser for Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue
  • Sunday June 23rd – kayak boat cover for Get Off The Couch at Lough Sheelin long-distance swim event
  • Monday June 24th – Kayak training with Wild Water Kayak Club
  • Tuesday June 25th – 40″min gym ‘strength & conditioning’
  • Wednesday June 26th – paddling with adventure buddy Vera Baker in Donegal
  • Thursday June 27th – climbing Mount Errigal, Donegal’s highest mountain, and navigating through thick mist
  • Friday June 28th – 15k cycle with hill-climbs (or thereabouts) and paddling in a choppy sea 🙂
  • Saturday June 29th – rest day (Get Off The Couch finale and wrap party)
  • Sunday June 30th – sea swim in Malahide & climbing Spinc Mountain in Wicklow
Clients
  • Communicorp
  • Danone
  • Irish Farmers’ Journal
  • Dublin Airport Authority
  • WeightWatchers, Ireland
  • Limerick City & County Enterprise Board
  • ‘Foot In The Door’ Media Trainer for Independent Commercial Radio, Ireland
  • Clare County Enterprise Board
  • Carlow County Enterprise Board
  • Great Outdoors
  • Adrian Hendroff ‘From High Places’
  • Chernobyl Children International
  • Concern Ireland
  • The Hope Foundation
  • LauraLynn Childrens’ Hospice
  • Travel Department
  • Helly Hansen Killarney Adventure Race
  • 98FM Dublin
  • Newstalk
  • TodayFM Radio
  • Learning Waves Skillnet
  • BCFE, Ballyfermot
  • Pat Falvey, 'The Summit Book'
  • DSPCA