No better way to wind down the year than a mulled pie darkness hike from Pine Forest/Tibradden to the Blue Light pub. After last night’s storm, today dawned dry and bright and it was a pleasure to get out into the woods. We had lots of layers squashed into our rucksacks, in preperation for the cold windy bits we’d find at the top, and we needed them – it was like being in a wind-tunnel up there. We all brought head-torches too, and spare batteries; because we knew we’d be walking from daylight into the dark. Thanks to Brian O’d and a score of hardy hikers for a great day (& night) out…
Got to say, when we all set off from Rathfarnham I felt a little grim – that was a hot pace, and there were lots of big people with long legs! I’m just 5″ and those long legged yokes are the bane of my life. 😉
Actually, if the truth be known, I haven’t been on a hill since coming back from Uganda and I simply wasn’t hill-fit. The first 30 minutes were tough, I was sweating like a dog and panting like a cart-horse. I couldn’t understand why I was so over-heating so much. But after a while, I had enough ‘cop’ to take the Santa hat off – and I cooled down a bit. Doh!!!
There’s a reckoning a coming, I reckon….
If I’ve had a difficulty with training this year, it’s about balancing multi-discipline sports. Our Concern challenge in Uganda this November requires me to climb a volcano, cycle for several hundred kilometres and kayak the source of the Nile. Well I bought a bike and started clocking up hours earlier this year, and I signed up with the Wild Water Kayak Club on Dublin’s Strawberry Beds and learned the basics of how to fall in the river! (…and of course, more importantly – how to get out).
Now, as you can imagine, this all takes time – hours of time, and the one thing that has suffered is the activity I had previously been very familiar with – climbing mountains. To get hill-fit, you need to be walking up inclines for between 4 to 6 hours, at least once a week….and I haven’t been doing that. I simply haven’t had time for much more than a quick spin up and around Spink in Wicklow, which is a beautiful mountain, but not the most challenging – particularly when you’re only doing it intermittently at best.
So this Sunday, I’m facing the Goddess. Carrauntoohil in Kerry, at 1,038 metres (3,406 ft) is Ireland’s largest mountain, and she doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I’m heading there this weekend, feeling a bit like a fool – because I know I haven’t prepared, and I know I’m going to suffer. I love this mountain and know her well, but I also know it’s not clever to take her for granted. I’m also pretty certain she’ll be wet and cold and windy. Mountains have a way of letting you know……