Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Emerald Inspirations

21st April 2012

A trip to Ireland in March may have taken the form of an elongated weekend that involved no hill wandering (there was some urban trotting around Limerick that took in its People’s Park and Arthur’s Quay though) but the warm sunny day on which I needed to leave the place to return to the U.K. left a more lasting impression. There has been perusal of issues of Walking World Ireland too so it might be no surprise to hear that my mind (if not my heart) began to ponder a hill wandering excursion to follow my ascent of the Great Sugarloaf in Wicklow a few years ago and a trot around Howth Head last year.

Though sunshine was hazy and skies milky, thoughts of staying on my bus from Limerick to Shannon Airport all the way to final destination of Galway were very tempting. The ambience was very much of the feeling of summer days when we get the sort of weather of which so many of us dream. On looking down while flying across Ireland en route to Manchester, the extent of the haze was unmissable yet various hilltops protruded from low cloud. In fact, I reckoned that I could see the tops of the Galtee Mountains along the Limerick-Tipperary county boundary and I wouldn’t be surprised if we passed over Slieve Bloom too. On the eastern side of Ireland, the sprawl of the Dublin and Wicklow mountains was there to be survey and I fancy that I picked out Poulaphuca reservoir near Blessington in Co. Wicklow too.

After the summery feel of March, April has plunged us into atypically chilly temperatures and typically showery weather; maybe that’s why I am weathering a cold as I write these words. That made for a less than glorious Easter weekend that I spent doing some spring cleaning and tidying. If we had got the sort of weather that we enjoyed around Easter 2011 and the following Mayday Bank Holiday weekend, then I might have been tempted to follow up those thoughts of Irish explorations. After all, curiosity had me survey photos of Wicklow’s hill country and antiquities on a few royalty-free stock photography websites and much of what I saw left me thinking that I might do better myself; it would make a good excuse to go across the Irish sea to survey the delights of picturesque Glendalough for the first time. For now though, that’s on a waiting list.

Weather and workload has meant that I otherwise haven’t been doing much wandering around hill country than a short trot up Nab End near Bollington. The hoped for extensive views over Pott Shrigley failed to materialise. That’s not to say that I didn’t content myself with what I found because I also managed to have the place to myself, something that would be said for the Kerridge ridge on the same day. A cycle that took in both Bollington and Pott Shrigley was what allowed me to sample Nab End’s delights so there definitely were no complaints from me even if cloud rolled in to blot out the sun during the afternoon. Rediscovering a little more in the way of motivation not only would get me to that Irish waiting list but would send me out among Macclesfield’s hill country more often too.

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