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!

Some Irish hiking titbits

22nd January 2020

In the middle of the first decade of the century, blogging was an activity that felt new and novel. Thus, walking, hiking, backpacking and other outdoor activity blogs felt likewise and I did mention other blogs on here in those early days. That has lapsed but some reading about Irish outdoor activities stoked it up again.

It was perusing an Irish adventure guidebook that had lain unread for more than two years that caused the perhaps momentary restart. Hiking and walking are my main interests but the book also included others like swimming, diving, snorkelling, surfing, caving and climbing. It also promoted responsible enjoyment of nature’s delights so it perhaps was not a surprise to have mentions given to Leave No Trace Ireland with its Seven Principles and Invasive Species Ireland.

There are very good reasons for highlighting the need to respect the countryside when legal access is so limited that there is much dependence on the permissive kind and goodwill can be lost so easily by a spot of carelessness. It is a theme that recurs in reports on the Mountain Views website where many a hill outing gets documented. It is not just the likes of James Forest who visit Irish hilltops.

Of course, not everyone is bound for a summit so initiatives that have given us the National Waymarked Trails or Loop Walks more than retain their importance. Satisfyingly, there is about 4,000 km of walking covered by the former of these and someone set to walking all of them and that story gets told on the Tough Soles blog. However, this was not what brought it to my attention but rather the maps that are shared on there. Completing the lot is quite a feat and others might be inspired to do the same and make Ireland even more of a walking destination. Anything that drives enhancement of facilities has to be a good thing.

Trip reports often get accompanied by photos and that is very true of my own offerings. What is more unusual is when artwork like sketching or painting is used instead as is the case on the Hikelines blog. Initially, this featured a lot of longer hikes in Ireland but a knee injury sadly changed that. Even so, the shorter strolls still suffice for adding those alluring handcrafted images and new posts retain the same amount of interest.

Even now, my own incursions remain more limited than anything mentioned above so there remains more scope for advancement beyond what I did in the counties of Clare and Galway during August 2018. For this, the prospect of an extended weekend in Killarney appeals when there is so much near at hand there. For that, the Killarney Shuttle Bus may or may not have a use depending on its intent though I have seen it mentioned in the book described near the start of this entry. If not, longer self-devised circular walking routes would support any desired exploring like they have done for me in other places.

Another thought arose while writing these words: using previously visited places as launchpads for exploring new locations. Dursey Island in West Cork or the Blasket Islands near Dingle are examples that come to mind and small offshore islands do have much to offer a seeker of wider adventure. The Irish mainland does some of that too and I even get to thinking about counties where I never have set foot; Down, Donegal or Sligo are just three of these with hills that await attention.

What gets in the way of seeing all this is a wider wanderlust that is cause of my reading guidebooks while surveying other prospective holiday destinations. That will continue and it is premature to talk of these possibilities and the ones that might have come to my notice during the Adventure Travel Show that I went to see last weekend. Some plans are best described when they have happened and, in marked contrast to my Irish ruminations, that will remain my approach to these other putative designs.


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