Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Running Away From Stress In The Emerald Isle

These past couple of weeks I've been pretty quiet on the blog front. Unusually it has nothing to do with a lack of inspiration, It's been more due to so much of my attention being on the house buying that when I have a spare few moments I just can't bring myself to sit down and write. So instead I veg out in front of Netflix.

Truthfully writing is probably exactly what I should do, I always forget how relaxing it can be to simply pick up a pen  and let the thoughts swirling around your head flow out onto paper. Or in this case a screen. Instead of this method of relaxation, however, I chose to run away. Specifically to Ireland. It was Ciarán's birthday so we hopped on a plane and escaped to his family home. Limited signal, fields for days, and we even got sunshine! Bliss.

We arrived and I'm slightly ashamed to admit one of the first things I did was take a nap! Early morning flights and a long car journey really takes it out of you. My batteries recharged I was welcomed back down stairs with wine and a delicious supper in honour of Ciarán turning another year older.

We spent the rest of our trip spending time with family, we finally got to use Ciarán's mums croquette set he and his siblings bought her a couple of Christmases ago. What fun we were having, and then in true Irish fashion, it rained. We didn't let that spoil our fun though, we just took shelter in between each of our turns, running wildly out into the downpour to carelessly whack the ball hopefully in the right direction, gleeful if we managed to hit another players ball so off course they would have spend twice as much time in the rain putting it right!

We had said from the beginning that if we got a good clear day we would climb the mountain near Ciarán's home town. For most of the weekend it wasn't looking good, the mountain was completely shrouded in cloud the whole time. But then some time around mid-morning we looked out and it had almost completely cleared, and there was no forecast of rain! We set off immediately, intent on getting a clear view from the top.

I'm not much of a hiker so we knew we would have to take it slow. I balked a little when we arrived at our start point and the steepness became clear, but determined as I was we pushed on. I was wearing khaki shorts and hiking boots, so naturally I felt like Lara Croft, and could not quit. Well, I felt like Lara Croft up until I realised that I'm actually quite unfit, and also quite clumsy. This meant frequent breaks, and at many points using my arms to haul myself up some of the steeper sections, all the while Ciarán pushed on ahead not a bother on him.

For a little while, the top appeared to stay put, but just past the half way mark, the top (which was slightly hidden in cloud) seemed to keep moving higher and higher, the bastard. I swear every time I looked up it was further away than before. Still the views were spectacular and sun glorious, enough to spur on the most reluctant of climbers (me).

They don't call it the Emerald Isle for nothing!

It soon became clear that the cloud at the top was doggedly determined to remain in place, by this point we were so close, we couldn't bring ourselves to turn back just because we wouldn't have a view. I'm so glad we pushed on, because once we were above the clouds our foggy surroundings were so magical, and we delighted at every small clearing teasing us with glimpses of the ground below.

I had a minor heart breaking moment when reaching what I thought was the summit, Ciarán pointed out that the top was in fact a little further, thankfully the incline was very gradual and I managed to drag myself that bit further.

Out of the fog the stone marker at the summit began to appear and I excitedly stumbled towards it. In absolute delight of having reached the top, I flopped to the floor to rest my aching and probably rather shell shocked limbs.

Of course then we had to make our way down. For me this meant bum shuffling on some of the steeper bits, while Ciarán gleefully informed me that that is how he and his siblings used to get down when they were children. He was able to walk down all the way like a mountain goat! By the time we got to the bottom my legs felt like jelly, I dared not stop until we got to the car for fear of my legs collapsing under me and never being able to pull myself out of the pile of sheep poo I would probably find myself lying in!

We got back home and I immediately dragged my hot, sweaty, bruised and exhausted body up to the shower, I can honestly say I have never been so happy for built in shower seats in my entire life! Refreshed from the shower I made my way down stairs with all the finesse of a new born deer trying to walk for the first time on ice, and was rewarded with  a cold Guinness!

We were flying home the next day from Dublin airport so we had a long drive, when we woke up we were both pretty stiff and sore, but it eased with movement. This however did not last, and as the day wore on the pain got continuously worse, sitting for long periods in the car was probably the worst thing we could have done and every time we had to get out and move, we looked ridiculous, and winced at every step. This took at least 3 days (who am I kidding, 4!) to subside so that I could walk without pulling a face, to the entertainment of everyone at work.

Now the pain is a distant memory, and I fully intend to move onto the next mountain in County Mayo, which is a whole 7 meters higher than Nephin! Onwards and upwards as they say!


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