I went on the Wicklow way, Glendalough to Glenmalure, I enjoyed the hike but had to keep a fast pace on the first day to ensure I did not run out of daylight and then a fast pace coming back as was worried about the weather getting worse as the day went on. Going up hills with a backpack is hard work !
I think, from the hints in the guidebook and the location of the b&b I should have made better planning of where I was going to stay the night or been braver and camped out in the woods alone, I ended up walking along to the Glenmalure An Oigre Hostel and then joining some people who were camping nearby, which was a good move as they had a fire and even gave me a beer and a sausage, plus, later, next day, I found my ‘storm matches’ useless.
Only a few pics for the blog as was worried about running out of battery for my camera phone, suppose I should have taken a disposable camera. My hiking gear came in very handy, especially my mountain hat that makes you look silly but works rather well, in the mountains to keep rain off, vision clear and your head warm.
What I learnt is….
Even on a national trail, best to not go alone as some places are rather tricky and if part of your gear does not work (storm matches) then being in a group should mean someone has something that does work. I suppose tribes are natural, they make like easier and safer, people are pack animals.
I met an expert hiker on the coach going who was going off into the wilderness and to stay in a hammock tent, he had a water bag in his rucksack and some coca cola, I need to go more for that on hiking as have heard it is the ‘coffee substitute’, also, means less reliance on cooking gear, he also told me he took a lighter and flint fire starter, I obviously need to take matches,lighter,fire starter next time, as like torches, on crucial equipment, you ‘double up’.
It was rather nice when I got back to Glendalough and was able to buy a cup of tea and cheeseburger, a lot to be said for civilisation eh
Being back early also meant I had time to see the visitors centre which had a lot more in it than I expected, along with a film and tour, seems the monastery was more a community that produced manuscripts and ‘spread the word’ than a retreat, but lots of interesting information, especially that they had crops, cattle and were able to fish and forage. Obviously division of labour goes way back in time, though perhaps they would sometimes swap duties, especially as the seasons mean that work would naturally move from one thing to another. They were near a major trade route, so that helped. Christianity seems to have been a civilising force as they preached peace instead of warfare which was more the warring tribe and pagan way, obviously wars still came about but it was ,generally, a force for peace.
Hiking with a backpack is hard work, and it is difficult to keep up the level of fitness required in normal modern living, so will try go rambling on a more regular basis as that easier to organise but still do the odd ‘camp out’, in a group, but try avoid long hikes over hills.
Philosophers, poets, composers have a tradition of country walking, not camping !