Tag: hiking

High on a Hill – The Mourne Walking Festival 2017

High on a Hill – The Mourne Walking Festival 2017

So with Derry Marathon now confined to the memory bank, it was time to find myself again for a few weeks before launching into another marathon training phase.

Not one to stick with the mundane, I set myself a challenge on a whole new level. The Mourne Walking Festival. Lets face it, I love the mountains, I’ll never run in them but I do love getting lost in my thoughts as I trek my way over them, never walking the same step twice.

It might sound a bit odd that I would take myself off on a walking festival- sure is it not for retired people? WRONG! I arrived to be greeted by those who like me just wanted to get up the mountains. People from all over the country, from across the water in England, Belgium, Germany and even as far afield as the US.  It was very multicultural and with that came the mutual respect for everyones beliefs, values and a common goal to enjoy the experience.

Being my first walking festival I was feeling very out of my comfort zone surrounded by people I didn’t know and no idea what lay ahead in the coming days.

Day 1- Spelga over the Mourne Way to Rostrevor.

So after a cracker few weeks weather’s.. .the weather gods decided it would be perfect to open the heavens and let it rain.

Standing at Spelga it was minging. But the Mourne Way was calling and with a spring in my step I was off. It wasn’t long before I found myself surrounded by those who were my pace and unlike running, I was in the lead group.

  I am convinced that I couldn’t even get that wet in the shower. However the craic was mighty, the stories and journeys of those out enroute where interesting and as we came down of Rocky (the mountain that I had a few weeks earlier watched runners catapult themselves down) I knew the track ahead well having run it a few times, including in pitch black at the 26 Extreme 10k Night Race in January. 


With it being a mixed ability group we stuck together between the guides. But day one was done and that evening I had the best shower ever! 

Day 2 Carricklittle Annalong to Ott car park, Slievenaman Road.

So this was the big Challange of the weekend. Right across the heart of the Mournes from one end to the other. There was going to be some big climbs but as always I kept in mind what goes up must come down.

Day 2 started with seeing all those drier versions of the people I had spent the previous day with. The sun had come out and knowing the route I couldn’t wait to get to Binnian and look over the middle of the Mournes. By far my favourite mountain ever.

We set off and as the first hour passed the group split up into those who where out to walk and those who where out to walk and take in the views and photo’s. A natural split in the group was welcomed and as we sat on the side of Binnian overlooking Ben Crom eating lunch, I felt that mountain moment set upon me. I relaxed, I felt calm and counted myself lucky to be apart of this festival. I love how the mountains are able to do that to your mind.

Discovering the actual way down from Binnian to Ben Crom was a tick on my list of things I wanted to figure out but the descent was short lived as we began the ascent back up at the other side of the Dam on the approach to Doan. 

Over marshland we went, navigating the bog cotton, hidden trenches and rivers we arrived in what I would say is the heart of the mournes as we where surrounded by the main mountains associated with the Mournes. On the climb to Loughshannagh the sky was clear and the rain from the previous day had left the ground green and glowing. 

Adding on an additional 2 peaks to the original route was welcomed by me as we climbed Carn and Ott before descending onto the Slievenaman Road. 

Growing up at the other end of the the Slievenaman Road it made me think about why it took me so long to get up the mountains in the first place. Maybe having them as your back garden I took them for granted but finishing that day I knew that I’d be back on that route again soon. 

The walk was finished off with a cool bottle of locally brewed beer with thanks to Mourne Mountains Brewery.  Perfect end to the day.

Day 3 The Rostrevor end of the Mournes

There was a choice to go for as multi peak walk on the Sunday but I had enjoyed the weekend so much and with an impending half marathon in 5 days I opted for the moderate walk and this time I had brought along Michael for company.

Lesson learned…never take someone with fresh legs with you on the last day of a walking festival. He was motoring up the tracks and cross country mountains with ease and although my legs where still hanging in rightly. I was glad when he finally took the pace back and realised it wasn’t a race and more an experience. 

With some members of the group recovering from the blister ball the night before and others who had been by my side for the past few days. 

As we made our way from Ballintur to Knockshee across the skyline we could see Slieve Martin in the distance. Again another hill and Dale classic where I wondered what lay beyond Fiddlers Green that had runners looking so ruined on the way back down. Although the weather wasn’t as nice as the previous day, the ground was still tight and as we went up and over many smaller hills and mountains it was let’s say, refreshing. 

With views out into Carlingford Lough to one side and the whole collection of the Mournes to the other. We could see the Tors of Binnian, the scene of the previous days adventure. And across the way Slieve Gullion poked out from behind the Cooley mountains. 

As we descended down past Cloughmore stone and into Kilbroney I was saddened that after nearly 5000ft in elevation gain and over 20hours out in the mountains that the weekend was coming to a close. 

Of course we finished the day off with another cool one and toasted a successful weekend where new places where visited, new friends made and where I saw through a challenge which was not only tough going  but enlightening and restored peace in my mind and body. 

Remember that time is ticking on the chance to vote for me in the Dublin Rock n Run Idol competition. As always scroll to the bottom and vote for Siobhan Grant!

http://www.runrocknroll.com/dublin/rock-idol/

Hi ho, hi ho,  it’s up the mountain we go

Hi ho, hi ho,  it’s up the mountain we go

OK so next quest is the Christmas Cracker. 

Run by neighbouring club Newcastle AC, the route is nothing short of challenging.  Each year the route changes and spans anything from 8 to 10 miles. 

That’s alright if on road but since its Christmas, it’s a bit of Craic and sure we’ve plenty of hills on our doorstep they might as well throw in Slieve Na Slat and some muck too. I imagine this may be on par with Causeway Coast and as a Christmas Cracker Virgin I say this might just be the death of me.

Also the great thing about this race is the fact you do it in pairs! So who else fits the bill other than similarily mental running buddy extrodinare, Caitriona who I am desperate to get off the bench and back out there doing crazy things with me.

So the only way to train for this is really to embrace the hills. I’m still trying this embracing concept. In fairness I like hills and mountains and have walked too many of them the past few years. However I just don’t think I’m cut out to run up them. 
Though when has that ever stopped me from doing something?

So a Saturday night chat with Caitriona resulted in us deciding that instead of going round the lake to break her in again…we’d go up Slieve Na Slat. Sure it’s only 220m elevation. Not a patch on Donard or the likes more of a hill.

So as I woke on Sunday morning and looked outside, a heavy frost had descended upon  Castlewellan and it was starting to look a lot like Christmas.

Though the clear blue skies meant that on a hill you’re sure to get great views so in a bid to take advantage of the weather and get back up where I am happiest the time was set and at 10.30 Caitriona was there ready to rock n roll.
Layered up and ready for a few hours passing a Sunday morning. We headed for the hills. It had been brought to my attention that Caitriona had never been up SlievenaSlat so I was looking forward to the stark realisation of what exactly the cracker was asking of us as we began the short but steep climb to the top.

It wasn’t long before her face was as picture. Each corner brought another even steeper hill and even though I’ve been up it a hundred times it never gets any easier. 

Though as the tough bit was over and more stunning views came into full view, she began to see the reason why it’s worth it.

It was like a winter wonderland. The trees where thick with ice and as the ground began to thaw you could hear the leaves crunching and crackling. Icicles fell like rain drops and as you looked up beyond the trees there was a low mist engulfing the foot of the mountains as they towered above the white fields surrounded by cleat blue sky.
That’s it right there. That’s the feeling I love. Nothing beats being up the mountain..fact. Standing there, there was no denying the existance of a God. There was no way this can all coincidently occur at the same time. 

The walk was finished with all wee tour round the hills and down into the Cyprus Pond finishing the lake. 

I returned home less than 2 hours later; refreshed, content and realising I’ve a hell of a lot of work to do for the Cracker in 5 weeks. 

Catch yourself on Siobhan!

Catch yourself on Siobhan!

I woke up this morning to get up for my usual 7am Wednesday morning session at The Burrendale with Shane. The alarm went at 6.20am and it was like an outer body experience. The voice in my head was floating above me telling me that I needed to catch myself on. I was not fit for it.

The voice was right, I had really pushed the boundaries last week and my body was about to give up. So I reluctantly messaged Shane to say I was broken and resorted to feeling sorry for myself and reflecting on why it was taking me so long to recover after Cookstown half when I bounced back after Lisburn half.

So on reflection this is how last week went…

Sunday 24th July – Active Financial Newry and Mourne Womens Mini Marathon

You can read about the race here. I went out to PB and done so at every distance minus the 30sec I couldn’t find to make it a 10k pb. So I had mentally and physically pushed myself to my limits on a course that was very challenging.

Monday 25th July

I wish I could remember what I had done that day as I’m definitely sure I wasn’t at the gym, or out running as my Garmin would have picked that up. So I am going to settle on drinking tea (probably at Moiras), being on facebook and snapchat whilst the kids where at Summer Scheme. So essentially a rest day.

Tuesday 26th July

Ahhh what a cracker day was had. Set off after dropping the kids at Summer Scheme with my lunch in the backpack and away I went with Lauren to check out the Dambusters route. I was still a bit sore and achey from Sunday but no running was involved, it was refreshing as Lauren had busted herself at the gym too so we were a right state between us. We walked all the way up to Ben Crom dam and assessed strategies for the race and how to best deal with it on the day. As well as how lovely a route it is going to be as long as the rain stays away. We covered about 9 mile that day, obviously there was the usual craic and banter along side our solutions to world problems.

That evening I was in with Patricia McGrady to get a sports massage and boy does she know how to work those nasty lumps and bumps. I have decided to put her in the same category of Shane, Dermot and all other PTs, job satisfaction comes from pushing people to their limits. But totally worth it for the client! ( I get it, its just unpleasant at times)

Wednesday 27th July

Wednesday was my session at the gym with Shane, with various squats, lunges, intervals, weights and comparing notes on training plans. I just always know that after death hour with Shane, I will suffer the next two days.

Thursday 28th July

I hadn’t planned to, but I ended up at Dermots final session with MAC. I was only going to stay for the warm up and do a lap of the lake, but I stayed on as I didn’t want to leave someone on their own in a pair and although I felt like I was going to die at several points of the session, I learnt a lot and dare I say, enjoyed it.

Friday 29th July

I knew I should have been resting at this point for Sunday. However opening the curtains on Friday morning the sky had Friday Funday written all over it. So Lauren and I done the usual, picked a spot with no plan in mind other than to keep going until we run out of path.

For all the blue skies and endless views, there was a cloud following me on that hike up from Letirim Lodge. Lauren is leaving for London next month to do her PGCE. I am bloody delighted for her don’t get me wrong, we worked hard for this, but I lose a great friend who would happily get lost with me in the mountains at a moments notice. Not that easy to do when she’s across the water. So when we reached the end of the path, high on a hill with the most beautiful views I have encountered yet, I sat and cried. Little did Lauren know when she was taking this picture of me that behind the sunglasses I was crying.

Saturday 30th July

I did rest!

Sunday 31st Cookstown Half Marathon

You’ll find all the details on the events of Cookstown half here. I had pushed myself to a 4 minute PB and obviously 13.1 mile takes a lot out of you.

So…

Yeah I know, I know. I have over done it. Its not like I have the body of a super athlete who would laugh at the fact I am beat out after last weeks events which probably look like a walk in the park to them. Last week was pretty intense, with the CHM hanging over me all week and the various things I got myself into no wonder this morning I couldn’t motivate myself.

In true fashion as I’ve come to expect and respect, I got the brutal, honest and with love telling off from Selena to remind me that I need to give myself time to recover, to recharge and to stop “running” on half empty. So I’ll listen to her and I will take a few more days to fully recover. Then I will be a better runner all round as I’m fully ready to run. Also I guess the fact I am sporting a lovely cold sore too also points to the fact I need to chill.

So taking this all on board… my house is really clean now.

Where I do most the blog writing. .but today not surrounded by mess

 

 

 

 

 

Binnian Bitches

Binnian Bitches

So Binnian. ..A mountain I’ve wanted to get up now for a few months.

It has also been a long time since Lauren and I set off on a mountain adventure. Life just got in the way so sitting painting the fence yesterday evening it dawned on me that I fancies a wee trip up the mountain…Cue snapchat to Lauren at 7pm “Binnian?” And from there an adventure was born.

Within 10mins we where in The Bug with an additional passenger in the form of our now Ozzy family member Rachel who because she lives at the otherside of the world got to finally be an active part of Siobhan Stories. I know it’s been a life long dream!

Having never been up Binnian before I was excited as I heard the views where the best in the Mournes and a hands and knees type of climb. 

Literally as we entered into Newcastle, Lauren said it’d be great to have a wee drink up the mountain so Rachel jumped out of the car and ran in and bought 3 cans of Magners. 

As we hesitantly approached the road to the car park a bit of the Lion King soundtrack in the back round got the excitement going. We did pull the car in to make sure we were on the right road to “bunnon” as the other driver called it. And within minutes we were on the ascent. 

Even as we bagan the path the views where fabulous 

Looking out towards the back of Donard and Commeadgh, you really couldn’t beat it. However we looked at the task ahead…It looked a long way up. But as always just focus on the next 5 steps ahead. 

It had more of a path than I had thought, I was expecting another trip like Boggy Bernagh and guessing the route. I also had the panic in the back of my mind that sunset was on its way and the one thing that scares me more than mist on the mountain is darkness.  So it was an onwards and upwards sort of hike.

Great laughs where had and action shots taken to prove to the world that Rachel was climbing a mountain . 

A few wee stops for water,gathering thoughts and tricking our legs into thinking we’d finished when there was still a bit more to go. Lauren, forever the optimist, was always looking at how we had only so much to go and me with pretty much ruined legs from Shore 10k the night before was thinking this wasn’t the brightest idea I ever had. But in true TOB style we took it slow and steady and made it.

In the last 20 metres, I found a lease of life and ran the end. Telling myself I will never make a hill and daler as my legs where busted about half way up. I guess the trick with doing mountains is never to look up at the summit. Keep telling yourself you will get there and each step is a step closer. 

As I came around the corner I caught sight of “that view” Silent Valley, the heart of the Mournes and right over to Donard, I even got to curse Bernagh, the mountain where there is no love lost between us.

  And as we sat and took in the view those 3 cans of well earned Magners where a refreshing treat at the top 

But sadly our time at the top was short. It was now nearly 9pm and we could see the rain rolling in over the mountains and sunset would come within the hour. So we took the drink with us and headed down.

When I say down, I mean we couldn’t see anything infront of us as the misty rain had caught up and our only navigation was to aim down and hope we find the wall. The wall will always get you home.  

I do panic in the mist and Lauren is well aware of my hatred for it. BUT I can be grateful that we actually got to enjoy the view, something I usually don’t get the joy to do as the mountains hate me. 

The mixture of knowing we where heading down and no more climbing involved, paired with a wee drink made the descent some craic. We did find the wall and shortly after it started, the rain did ease off and give us the beautiful views back.

No need to right the world’s wrongs this time. More chat of the good aul times and what we could remember given that at the best of times we were all in some shape back then. 

Both Rachel and I had had our feet submerged in the boggy parts of the mountain on the ascent. However Lauren was to get a soaking of her own as we neared the end by slipping on a rock through a deep puddle and having both feet soaked to the core.  I swear a perfect end to a perfect hike…put a dampener on her optimism.

So what did I learn from Binnian;

Best views of the Mournes by far

It does have an excuse for a path

Morning hikes require Avonmore, evening hikes…Definitely Magners.

Nothing beats an unplanned spare of the moment adventure

Hikes are always awesome when done with friends

Finally. ..I wish Rachel didn’t live in Oz as we’ve so many more mountains to climb but glad we had her for this one! One is better than none

 

What a weekend of triumph for my wee legs

Summer has come to Ireland this week and boy how the sun makes you want to move.
I’ve had a pretty active week as it was, between a session with Shane at the gym where he found my breaking point, running up the local mountain, kicking ass in spin and running home afterwards followed by a Friday Funday around the hills of Tollymore with Lauren.

Let’s face it…I deserved a rest day. But did I? Of course not. I had the mountains calling me and I was going. What was going to be a trip out with my mother in law ended up as a day adventure with Michael.

His mum preferred to stay about the house and mind the kids, letting us get out for a few hours leaving us off about 10mile away from home and a mountain range between us and home.
Although there was a huge downhill road home we obviously opted for the more scenic and mountainous route. With 3 peaks ranging from 550m elevation to 700m to be scaled and conquered we set off ready to take it on.
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It was literally 3 mountains in 3 hours. What went up, definitely came down. The views however were so breathtaking and the sun shone down on us. Thankfully I’d broken out the sun cream earlier that day so only minor areas of redness on completion.

I could feel every muscle including my heart crying out for a rest as I went up each mountain. Thing is, anyone can do the Mournes. It’s about picking the right route and just taking your time. We passed two couples on our assent of Meelbeg and I wouldn’t be surprised if they where well into their 60s. Taking a break every 10metres to regroup and continue on. Obviously they were well versed in climbing as their gear was all top notch and there was me out in my Brooks (first time this year braving trainers up the mountain) and best of sports direct gym gear. But it had been dry enough and as long as I wasn’t planning on fell running I was going to be ok.

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So if that wasn’t enough for my body to endure for one weekend. On waking on Sunday (kids had a sleep over at grannys) we decided to attempt a long run.

Picking a route beyond the park is always interesting especially when you have no idea how long it will take for you to break. So setting off with the hope of 10mile with various side routes to take if we felt tired.

Well 10mile came and went and we hit home shortly after 11 mile.

When both watches beeped at 10mile I stopped and done a funky dance in the middle of the road.  It was ok…It was a country road with no one else on it so I was saved.

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A new 10mile and 15k pb so absolutely buzzing considering I had had a grueling hike the day before. This body can and will make it to the end of a half marathon. 30 days and counting.

My wee legs are looking forward to a rest that’s for sure.

Lost without moving

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View from the bottom of the Trassey Track

Nothing beats the early morning sunshine.
Ireland was blessed this week with a few days of Spring and with it came daily clear views of the mountains. I’ve had very little luck this year with the joys of getting a cracker view from any of my mountain walks…mist and clouds seem to follow me. However getting up at 5.30am and hitting the mountains as the sun came up yesterday was the best decision I’ve had all year.

Of course wee Lauren got talked into it…well let’s face it , I suggested it and she didn’t hesitate to agree to come along. So the yellow bug picked me up shortly after 6 and we headed for the Trassey.

We couldn’t believe our luck. Pure blue skies and no sign of even a low lying hill mist. Today was our day. FINALLY!

Off we set with our hearts set on settling a score with Slieve Bernagh. A few weeks back we had done the same mountain however it was miserable and I’d fallen and badly hurt myself.  So today we were going to recapture the love for Bernagh.

There wasn’t a sinner about and as the birds sang and the low spring sun came up over Hares Gap, you couldn’t help but just settle into the landscape.

The thing about Bernagh is…There is no clear cut path to the top like there is with more popular mountains like Donard or Commedgh so it’s a keep walking and hope you make it, with some hands and knees scaling up the side of the mountain.

We were soon thinking we were onto the right path and then ending up being

surrounded by bog. Although the sun was shining, it hadn’t been for a few weeks and this became very evident as we tried to head up the mountain. Slowly we gained elevation and with that came a whole new perspective on the Mournes.

We where in the actual heart of the Mournes.  With Donard to our right, Binnan in front of us and views right as far as Rostervor to our left. 

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Nearly at the top we found a non boggy, non heather covered tuff of grass and sat down to enjoy breakfast with a view.

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The sun beamed down, the air was still and the view breathtaking.  I could have easily sat there all day and watch the world pass  by.

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You can easily get lost in it without moving and not a word was said between us. The feeling was obviously mutual. I’ve spent many an hour up the mountains but it was the first time I felt in a completely different world and a new sense of respect for the world around me. Here we were literally only 6 miles from home, surrounded by an absolutely stunning area of outstanding beauty. Without any other person, no cars, no noise and none of lives distractions. Just us and a huge pile of granite.

If I never ever go up the mountains again I won’t feel cheated or that I’ve missed out on anything. I’ve had that experience and count myself lucky that I was able to do it.

Our way back down off the mountain had us realise that there is no easy way to tackle, the now appropriately named, boggy Bernagh. We talked about the next adventures up the mountains and of course the impending Down Rose Selection on Sunday. There was the usual stumbles and falls alongside the craic but thankfully no injuries. 

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It took 3 and a half hours before we came across human life form again. The feeling that at 10am we’d already been up and down the mountain and people where only starting out, gave me a huge sense of achievement.

So that’s a big ✔off my list and looking forward to when I can head up again.

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Moving through the Mournes

I do look forward to Friday Funday every week.

It doesn’t even need to be a Friday…Any day during the week when I am able to get out into the fresh air, leave the headphones behind and enjoy righting the world’s wrongs with Lauren.

Our weekly adventures have had us encounter some near death experiences,  lead way to many awe inspiring ideas and of course the added bonus of spending time in amongst the fantastic landscape that is where we live.

It is a fantastic feeling to stand on Newcastle Promenade and look up to the mountains and say ” I’ve been there and there and there and there” we’ve worked our way up and down the mountains and across them, into the trails and woods that surround them and  beyond.

Ok we’ve been chased by deer, braved the elements and near got stranded as the tide came in but hey its all in a days craic.

This week we took ourselves to the other end of the mountains. Rostrevor is at the far end of the Mournes where they begin. The mountains span roughly 26 miles to Newcastle.

It’s not a place I’ve ventured to much. Let’s face it I was in Kilborney Park for the first time in January when I done a 10k. So was up for checking it out.

I have never encountered such a huge hill. I swear I would have felt safer walking up it than driving it. The car slowly pulled it’s middle class ass up the hill in first and I just hoped to god anyone coming down remembered to follow the one way signs! The laughs and giggles of the two of us as the car climbed.  It was soon becoming evident that this week’s Friday Funday wasn’t going to be about excerise but solely the adventure.

The view of the car park brought relief however even when the car should have been free wheeling it protested at us.

A short 5 minute walk straight uphill lay ahead. I could feel Thursdays circuits class burning in my thighs and being on my toes was the only way I was going to make it. There on the hill stood a big lump of rock, also known as Cloughmore Stone.

For once the views across Carlingford Lough into the Cooley Mountains where clear and you could take in the breathtaking views right as far as Warrenpoint.  It was beautiful and definitely on my list of places to take the kids this summer.

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It wasn’t long before we were back down again and back in the car for what was a downhill haven for the car that worked so hard to get up the hill.

We decided to take the scenic route home and scope out the other possible routes for Friday Funday. Well who’d have guessed we’d bump into Santa and his Reindeers. Santa’s Cottage is on the road and daily the man who plays santa walks the Reindeers.  It was a lovely sight to see on an April morning and nice to be so close to such beautiful creatures.

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So concludes this week’s installment of Friday Funday.

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Friday Funday… Good Friday shenannigans

I’ve a friend…shocking, I know. I’ve a few good ones actually.

Lauren has come into my life like a breath of fresh country air. Although a few more years younger than me than I’d like to admit, I couldn’t see life without her. A bundle of unending energy, something you wouldn’t expect of a student in her final year. With drive, motivation and a sense of adventure which would scare Bear Grylls yet refined enough to be a hot contender for the Down Rose 2016.

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What started out as a wee walk to pass an hour every now and again has progressed into the blind leading the blind through the various tracks and trails of the Mourne Countryside on what is usually a Friday..hence Friday Funday.

Today’s hike was roughly planned. We knew where we were starting and knew roughly where we’d finish. However the middle bit was a bit blurry.

I woke to clear blue skies and the excitement when I could see the mountains from my window. Not a cloud in sight and for once I thought..yes this is it. A day to scale a few peaks and admire God’s country from the top of Northern Ireland.

The Yellow Bug pulled up outside my house at 7.30am and with our packed lunch we headed to the foothills.

Up we climbed to Hares Gap…followed by a drone which was creepy. The air was still and skies still blue. However that was soon to change. We opted for the lower route across the Valley as we knew it had a path and as we were getting to where you could see right into the reservoir the mist descended and what are normally stunning views where engulfed by it.

After a good few km we locked eyes on the summit of Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland highest Mountain. We had both been to the top a few times but the excitement as we caught a glimpse of the tower on top glistening in the sun there was only one way we where heading…and that was UP.

My heart broke as we began the final ascent and the mist which ruined the views across the valley an hour previously had completely taken over the mountain. It became cold, dull and felt like walking through a wind tunnel. Sheltered only by the Mourne Wall.
The pull in the back of your legs was burning and as you climbed on…you felt that reaching the end was never going to happen.

In the distance we seen the tower, beside the tower was a man beginning to get undressed (free strip show) sadly it was just to change into dry gear. I felt it extremely fitting for it being Good Friday to recite a biblical quote of “my god my god, why have you forsaken me”
As although we knew the end was near and the suffering was going to end shortly…the surroundings, the weather and the struggle was still to be endured. Maybe not on the same scale as Jesus in his dying moments on the cross but still sort of reflected the pain and mild anger within us.

The sighs of relief from us both I am sure could be heard for miles around. We made it but.

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Yip could see no more than 10metres! Not the 360 degree view we were expecting or quite rightly deserved.

Sure if the sun had shone we wouldn’t have been able to procrastinate the whole way back down and for the rest of the day essentially…actually I think I can moan about it for a while.

Anyway 4.45mins, 14.5km and over 700m gained in elevation later, we grinded to a halt at Nugelato where we shared the most immense chocolate egg with ice cream and covered in badness.

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So today…Friday Funday from the top of Slieve Donard. I had 4.8km on my training plan today…think I can tick that off as well and truly complete.