Take a Hike...
It started as one of those good intentions; the ones you make while sitting on the couch watching television programmes in which other people are doing healthy active things and one of you says "Lets start walking again." My husband used to hike a lot and I was known to occasionally perambulate, though admittedly in a more leisurely fashion than I might have led him to believe.
Before our wedding last year we both walked miles everyday, for the sake of vanity. Then we got fat and lazy. Now it was time to get up and start moving again and how better than by going on a hike through the beautiful Glendalough forest pary, in Wicklow? Wicklow is known as the Garden of Ireland and for very good reason, and Glendalough - the Glen of the Two Lakes - is its lynch pin. So we packed a bag with snacks and water and emergency items and off we set.
The route we took was a mixture of the Blue and Yellow Walks. To me, this meant nothing. My parents used to drag us over hill and dale as children and I conceived a violent dislike of real hiking as a result so I was firmly in denial by the time we set off. I imagined an hour, maybe two, spent in the spring sunshine enjoying the peace and solitude of the hills. We parked in the car park beside the lower lake and walked to the start of the hike, about twenty minutes away. I began to realize how unfit I am.
Five hours later, as I limped to the car I reflected on several things. That it was utterly humiliating to have to stop every few minutes on uphill stretches but not quite as much as being passed out by a troop of girl guides and their elderly leader. That puce was not a good look for my face. Oh and that it probably shouldn't have taken us that length of time to do the hike.
I had managed, just, until my husband pointed to an exposed mountain top and announced that once we had crossed that "hill" it was all downhill from there. When he saw my face and I - reasonably - asked why he had not mentioned this before he said, lamely, "I forgot it was there."
It was a very long walk. I am very unfit. I now walk three times a week because I am terrified I will have to go back and do that hell-trek again and if I do I want to be at least a tiny bit fitter. But if anything would compensate for the sheer horror of that Sunday afternoon it is the view. The incredible, breathtaking, peerless beauty of Glendalough. Someday, if I keep going, I may even be able to enjoy it someday without crying and begging to be carried back to the car park.