Skip to content

Posts from the ‘walking’ Category

One sunny day in Dublin, I took a walk…

Some say I’m a dreamer. In the past, It has gotten me into some trouble. Looking out windows wishing I could be somewhere else, only to focus on the task at hand. I used to think it was a habit but in my formative years, it wasn’t the case.

Last week, I turned another year on the calendar. I usually take a day off work to celebrate. However, the week before I wanted to celebrate the day by giving something back. What could I do? I could walk! I am good at that!

The Saturday beforehand I created a birthday fundraiser on Facebook with all funds going to Epilepsy Ireland. Epilepsy is a condition I have lived with for nearly 30 years and Epilepsy Ireland do great things spreading awareness and provide assistance to those with epilepsy and their families.

I saw the weather forecast for Monday, the 16th, It was due to be sunny but cold. Perfect walking weather. So the decision was made. I would walk from Dun Laoghaire in the south of Dublin to Howth Harbour, 24kms in total. Dublin’s own coastal Camino. We also call it the Sli na Slainte, the Harbour to Harbour or Celtic Camino. For me, it was just an opportunity to give back.

Dun Laoghaire

I got off the 8.30 am train at Dun Laoghaire, tired. It was frosty but quiet at the Harbour. I started to walk northbound with the sea on my right-hand side. The route hogs the coast until it reaches Seapoint where it diverts to the town. At every given opportunity, I reached back to the sea. I passed a few Martello towers, built by the British during the 19th century, for defensive reasons.

I arrived at the River Liffey and the Northside close to midday but I was nowhere near finished at this stage. I had 11km completed, although I had the drab East Wall road to walk down. This was the heart of industrial Dublin.

The River Liffey

One of the nicer parts of the northside is Clontarf and it was a joy to walk along the coast here. There is a good area for walking and cycling right until Bayside – another 5 km away.

Just after 2 pm, and 24km later, I arrived in Howth. I must admit I was tired but very content. I didn’t stick around and returned home for some rest.

I just want to thank everyone who gave a few euros for the fundraiser. Together we raised over €200 and I’m super proud of that. I might make this an annual thing and walk a different route each year, who knows? This was a win-win for everyone. I got to witness the beauty of Dublin one more time (I have walked this route many a time) and helped a great cause.

Towns Along The Way – “E”

The next letter on the “Towns Along the Way” series is “E”, as there are no towns starting with “D” (I dare you to look!). There aren’t too many so here goes…working towards Santiago.

Espinal (map)

Espinal is a typical Basque village and one of the first you will encounter after leaving Roncesvalles. At this point, you have 871km left before Santiago. Its name in Basque is Aurizberri and on leaving the town you are faced with a climb to Alto Mezkiritz. While not many stop here, there are many accommodation options (www.gronze.com). I don’t remember much of this town as I had stopped in Burguette (the town previous), and was deep in conversation with newfound Camino friends!.

Estella (map)

We meet Estella (or to give it it’s full name Estella-Lizarra) 115km from St  Jean Pied de Port. Estella is also part of Navarra and has a population of over 13,000 people. On entering the town, you cross the Picudo Bridge and are greeted with the Church of San Pedro de la Rúa, a large Romanesque church. There are plenty of places to stay (www.gronze.com).  I have good memories of my time here and of the Agora Hostel, a great place to stay.

Espinosa del Camino (map)

And finally, Espinosa del Camino is located about 40km (or 2 days walk) from Burgos. It is in Castille y Leon and has a population of just over 30 people. It makes a living from the Camino with a number of cafes and albergues (www.gronze.com). It was in this town that I met a good Camino friend and had a cafe con leche, only to be told I walk too fast. And that was my first day!! Above we have Albergue La Campana, a great place to stop for a rest!

Weekend Watch #41 – Looking Back…

These two guys from the US take a look back a year after completing the Camino Frances.

Howth Head – A Camino on my doorstep…

I can’t praise Howth Head and it’s various loops high enough. I live 15 minutes on the train from this great town and it’s impossible not to get tired of this beauty of a walk. The Bog of Frogs Loop – it’s longest walk at 12km – has many surprises and I’ve often described it as Camino in one day. It has everything – uphills, descents, bright colours, smells and of course, the sea!

I walked it on Sunday with the Camino Prep / Training meet-up group, starting out just after 10.30. Howth was pretty quiet at this time save for a pipe band that were setting up, possibly for a competition later on that day. Before arriving at the head, there is a gradual ascent on footpath – a little like what it’s like coming out of St Jean Pied de Port, until we arrive at the cliffs. A decent climb up rocks leads us to the cliff face and you can see all of Dublin at this stage. On busy days, people from all over the world visit this area to take in it’s views. I don’t blame them.

Onwards we walked with the strongest walkers at the front and myself and fellow peregrino Oihana at the back. Three hours later we arrived back to the village and devoured a well deserved cafe con leche. It was also great to meet new members to the group, some of whom are planning their own Caminos in the coming months.

Next Saturday, the 1st of July, I walk through Ticknock and the Dublin mountains with Camino Society Ireland. If you are in the area and want to join us, more information is here

Below are some photos of the walk on Sunday, many thanks to Oihana for taking such great pictures.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My Wrist is Free!

Just a quick post to let you know that today my cast on my left wrist has been removed. I have been discharged as the doctors feel happy that the wrist has healed. As you can imagine, it feels very strange and tender now, having been restricted for a month and a half. I had a session of physio following the removal of the cast and I was given some homework to do. My wrist is pretty stiff at the moment but hey! it’s making progress. I’m back to the physio in a month by which time I will be able to do handstands (or at the very least use my pacerpoles).

So now it’s time to get cracking on the exercises given to me, and feel glad that I can eat Christmas dinner with both hands.

20161219_160023.jpg

Ouch!!

Fitbit fanatic – guilty as charged.

Fitbit!

One of the many many “activity tracking wristbands” that measure your lifestyle from how many steps you walk in a given day; how many calories you lose to how many hours you sleep. Nike, Garmin, Jawbone and Microsoft all have products, and prices range from €50 right up to €250 depending on what features you are looking for.

simple.b-cssdisabled-png.h825b270eef65f5acc229a4cf487d8cc7I have been a Fitbit fanatic since the middle of 2014 when I bought a Fitbit Flex and I haven’t looked back. Yes, there may be other features on other brands that differ but the Flex (for me, anyway) was great for starting out. I am such a stat geek that this pulled me hook, line and sinker. I liked the thought of having a record of each of my walks stored and the tracker had a number of smartphone apps to choose from also. You can also set goals for yourself. I try to walk 50km per week. I try to use any excuse to get away from my desk in the office and watch my steps increase. However, the Flex has it’s downsides. It can come off your wrist with any amount of force and I have previously bought two replacement bands.

So, I used my upcoming birthday as an excuse to buyfitbit-charge-hr-heart-rate-and-activity-wristband-blk-large-fb405bkl-iset the Fitbit Charge, the Flex’s sturdier, more steadfast but more expensive brother. But I love it! I own it over a week now and it has given me even more motivation to get out and beat my goals. On it’s main screen, you are provided with the time, your steps total for the day, kms walked for the day, calories lost and the amount of floors climbed. While this shouldn’t be used as a replacement for a watch, I don’t need to wear one.

So, do you wear an activity band? How do you find it? Also, if you own a Fitbit, you can find me here!

A surprise..

After having the weekend and Monday off,  I was greeted by the below picture at my desk. I’m beginning to get a reputation in work!

image

Article : National Pilgrim Paths Day

Article : National Pilgrim Paths Day

Today was National Pilgrim Paths Day in Ireland and this link has a great article to highlight that. Over the last few months, there has been a great drive to encourage people to walk one (or some) of the many walkways throughout Ireland. There are looped, circular and linear walks, each with their own forms of difficulty. Many (if not all) are way-marked and much work has been done to maintain these treasures. Websites like www.irishtrails.ie and www.pilgrimpath.ie promote these trails.

While trojan work has been done, I think that there should be work done in weaving these paths to create one trail over a number of counties. Not only will this attract tourists but it could be great for the many towns it passes. It may be difficult putting structure in place like the various Caminos in Spain but there is no harm working towards it.