“Walking thus, hour after hour, the senses keyed, one walks the flesh transparent. But no metaphor, transparent, or light as air, is adequate. The body is not made negligible, but paramount. Flesh is not annihilated but fulfilled. One is not bodiless, but essential body.”
-Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain
It has been just over a week since the first Wild Women Creatives took place and I am still getting my head around what a great and fulfilling day it was. The idea came to me once morning in a mad burst of energy, a vision so clear that I knew I had to make it happen. The plan went like this – a hike in the Mourne Mountains interspersed with readings from Nan Shepherd’s iconic book, The Living Mountain, as a way of paying tribute to this remarkable and pioneering woman in nature writing while also enjoying some quality mountain time of our own.
Nine of us met in a colourful array of bauble hats and warm coats on a cold January morning and instantly the chat was easy and laughter rung out as together we climbed Hen Mountain. Along the way I shared my first reading from The Living Mountain as we sat on some boulders, passed around sharing snacks and enjoyed the views. It was way too chilly to hang around for long so we quickly continued onwards and upwards to the impressive rocky torrs which make Hen Mountain such a special little mountain to explore. I had planned to read again here, but the wind was powerful so we edged our way around the first torr to a more sheltered spot and hunkered down in the grass to listen to Nan’s poetic writing about the Cairgorms which she knew and loved so well. Once I had finished, we sat awhile, everyone now relaxed and getting to know each other. I love it when people come together who have never met yet click straightaway and find connections – Northern Ireland being such a small place generally means we have friends in common – a great ice-breaker for sure!
Next, it was onwards to explore the most expansive plateau where the wind was truly whipping across its surface in style and threatening to blow us off our feet. Undeterred, my wild women passed around the sweets and continued to chit-chat merrily as we carefully descended and rounded the hillside towards the final torr. Here, the wind was equally fierce but we sat down on the rocks to admire the views nonetheless before taking the final stretch downwards, pausing alongside the huge rock face of Hen for another reading.
A sheltered lunch-spot, kindly rigged up by my brother while we walked, awaited our return and was very welcome indeed as we tucked into a 3-course al fresco lunch and reflected on our walk. The weather had thankfully stayed dry and despite the cold wind, everyone agreed it had been a great experience.
For me personally, as the organiser, it was a truly special day for a couple of reasons. Firstly, to have a dream so vivid and then see it come to life in such a beautiful way feels like an immense gift – yes, it took lot of work and planning but I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my love for the mountains with others. And, as I reflect and write about the day what I remember most is the laughter, the meaningful conversations, and the power of wholehearted women connecting. Yes, the exercise in the mountains was good and the food delicious, but the company was what really made it sparkle for me. Thanks ladies for a great day in the mountains!
Big thanks to the gorgeous Vicki from Rural Lane Photography for the beautiful images which captured the spirit of the day so well.
WHATS COMING UP NEXT AT WILD WOMEN EVENTS?
Saturday 22nd February: Wild Women Creatives: Hike & Sketch with Artist, Gemma O’Neill. Tickets on sale here.
Saturday 14th March: Wild Women Wanders: Small group hikes suitable for beginners. Tickets on sale here.
Saturday 21st March: Wild Women Wellbeing: Flow – Yoga & Lakeside Walk with Yoga Instructor, Andrea Jones. Tickets on sale here.
WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO ATTEND A WILD WOMEN EVENT? Check out this gorgeous blog by Annette Kelly from Four Acorns here.