The latest Wild Women Wanders group were well and truly treated to a super mountain workout in the glorious summer sunshine when they took to the trails on 18th July. Northern Irish summers are notoriously wet so I was delighted when driving down past Spelga Dam to be able to see the mountaintops which have been obscured by cloud and mist as of late!
Meeting with the group of ladies I knew the day was going to be a lot of fun because from the offset the chat flowed freely and warmly – everyone laughing as we made our introductions and discussed the route for the day. Together we trekked towards the first summit of the day – Rocky Mountain – a sharp and steep little climb not far from the carpark, which, after a half hour burst of exertion opens up to beautiful views across the Mournes.
From here, we wandered along the ridge to Tornamrock, everyone commenting on the beauty of the landscape. The leisurely pace meant it was easy to chat and enjoy the scenery – the purple heather the star of the show, radiant in the early morning sunlight – and gently we made our way along the trail without another soul in sight.
The early start really pays off when you get the entire area to yourself and so we paused along the way to enjoy a coffee-break, take photos and simply breathe in the fresh mountain air. The ladies pointed to mountains in the distance, asking me the names, enquiring too about other suitable trails for them and their families to enjoy over the summer months. I am in my happy place sharing what I know and consulting the map when an unusual mountain name evades me.
We were so fortunate to be able to enjoy lunch at the summit of Pierce’s Castle where it’s ordinarily blowing a gale and you can just about stand upright! The conversation continued as we tucked into some well-earned fodder, all the while appreciating the stunning setting and time away from the hustle and bustle. I love asking what people would normally be doing at that time on a Saturday afternoon and as the answers come back we realize just how great it is to be free from work and chores, deadlines and to-do lists…that could all wait while we took some time-out for self-care, exercise, new friendships and time in nature.
The meander along the trail back to the carpark was subdued and peaceful as weariness set-in. As we walked, we watched as a group paraglided amid the crisp blue and white sky, circling overhead then swooping away again on the currents. I pointed out the route we had travelled along and the group was well-impressed with how far they had trekked. It’s a nice thing to realize you’re way more capable than you sometimes give yourself credit for! Hearts full and legs heavy, we paused by the river for a final cuppa, by now more people were arriving on the trail, reinforcing that the early start was well worth it to have that wild space all to ourselves, if only for a few hours!
Thank you ladies for a super day in the hills!
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