For the past 6 years or so it has been our family’s tradition to go for a big hike in the Mourne Mountains on the first of January. While we aren’t big on New Year’s Resolutions, believing you can work towards your own personal goals or aim to live more purposefully whenever you fancy, we do love to set the tone of our year with an adventure. Hopefully starting as we mean to go on! We enjoyed a beautiful hike, cold for sure, but clear, still and bright and for the duration of our 5-hours wandering along ice-lacquered trails we didn’t meet another single person. After the indulgence of the Christmas season it felt good to get our bodies moving in our favourite wild space once again with the chilly air definitely revitalising our sluggish senses!
We took our time and thankfully due to the lack of wind were able to really take in the beautiful views across to the higher snow-capped peaks rather than have to hurry to stay warm. We found a glorious little sweet spot alongside the mountain wall, leaning back on the granite blocks while facing the sun and looking out across the glistening Irish sea beyond and here we paused for lunch. The weather was so mild that we were able to linger and brew fresh coffee while the 3 children ‘ice-skated’ on the frozen puddles; their shrieks and laughter making us smile while we savoured our hot drink and closed our eyes for a few moments of pure mountain bliss!
I truly love days like this, where we plan out a route together and then really take the time to explore and notice the natural world all around us as we go – the awe-inspiring mountains as well as the intricate details and minutiae elements of nature we tread carefully past. There is so much to appreciate and be mesmerised by when we wander at a more leisurely pace; so much we can miss when only fixated on a summit.
As we enter lockdown number 3 here in Northern Ireland we aren’t sure when we will be able to get back to the mountains for our next adventure and I am so grateful that we were able to carry on our tradition. We will miss our wild pursuits in the hills that’s for sure, but we have some special memories to keep us going in the meantime and I know from previous lockdown exprience that adventure is a mindset, not only an experience. You can create awesome experiences in your own garden or local park if you are a little curious and can muster up some creative energy inbetween the immense challenges we are collectively facing in these strange pandemic times! I wonder too if adventuring with my family is more about the beauty of being together in nature rather than where we are or even what we are doing… perhaps we are all learning as we figure out how to navigate during these times that words we thought we understood actually have more than one definition or that we can add new meanings to what they previously meant to us as we adapt to a slower pace.