Learn from my mistakes! (by Ciara Donaghue)

Learn from my Mistakes

It a normal Sunday morning, except for a sandwich, I have my bag for my Glen walk ready from the night before.  I leave town at 0930.  As I have a terrible sense of direction I put on my best friend google maps.  She tells me it will take 58 minutes.  I was sure it was a 40 minute journey but I trust her so off I go.

The route feels all wrong.  I’m anxious I’m going to be late, but I trust google maps as it has guided me on many an occasion when I was lost.  As I drive through Donnybrook it dawns on me.  Two days before I had asked google maps to avoid all tolls so, of course, she is taking me through town to the N11.  I weave frantically back to the M50.  Google maps is now confused and for the next 30 minutes I have to listen to her trying to reroute me off the motorway.  I’m driving so I can’t turn her off!!  Conscious that I’m running late I dash into a garage, buy a sandwich and some M&M’s, dash back to the car and throw them on the front seat.

I arrive in Roundwood at 1031 stressed from driving and swearing at cyclists.  The car pool people are there, I breadth a sigh of relief.  After some discussion about who should go in what car, I am driving two others to iron bridge.  A last minute change of plan and they are driving me, so I grab my stuff from the boot of the car and put it into theirs.  Off we go, I have made it, I can relax!!

Five minutes into the drive I get that sinking feeling and swear silently to myself.  My sandwich and bag are on the front seat of my car.  I can hardly believe it!!  There’s nothing I can do so I hope that someone in the medium medium walk has packed too many sandwiches and won’t be hungry.  On arrival to iron bridge, slightly panicked I jovially relay my tale of woe and thrown myself on the mercy of my group, who very generously reassure me that I won’t go hungry.

I have been quite excited about this walk.  Being relatively new to the club and having taken heed of Hugon’s advice at the talk in Foleys the week before I had my new platypus.  It makes me feel like a real walker.  It’s a hot day and I’m appropriately equipped!!  As we go along I can’t get any water out of it.  I have turned the nozzle right and then left but nothing despite my efforts, not a drop.  More silent swearing, I despair and wonder why anyone uses them, I’m going back to using a bottle.

After some fitting jeering over my nonexistent lunch, lunchtime arrives and feeling embarrassed I take out my flask of tea.  With the generosity of my fellow walkers I eat very well, cheese and relish sandwich, a mini mars and two chocolate biscuits.  I recommend anyone going on the medium medium walk to forget their lunch as a better one is generously donated.

During lunch discussing again how useless my platypus is I take it out of the bag.  The first thing said to me is turn it the other way up.  Oh dear, I feel a right fool.  Of course that’s the way around it should go, the water flows.  These platypus things are great; I will never use a bottle again.

It was a great walk and I made it there and back safe, fed and watered.  After the walk I take my phone out of my bag to see if anyone has messaged me to discover that in my haste I had forgotten to turn google maps off so the poor girl had been rerouting me for 4 hours to try and get me to Roundwood.  3% battery and then it died.

A mountainous thank you to all who not only fed me but made it a memorable day.


Ticks – A note from the environment desk

Ticks are a comparatively recent threat to our hillwalking enjoyment. Why?  Because some of them cause Lyme Disease.  While it’s not a common infection, it’s a very serious one and, undiagnosed, it can cause serious health problems for sufferers, including joint inflammation, numbness and temporary paralysis.  In the latter stages of the disease it can cause, amongst others, memory impairment and personality changes.

While this may explain some of your more bizarre behaviours, it is still wise to take some simple precautions and be vigilant.  After all, ticks, like unpleasant people, can make a nuisance of themselves in crowded woodland and heathland areas.

Covering up and wearing light coloured clothing is the best defense. After a hike, check around your neck and hair line, behind ears, waist line, groin and behind knees too.

What do they look like?  Have a browse here:  http://www.ticktalkireland.org/ticksweeppics.html

Be safe out there!

Happy Hillwalking

Your faithful Environment Officer Madeleine

From Madeleine’s Environment Desk


What a day for a clean up.  Sunshine was promised,  but played peekaboo between dark clouds and cold breezes.  It was a real Irish day; on with the layers, off with the layers.  One thing was sure.  The sunscreen was definitely a must, whatever the colour of the sky.  Close to seventy smiling Glenwalkers took on the challenge of collecting the most litter, being the most enthusiastic litter picker and finding the most unusual piece of litter, while walking our lovely hills.  Prizes were promised, words were exchanged and off they went.  Glenmalure has a rich history and a mining heritage that is now being celebrated.  Restoration of the best preserved crusher house in the country is taking place in the Baravore area.  It dates back to 1850 when mining was the main industry of the valleys.  Did you notice the tall narrow tower as you walked along the forest road towards the old Glenmalure hostel?

Glenwalk wasn’t the only club out today.  The Irish Ramblers held a number of walks, and were persuaded to join in the litter clean up, taking some bags with them, for the homeward section of their hikes.  They have a volunteer carpark attendant when they hike in areas with a reputation for car break-ins.  Today, it was Dominic’s turn to forego his day in the hills in order to ensure that all the cars in the carpark were safe from opportunistic thieves.  Maybe some day Glenwalk might do the same, who knows!

Back at the Lodge, over a cuppa and chat about the exploits of the day, the winners were finally chosen.  And there was plenty of literature to browse and read about rocks and plants.  There was even notes about our bogs, and why they’re so special.  Lots of people went home with interesting charts about flora and fauna.  And the main winners chose books about birds, the Wild Atlantic Way and Wicklow (surprise surprise).

Glenmalure by Chus

The most amazing find had to be the discarded satellite dish that Roger found in the ditch and carried back with the help of  Joe, Sarah, and Stephen.

And the most repeated comment?   “I had no idea there was so much litter out there, until we started collecting”


The wildlife in Glenmalure, whether four-legged, feathered or leaved, will be the better for your efforts.  Glenwalk, you rock!


(Photos by Chus & Madeleine)