September is here..!

fullsizeoutput_1de5

The evenings are getting shorter and the darkness falls quick. But it does not stop me from getting out and about on the hills of Wicklow. Got this shot the other evening being out doing our navigation practice in the woods. Got to this open area and the mist was sitting low and could not resist taking a snap.

cropped-dsc00835.jpg

The autumn is the season having the most gorgeous colours, I love the contrast between the red berries, the green leaves and the brick wall in the background in this photo.

fullsizeoutput_1db6

A couple weeks ago I was out on the hills with some people marshalling at a charity race, and being out and about you get to see things like this. We had rain clouds coming from one side and the sun was setting on the other and the heather is so gorgeous this year. I love the purplish ‘carpet’ covering the grounds. And to tell you the truth the heather is a great cushion while doing the bivvy at night. Yep, have actually slept outside up on those hills. The experience is interesting, but have to say that I cannot wait til all the midges are gone. They have been really annoying this year.

IMG_2368

This picture was taken while heading out on one of the bivvy nights. This is taken standing above the Miners Village in Glendalough, after walking up the zig-zags (as we call it) and the lake in the background is the Upper Lake. It was a lung buster getting up here I have to admit. I love this place, and once you get up a bit you get a different perspective of the surroundings. On the way up here we came across a few deers that were looking at us like we were some ‘out from space’ creatures.

IMG_2347

Well, this is not the best picture but as close as I could get in these circumstances. It is quite rewarding when you see things like this, makes it worth while getting out. We were from here navigating up to the spot where we should stay for the night. The forecast was rain in early morning, but in fact we were very lucky. There was no rainfall during the night which you can imagine felt good. But, we woke to a huge mist coming over us so we had to raise early, get our gear together and start our trek back to base.

IMG_2361

The mist lifted once we got a bit lower, but then the rain started to drizzle and it got real wet. But still, look at this view, isn’t is gorgeous? No matter when you’re out on these mountains/hills it is just as beautiful (in my opinion). This was Saturday morning at around 6.30 a.m. and it turned out to be a very busy day, so was up and down the hills in various locations.

As you can see our backpacks were pretty big and might seem heavy, but it was not so bad. You need to be clever when packing for a night out, and not pack things you absolutely won’t be needing. Keep it to the minimum, but be safe.

  • Sleeping bag – in the Wicklow mountains you’ll need a warm one.
  • Bivvy bag to put outside your sleeping bag.
  • Extra warm change of clothes
  • Food and snacks, water
  • Ground mat
  • Stove (if you have one) if not, there’s always someone in the group that has one.
  • Plastic bags to keep your backpack dry and your boots.
  • Storm shelter to cover your equipment, also good to get under to get changed for ‘bed’. (this should ALWAYS be in your bag).
  • All your other outdoor necessities; map, compass, head torch plus spare batteries, hat, gloves, buffs, first aid kit, waterproof trousers and jacket, etc.
  • Basically, think ahead and be prepared for the unexpected, without packing too much because you have to carry all the stuff all the way – and rain and mist comes in quickly at times.

 

Enjoy your time on the Hills!

Lugnaquilla walks

Since my last posts I have been walking up to the summit of Lugnaquilla twice, entering from two different directions. It’s a very interesting mountain to get up to, and sometimes it can be a hit and miss in regards to the weather, but that’s just how it is here in IRELAND. Lugnaquilla is 931 m and the climb up is a lung buster, like today we took a route starting from Baravore in Glenmalure valley, which is a tough climb uphill. The forecast was not too bad and we were prepared for quick changes in the weather. The forecast showed a mix basket really. 

When we were almost half way up the first climb it got all boggy and rough terrain emerged, and of course the rain came over us so had to graciously jump into our over trousers and jackets, to cover up from the rain and very strong winds. It was really cold too, really rough. 

But it’s worth all the efforts seeing these views. 


Once we arrived at the summit we searched for a sheltered place to have our lunch. The wind was roaring up there, coming from SW. I can tell you that coffee tasted so good and enjoyed my lunch big time. We sat there admiring the view and discussed what route to take going back down. 


We decided to walk back down at the same side as we came up, but chose a slightly different path. Walking along a steep ridge, the path was a bit wet in places so we had to be careful. You don’t really want to have a fall here at this place.  


And walking that steep track down brought us down to arts lough, a little lake situated at the bottom. But our journey was far from over, beyond this lake we had another steep path to venture at, it was so steep that the best way was to zig zag your way down. In doing that is less hard on your knees. And also using the waking sticks helps tremendously. 


We walked in total 15 km and took it slow, 5,5 hours. We started out at nine in the morning. 


These are pictures from my first visit to this summit. This was a few months ago and the weather was much cooler, and it was very foggy while climbing up on the SW side. But once at the summit after having walked a short while, the clouds lifted, and showed us the most magnificent views over the Wicklow mountains. This walk ended up being much longer but it was too dangerous to go back from where we came due to the strong winds and fog on that side. We had a few not so experienced walkers with us so had to choose a safe alternative to get back down to Glenmalure. 

Lugnaquilla has become one of my favourite high spots in Wicklow. I never get tired of the surrounding views, the feeling of total freedom comes over me while I’m out there exploring those places. 

Once you have the suitable gear before heading out, and to be prepared for rapid weather changes and wind chill. Good water proof and insulating clothes, hat and gloves, good pair of hiking boots, compass and map, a storm shelter should you need to take shelter, survival bag, change of warm clothes, water and hot drinks, food and snacks to sustain you during your walk. 

These are things you should always consider bringing in your hill kit. Them you can add other things you consider be needing, first aid kit, whistle and a fully charged phone. At times the connection on the hills are poor, so we cannot rely on it to a 100% for navigation, the best is to use your map and compass and knowing how to read/use them. 

  • I have done some other interesting walks and will post about them at a later stage. 

Mountaineering is fun

January has been very mixed here in Ireland, weather wise, we have had everything from frost and cold days, to strong winds, rain and milder weather. And some conditions makes it a bit rougher being up in the mountains. But, if you are well prepared before heading you, you should be fairly safe. It can be mild and warm at the lower grounds, but once you get up higher, the temperature drops and sometimes depending on the heights you’re at, you’ll notice a big difference. The temperature drops 1 degree per/100 m you are ascending.

So if you for example are going to challenge walking up to the summit of Lugnaquilla, Wicklow which is 925 m. The temperature on lower grounds are lets say +9 degrees C then the temperature at the summit of Lugnaquilla would be zero degrees, and add the wind chill on top of that. It can be really nasty up there if you’re not prepared wearing the proper clothing and having the proper gear with you.

During the past three weeks of January I have had a fairly busy schedule being out in the mountains, where two of the weekends I were undergoing training in Mountain Skills. http://www.mountainskills.ie/

If you are getting out on a hill walk in the mountains, it is essential to know how to use your compass and map, those are on of the most important skills you will need, to be safe if you get caught in bad weather or fog/mist. The visibility can be as little as 20 m and in those conditions you really need to trust your compass and stick to your bearing. This is important! During these courses this was practiced in day light as well as during night time. We were lucky to have good visibility during both weekends, but things looks very different when you’re out there when it is dark. But knowing and trusting your navigation skills will keep you safe out there, and to be careful is essential. And of course wearing the right clothing and equipment, I cannot stress this well enough!

I never get tired of being out in the mountains, and I guess when you have found your passion for it, that is the way it is! That’s why I chose to join the mountain rescue team to do what I love and at the same time something meaningful as helping others in need out there. It’s a win-win situation in my opinion.

What draws me to the mountains? Well, since I grew up on the countryside of Sweden, I have always loved being out in the nature. There is nothing like getting out walking in the forest, on the hills or just being outdoors, it always gives me a sense of freedom while I am out there and it keeps me sane, sort of. Having an office job as I do, being outdoors takes the edge of the stressful tasks I undergo on a daily basis at work. So yet again it’s a win-win situation. And not only that, being out in the nature is very therapeutic, whether you’re out riding, hill walking, running, cycling or simply just being. Nature will often have a calming effect on most of us. And to be out hill walking, you come across easy forest tracks, paths, rougher grounds, man made tracks and that makes it exiting in itself, because the terrain are changing depending on where you are.  Walking up a hill, it may feel tough, but the reward is the view you’re getting once you are up there. Take a look at the pictures i have posted above. They may not look like much, as they are very dull and showing gray and misty weather, but to me that is absolutely gorgeous. No matter the weather the mountains are fantastic!

This weekend there is resting on the agenda since I have a slight cold, and it is a good opportunity to let the body rest after all the physical hard work during the past weeks. I’ll be back at it soon enough since we have more training lined up. But so far so good and am grateful that I have the healthy and physique, so will keep at it as long as it allows me to.

February is knocking at the door, and a new month with new adventures.

A Wednesday trek ascending Maulin..

On January 4th I was out on the first hill walk in 2017, and the task was to trek from Crone forest ascending Maulin (Co. Wicklow) linking up with Wicklow way on the way back to the Crone Forest car park. http://mikeshikes.ie/

The weather looked very promising in the morning, with blue skies, a little breeze and comfortable temperatures. But as an experienced hill walker I know it would be slightly colder and breezier once getting up a bit on the hills. So, this time I layered up so that I would be nice and snug no matter weather we’d face up there.

In the pictures above we are still climbing uphill from our starting point at the Crone forest car park. There are a few lung busters on the way, but we took it nice and easy. And, as you can see it started to be quite misty once we reached the higher grounds, and the wind was picking up too. If you look closely at the first picture you will see a raven soaring in the winds, I like their characteristic sound.

While we were trekking up along the ridge as you can see on the first larger picture above, it was extremely windy, coming from West. And you could feel the chill in them, so had to wrap up and pull up the hood while walking there. And once we started to walk around the bend, heading further up hill up onto the summit the ground was a bit rough with rocks and chisel. We had to be careful and see where you put your feet, you can easily twist an ankle if you’re not paying attention to the ground. I am using trekking poles when walking on rougher ground, it helps keep the stability and you can at the same time sort of “feel” your way through the grounds. Trekking poles are also good to use when walking down hills to ease the pressure for your knees.

The descent from Maulin was not so bad, and went fairly fast, we had the wind in our backs. And once down we linked up with Wicklow way.  If you want to read more about the Wicklow way you can press the link above. The Wicklow way is a 127 km long trail, which you can take in sections. Some do the whole stretch and camp out. When we are out walking we often link onto it one way or another.

img_5405

This is the Wicklow way trail we were following.

img_5411

Beautiful view and the gorse is a lovely contrast to the dull environment. It was very misty unfortunately, but this happens ever so often here in Ireland, especially if you’re heading for the hills. Some days you can be lucky to have beautiful views, and other times it is like pea soup, you see absolutely nada.

But we had a great time and was even passed by a few mountain bikers on the way down. This was a fairly short walk (8km) but was enjoyable. Afterwards we met for a coffee down at Poppies in Enniskerry village which was our initial meeting point.

This coming weekend I have a Mountain Skill course so it will be all about navigation with map and compass. Looking forward to that very much.

A year in pictures

Happy New Year! 2016 has ended and a new year has begun. 2016 has been an eventful year, with new skills to learn and all that comes with it. In February I went on a four week long journey to Denmark, Sweden & Norway. It was not a leasure trip, it was purely for work. I spent two weeks in Copenhagen, Denmark, one week in Stockholm, Sweden and lastly one week in Oslo, Norway.

Even though I was working a lot, I tried to also take time to spend some time in the cities, to look around and get the feel for the three cities. Well, Stockholm is sort of in my home back garden, know it by heart and I never visit Stockholm without walking to my favorite area behind the Royal castle. This area is called the Old Town, and I can wander around these old buildings for hours and hours, and every now and then sneak into a coffee shop to have a coffee and gorgeous cinnamon buns.

Then we have Copenhagen, it’s a nice city, I have been visiting here a few times in the past. This time I had two full weeks, and unfortunately after the first week I got a really nasty cold, or I think it was the flu. I was really bad, but still had to go into work and do what I was there to do. Well…well…

img_2390

It was mid march when I finally got back to Ireland, and boy was I happy to be back HOME. After leaving Oslo, that still had a very cold winter, I arrived home to Spring. The garden were starting to wake up and I could not help myself, but enjoying my favorite spot in our garden and let the Sun warm my face.

 

In May we decided to take a long weekend away and went to the west part of Ireland, to Gougane Barra. We arrived to the hotel in the afternoon, and this place was really quiet and nice. Located beside a lake. And just a short walk from a forest national park, and I think that was the most gorgeous place, it was like entering another world. The second day we went for a walk after breakfast before heading off on our day trip. And here we were walking on the road towards the forest. Himself and I said, that we can just take a quick look and see what we find. But we never expected the things we saw once we walked around the bend. In front of us where the most amazing landscape, and I kid you not, we saw tree after tree after tree…and for Himself designing gardens and tree houses…this was like stepping into a paradise.

img_2945

This year has been a lot about nature, and being out exploring! Himself and I we love the simple things in life. The pictures above is from our fishing trip to Ennis, Co. Clare, also in the west of Ireland. We stayed in a nice hotel, and it was pretty quiet, just like we want it. But, the main thing this weekend was just fishing. Well, I did not do so much fishing, I was more like the documenter of the whole thing, and have to admit it was quite peaceful sitting by the lake late in the evening, listening to the surrounding farmers getting their kettles ready for the evening, cows needed to be fed and milked, and as we sat there and the time moved, it became quieter and quieter. It was still a bit cold, and we really had to wrap up well.

img_2946

In August we went down to West Cork, to explore that area. Himself has spent a lot of times down there, but I had not been to all the places yet. It’s a beautiful area, with the sea, all the fresh fish and seafood. We spent nearly two weeks down there, driving around, simply enjoying the simple things of life.

img_3068

We did have some nice sunny days this summer, and BBQ was on the menu a lot.

Here is my favorite spot, our garden, I have spent many early mornings and days out here.

In between all the busyness I have gotten out with the cycling club doing some good spins around Wicklow area. We usually do our Sunday spins.

img_5141

During October – December I have spent a lot of time out in various areas of the Wicklow mountains. And, every time I am out there I get a sense of freedom. It does not matter if it is a dull and grey day or a sunny day, the mountains are just a beautiful no matter the weather.

I was out cycling this morning, the second day of 2017, and it was a beautiful morning with a little bit of chill in the air. But it was all calm, and clear blue skies, and just lovely. While working our way up the hilly roads, it is lovely to look around you and seeing those rolling hills, beautiful landscape, sheep calmly eating their way on the fields, the mountains rising up in the surrounding distance.

The pictures above are taken from various areas of Wicklow mountains.

So, yes, it has been a very eventful year and this year can only get better. There are many things in the making, and goals to work towards and I feel very exited about them all.

I will get back with more updates on that later. But for now I am closing the book for 2016 and will move on into this new year 2017.

 

The wild Mountains

Recently I have been out on a challenging walk through rougher terrains of the Wicklow mountains. A few of us were out doing a walk. We walked a part which took us over very rough terrain, with wet grounds, rough bog areas and mist. I knew from the start that this would be a long day’s walk, and prepared myself by starting out eating a good breakfast. Packing my provisions I would need during the day, to refill your energy depots are extremely important while doing the hill walks. I always carry raisins/sultanas, chocolate and snack bars in my “food bag” along with some lunch which usually is wraps that I prepare before heading out.

To chose the right gear is essential, and always be prepared for the worst, anything can happen while your out there. It can be nice weather when you start walking, but it can change very quickly once you get up a bit higher. The air gets cooler and you are facing stronger winds and many times mist/fog which makes the visibility limited. And this particular morning it started out pretty good on the lower grounds, but once we started to get up a bit higher we were facing the mist and cold air. The climb up towards Art’s Cross was the toughest part, because it was quite steep and you had to take it very slow and easy while climbing up. The ground was extremely wet and mucky, so it was quite slippery.

This day we were walking some 17 km and it took us in total seven hours.

When we were out on the flat area working our way back, we came across a pack of deer, there is a lot of them around the mountains. Luckily for us, that the fog had lifted otherwise we would not be able to have such clear sight as we had here. The deer’s were gorgeous as you can see in these photos. We stopped and were quiet not to disturb them too much, they eventually ran off  and we could continue our journey over the bog.

So you can see from these photos, that the grounds we were walking were not even, you had to be really careful and look where you put your feet. My advise is to always wear a good pair of boots with good ankle support, to help you feel more comfortable. And gaiters is always good to wear to prevent muck and wet get into your shoes and it also keeps the lower part of your trousers clean. I made a few jumps over the bog where I landed with one foot, and I could hear a ‘swomp’ and my foot went down a few inches in the muck. This happened a few times on this walk, but thanks to my good choice of gear my feet were warm and dry when I got home as well as my lower legs. However there were a few times I had to make a bum slide to be able to get down from a high sloop where it was wee too high to make a jump. But that comes with the work as they say.

Here are a few more picture, that will give you an idea of the area we walked. The views are always spectacular, even on a grayish day like this.

I have been resting for a few days this week and will be heading out on the hills again on Saturday, to a different part of Wicklow Mountains. This time we will walk down in the Glenmalure area which is south west from Glendalough.

I will be back with more updates next week. It is getting closer to Christmas and hope that you are all prepared to enjoy this holiday season.

Brockagh Mountain, Saturday hill walk

I’m waking up to a quite grey morning, the temperature is around 6 degrees so it’s not so bad. We should be alright for the hill walk this morning, I am taking a peak towards the mountains and it looks like it might be rainy up there. The thing with the mountains is, that you never really know. It can be good weather or it can be completely different from what it is on the lower grounds. So, one of my ground rules before heading out – Always be prepared! There is nothing worse than getting caught in a really bad weather and not having packed the necessary things you would need, such as rain over trousers, or warm layers, extra hat and gloves [in case you need to change]. Today we actually had to stop a few people from coming out with us, for the reason that they did not have proper clothing on. If someone is showing up not wearing proper shoes, and  wearing jeans that is a no-no. And the route we were walking today was very rough in places very rocky, mucky and uneven.

Things that I always carry with me on a ‘normal’ hike is an extra warm layer of clothes, extra hat and gloves [in case I need to change] or if someone else hasn’t brought any, my snack bag with sultanas, snack bars and chocolate & food, a flask of hot tea with honey, almost 2 liter of water, personal first aid kit, map & compass, lip balm, and other small bits and pieces I might need. I tend to think one step ahead…

Our leader at http://www.mikeshikes.ie  gave me another task for today, and that was to guide the group. I was going in the front with the map, and guiding the group along our path. And since it was quite mucky and rocky in places, I walked ahead and they simply followed in my foot steps [literally]. I take these ‘tasks’ seriously since this is a part of my training for the Mountain rescue team, and the more practice the better to get confident on the mountains. And at the same time I get to practice more on my navigating skills using the map and compass, and getting our bearing, paying attention to the surrounding land marks etc. I am getting to know the mountains more and feel comfortable out there. There are probably many other things to do on a Saturday, but this is what I do and loving it.

And one other upside of being out like this is that it is extremely refreshing and relaxing, there’s nothing better than being outdoors in the nature, among the hills, forests and what have you. And wherever you turn, when you’re up there, you have these spectacular views.

This walk too us a good four hours and the total distance was around 11 km. That is a nice distance and the weather was not too bad, it was a bit rainy in places and cold wind on the summits, but once we were in sheltered places it was very nice.

image

Next week we are heading for Luggala Mounatin, Co. Wicklow, it’s a 586 m summit. With great views of Lough Tay, neighbouring Knocknacloghoge, Tonelagee, Scarr and Djouce, and perhaps we will run into some deer’s too, they are running free in that area. Something else we might see is the peregrine falcons, which inhabit the nearby cliffs. The terrain will be minor road, hard rough mountain track, rough boggy mountain track with often indistinct tracks. Stay tuned on this spot and I’ll be back with an update next week.

In the meantime I wish you a great and relaxing weekend and week ahead.

Here are a few doodles I was doing this week, I draw/write these things in my journal.

 

There’s always something to celebrate

Today I am celebrating ten years living in Ireland, I arrived on the 25th of November 2006 on my own and with literally two empty hands. At the time I didn’t have a proper goal, my only goal at the time was that I wanted and needed a job, and as it has turned out it has proved to be a good choice and a smart choice, if I may say so.

img_4990It has been a long and interesting journey, have not always been easy coming in as a foreigner in a new country. But, I was fortunate to have a good base of English when I arrived, it has made it a lot easier for me to integrate into the society and get use to the language [we do have many different accents here in Ireland too] I started my time in Ireland down in Cork city, and the accent there is very different from where I live now. But, you get use to it and life goes on, kind of.

 

 

Today started with an early rise, even though I was off from work, but lot’s to do. There is an event on for tomorrow RTL – Run The Line, which is one of three charity events the DWMRT (Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team) runs every year. RTL

And we have some 600+ participant’s that has signed up for this particular run, so we are a good crowd out tomorrow working along the routes. A few of us were out marking the routes today, and above are a few pictures from there. It is up in the Dublin Mountains, and it looks like it will be a dry day tomorrow, which is fantastic for all the runners, and for us too of course that will be at various check points guiding the runners.

I must say that I truly enjoy being part of this fantastic group to do something meaningful and to be able to be outdoors as many of you probably have guessed – I really like!! And, even if the day may be grey and dull, the things you see when you are out there and up on the hills of Dublin- and Wicklow mountains is spectacular.

img_5020

This picture was taken by one of the guys in the team today, I am the tallest one. And in the background you see Dublin city below and in front of us.

So, tomorrow it is a “wrap up well” day, because it is a bit chilly out there and up on the hills there is a breeze as well. The forecast looks good, so that is fantastic!

 

Here’s a few of my journal doodles I have done recently, in between all the busy times I enjoy relaxing just doing some doodles, it can be anything really. And, soon it is Christmas time and looking forward to put up all the lights and decorations. I have started a little bit already.

img_4966

I have put some light on my “bike” looks really good.

Enjoy your week and stay warm!!

 

 

Trek up to Scarr summit (641m)

The hill walk this weekend was taking us up to the summit of Scarr mountain, co Wicklow. img_4963

At this hill walk I knew it was going to be cold, especially when reaching higher grounds. So this day the warm gear was coming on. Where I live is on the lower grounds and we are only about 15 – 20 minutes by car from the mountains, and leaving our area you are gradually climbing upwards, and you can even feel your ears pop. Luckily there was no ice on the roads this morning, I was a bit worried that it might be. When I reached the higher grounds, I could see the snow covered mountain tops in the distance and I was thinking, this is absolutely gorgeous.

I met up with the group (http://www.mikeshikes.ie) in a place called Roundwood and we were a good amount getting out today. From Roundwood we then drove another 5-10 minutes to park the cars before starting our trek for the day. This was a slightly longer route, and the first half of it would contain a lot of climbing, and there were some false horizons. But as we started our journey up the hill, the air slightly changed and we started to encounter frost on the ground, and some icy patches where the water was creating streams down the hills.

The wind was slightly picking up while we were climbing, but the views that met us on the way up was absolutely stunning. You certainly feel like one with nature up there, it’s not only beautiful, if you’re not careful it can be quite dangerous. It is important to first of all take it easy, look where you put your feet, to avoid slipping and hurting yourself. Stay on the grass side of the path if possible, to avoid icy patches. At some areas with rocks it might be hard to see the think layer of ice.

img_4953

In the picture above we have just reached the summit, and you see how much frost that is covering the grounds. The mountains in the far distance are a bit higher and some of them were totally covered with snow. Lugnaquilla is one of them and it was practically completely white. At this summit, Scarr, it was very cold so we only took a quick nibble break before we started our journey down to the lower grounds.

I have been walking with this group http://www.mikeshikes.ie  for a while and the leader, Mike, lives in the same estate as us. And he is a trained mountain guide and always takes us on very good walks, real hikes if you like. Because we walk through terrains that can be both easy and tough, and we really get to experience the roughness and wildness of the landscape. The Wicklow mountains has many beautiful spots, and each of them has something special.

On this walk we encountered various views as you can see in the pictures, down below it was calmer and felt really warm actually. But when reaching higher up, it was changing fast and you were really happy to be all wrapped up. I can’t stress this enough, that to dress properly is essential when getting out on the hills. It is better to peal off a layer if you get warm or the opposite put on an extra layer if it gets colder. Always be prepared by bringing an extra layer of warm clothes in your back pack along with hot drink, water and food/snacks. It is good to carry a storm shelter and survival blankets as well, should you get caught in bad weather.

Where I come from it was a necessity to wrap up well, it’s almost like when you learn to ride a bicycle, after a while you just do it…the autopilot sort of kicks in if that makes sense. I have taken part in winter courses up in the northern areas of Sweden, and up there it is really cold. It can be around-25 to -30 degrees Celcius.

Here are a few pictures of me and my friends in the Home Guard Service (I am the one in the middle) all dressed up in the Swedish Military Uniform, we were all leaders of a cooking group in various areas of Sweden. And at this occasion we were spending a week up in Luleå, the airforce base. The purpose of this course was to learn how to prevent the food, water and other supplies from freezing in the cold. Being in the cooking group might seem like an easy task, but it is a lot of hard work involved, physically and mentally. When you are out in field in cold weather conditions, you have to use your common sense in many ways. First of all to dress properly and the army was great in that sense, they provided us with all essential clothing and equipment that we needed. But one good thing was that you were quite popular among the other units, because everybody needed to EAT and get something warm to drink.

For us it was long days, and it started with early morning getting the kitchen up and cooking. Our kitchen was made out of a big trailer, where we had wood burners and from the burner we connected the pots, and did pressure cooking. When you cook for many people that is really the most effective. And once the breakfast was finished, we started to prepare for lunch and so it went all through the day until it was time to retire into our tent. Yep, we slept in large military tents and kept watch one hour per person. And the wood burner in the middle of the tent, should be glowing red, then the temperature was nice and cosy. You could sort of see if it was warm enough, because the people sleeping pulled their feet closer up towards their stomach away from the heat.

DSC00742

I am ending with this picture, another one from Wicklow close to Sally Gap.  Wishing all a great week ahead, stay warm and safe!