Saturday hill walk, Maulin Co. Wicklow

Saturday’s has become my “hill walking” day and after a week in the office, it feels really good getting out and about on the hills. It is a great catalyst to get out in nature, and take in all the beauty that is out there. We are approaching a very nice time of the year, Spring is lurking out there, but at the moment the “bad” and cold weather we’ve had have sort of kept spring from arriving properly. But, I’d say in a couple of weeks the weather will be much warmer and we will be able to enjoy sitting out in the sun again.

Me myself, am a sun lover and my best moment is an early morning, bringing my newly brewed strong coffee out in our garden and just sit out there taking in the scent of everything, listening to the birds chirping away in the trees and bushes, hearing the traffic humming in the distance. I love getting out early before life around us gets busy, before the neighbours wake up and starting their day. There is also a different scent outdoors at this time of year, not sure about you, but I certainly smell it.

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Last Saturday started out pretty good, with some sunny spells and patches of blue skies as you can see in the above photo. Moments like these are rare here in Ireland, but they do exist and when this happens you simply catch the moment and just enjoy it. I certainly do and that’s where my hill walks comes in handy. It does not matter if it is a sunny, rainy or extremely windy day, I still love it and see the beauty of the surrounding nature.

Anyway we started our walk by meeting at the Crone Forest car park and from here we will have a zig-saggy track, and for the fun of it we are throwing in a few lung busters as well. This time we have a few relatively new hill walkers with us, quite a large group actually, the more the merrier. I started out my hill walking here in Ireland with http://mikeshikes.ie and now I am helping out at the walks guiding and keeping the group together etc. I have always been an outdoorsy person and it comes easy to me.

Here we are starting to get up on the heights a little bit, climbing up towards the summit. And as you can see the clouds are closing up on us, and the mist were coming in behind us. It’s funny though, every time I have been up this summit [Maulin] it has always been misty, and poor visibility of the surrounding area. This summit is not so bad because there are paths to follow, a bit rocky but it’s fairly easy to find your way down on the other side. We did not stay too long up there because it was very windy and cold up there, and once we got down a bit it got warmer and less windy. We had the wind in our backs. But I quite enjoy this route.

This coming Saturday I am heading out on another adventure, longer walks and also a night walk so that should be interesting and fun. but I will write about it in another post.

Wishing all a great weekend and be safe out there!

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.

Sailboat – Work in progress…and our trip to Gothenburg

After having had a few very hectic weeks, it is finally time to get into my art again. I have started working on another sailboat. I always felt inspired by the sea, and after our latest trip to Sweden I really feel the urge to finish this piece. 

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Our trip to Sweden went really well, the weather was fantastic when we arrived in Stockholm but that was not our destination. We had a couple of hours before our flight would depart, to take us to Gothenburg on the west coast. That is where the majority of my family lives. and we were going there to visit my children and to see our little grandson Jack. 

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It felt a bit special to hold him in my arms, he was so tiny. He is only a month old. I must admit that it feels pretty cool to be a grandma at 46, and this little guy will be spoiled big time. They are coming over to Ireland in August for our wedding and then he will be six months old. 

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Here is my son Tom with Jack.

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This picture was taken from the Guest harbour in Gothenburg, our hotel was not far from it. We were actually staying on a cruise ship that now is a floating hotel. 

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This is the hotel and we had our room facing the outside of the boat, where we could see boats passing by our window. That was pretty cool.

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This was one thing we saw from the window, this might be transformed into a painting on a later stage. It’s always nice to collect inspiration and images for my paintings. 

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This is purely a beautiful city, and I am not just saying that because I grew up here. I just love the city of Gothenburg. And I think it’s the closeness of the sea that I love so much, all the water, the boats and the small islands in the archipelago along the coast line.

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On Saturday we went to a very nice seafood restaurant called Restaurant Räkan (prawn) at Lorensbergs gatan 16. And they had this cool fish tank in the middle of the restaurant, with live fish swimming around and they gave you these boats to steer your starter to your own table. Here is Peter navigating the boat to our table. We were really hungry at this stage and couldn’t wait to dig into it.

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Mmmm…it has arrived!! We were ready to dig in and have our starter with lovely home made bread and sauces.

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And this was our main course, doesn’t it look fantastic?! In there was lobster, king crab, cray fish and mussels and it all was so delicious. To eat seafood can be a bit messy, but I really enjoyed it. 

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And of course I had to have the little snaps as well, this was one that has the flavour of black currant. It was quite nice. 

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This was a little ‘taste’ from our trip to Sweden. And you can see that there’s lot’s of inspiration to get there. And beside creating the classic cars I love to paint the boats. 

~Eva Ason~