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Author Topic: How deep is your sheugh?  (Read 6380 times)


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How deep is your sheugh?
« on: October 30, 2015 »

We’re getting to that time of year when you look back over the ups and downs of the past twelve months and ask yourself – Did I really put myself through all that?

At the start of the year, my rediscovered urge to get outdoors had me up Divis in February, where there was still snow and where I succumbed to brief but real panic when I thought I might not be able to lift my feet high enough out of the slush-puppy moor to get back down. Then after Easter Monday broiling on the slopes of Bearnagh, gasping like a sunburned fish (I posted a few pics shortly afterwards) I made an effort to get fit – did the stairs at work, walked from Larne to Glenarm, and thought, this is going to be a fine outdoors summer. And was it?

Was it b%$(!cks

Woodburn forest, near Carrick, 1 June. The official first day of summer. The forecast said it was going to be a bit rainy, and a bit windy. I told myself that if I was going to do this, I shouldn’t let a bit of weather put me off. I bought waterproofs. I should’ve bought a submarine.

But I’d forgotten how good it feels to be in forests. The sense of solitude (even though I could hear the trail bikes growling a mile away) and the smell of the needles underfoot. Strange hooded figures seemed to glower from the mossed-over deadfall, like green judges.

By the time I got back to the car park, having trudged round the south reservoir system, been splashed by trailbikers, and divebombed by swallows, I was drenched to the bone. But I’d eaten a lunch of beans and sausages warmed up on my wee gas stove before the rain turned horizontal, and the weather was bound to change for the better one of these months.

So in July I thought I’d up my game and spend a night outdoors. Staying relatively close to home, I’d scouted a forest corner where fallen logs blocked access to the bikers and dogwalkers. A stream gurgled nearby. The day had been a bit drizzly. I could cope with a bit drizzly. My tent and a poncho rigged up as a shelter for campfire cooking would protect me if it stayed a bit drizzly...

It didn’t take time to rain. Campfire?  I was lucky I didn’t drown. And the gurgling stream just seemed to pump midges into my campsite. After six or seven attempts at coaxing a flame from sodden kindling, and providing food for Mr and Mrs Midge and their 3.2 million midgelings, I crawled into my tent with a carton of a red wine described by its makers as ‘uncomplicated.’ If I was going to drown, I was going to drown happy...

But as ever, mornings make up for it. Dawn through the trees. Birdsong. Breakfast.

In August the daughter and I decided we’d have another crack at Bearnagh. I mean, we’d been in training. It couldn’t be that hard. There was a bit of overcast, but it’d blow away by the time we got up there...

Erm, it didn’t. White-out. Not mist, thick cloud. Howling gale. Where’d the rest of the mountains go? And where’d that hill-runner come from? And now where has he gone?

But we made it. Probably only because the daughter threatened to leave me if I had a heart attack. I was at the limit of my puff, and my knees were very angry with my feet, but we were up at the tors. A fantastic feeling.

All we had to do now was get down.

I think I’m hooked, now. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, a wee drive to Lough Mourne or up Islandmagee, a hike or a bit of a nosey for likely camp spots, I try not to let a week go past without some micro-adventure. And I had the great privilege to accompany Glenn and Heggs and their kids to Rams Island a couple of weekends ago. Next up? Well, I thought I might take a run at the Mournes from the Annalong side, someday soon. 

Before it snows again.

Glenn B

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Re: How deep is your sheugh?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2015 »

Isn't it great when you rediscover your love of the outdoors and all things rain sodden. Some of my most memorable camps have been complete wash outs even in summer ask any biker and they'll tell you they get more soakins in the summer than they do over the winter but we're used to it in our wee country.
You'll love the Annalong side of the Mournes it opens up a vast   area to explore and more importantly to get another few good soakins  :o :o.
Great write up and pics by the way, a wee touch of karma added.
Take your time you'll see so much more!
Without goals you cannot score!

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