This is a slightly different blog than the previous, and many of the images will be from my phone as I haven't brought my camera along for the walk.
For years I've enjoyed the outdoors and photography has been the perfect hobby to get outdoors seeking new places to photograph. I've often thought of walking/hiking the Wicklow Way a trail that starts in Marley Park near my home in Dublin and traverses mountains and streams and small roads and otherwise forgotten pathways, as it travels through the garden county Wicklow, and further south to its final stop in the small village of Clonegal in County Carlow.
The Wicklow Way is 127 kilometres and if putting in long hours of walking at a decent pace it would take five days I reckon, or maybe seven with nice breaks and time to enjoy our beautiful countryside. As with all things time and the lack of it meant taking 5-7 days out for a long distance possibly solo walk was unlikely as any days holidays I do have are spent with the family, so until now I've never gotten around to taking on the challenge.
This year found a compromise, my wife decided :) that we could do the walk together in stages. This sounded great an escape for a few hours, increase the fitness, and enjoy some time together without distraction. I bought the handy little booklet published by Wicklow Way and discovered they have it laid out in stages of 10+km from 3-5 hour stretches, perfect for our needs, and full of handy details and useful maps to help us novices find our way.
Wicklow Way the startThe start of our Wicklow Way adventure With our new hiking boots, our booklet in hand, a small rucksack with a packed lunch and plenty of water and a rain jacket and the words of Bilbo Baggins ringing in our ears "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door, You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to" we were ready to start our adventure.
We checked the map and found that Johnny Foxes was close to the end of this stage and reckoned this would be great place to relax, rest and have a nice cappuccino and maybe even some lunch, now there's motivation for you!!
Starting at Marley Park walking below the motorway you quickly find yourself in peaceful old country lanes that descend quite steeply, it was at this point we considered stopping this madness and going home haha the leg muscles screamed and the lungs tried, maybe stretching would have helped. Soon enough though we were in a forest with birds singing and stunning views back to the city and our hearts lifted, we were breathing more steadily now and even had time to chat as we walked to some other wayfarers from Germany and Australia.
Supposed to disconnectSinead still connected to the phone, soon enough the network will die Trail to Fairy CastleTrail to Fairy Castle Tors on the hill Tors on the hill at Fairy Castle, looking toward the Sugarloaf Megalithic TombAncient ruins in the forest clearing in Glencullen
The views were breathtaking, the diversion up to Fairy castle summit and the Tors, and the trek down into Glencullen forest is well worth the extra time and we found helped cut out a section of busy road since we were stopping at Johnny Foxes pub. We also saw some ancient ruins, and the making of a new mountain bike trail in the heart of the woods, which looked incredible. Despite this little detour and my rudimentary map reading skills we found our way to our destination much to the surprise of Sinéad who for the previous hour took quite a few opportunities to shake my outward confidence of its only round the next bend, or maybe the next one.
Johnny FoxesEnd of Stage one, the welcoming sight of Johnny Foxes
Next stage is Glencullen to Crone Wood -see Blog linked here
Thanks for visiting leave a comment or get in touch