Glendalough – January 2017

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It’s an icy, 8 am start on a Saturday morning in January and the body refuses to get out of bed. With just enough time for breakfast and a few jokes Orla and I pick up Eamon (not literally) and head off to Wicklow. Making great time, and having concerns about parking en route, we arrive to a, basically, empty car park. I’ve never seen Glendalough so quiet. The place is stunning as always.

After a brief pit stop (‘when you see a toilet, use a toilet’ – Eamon), we aim for St. Kevin’s Steps. The first few kilometres are steep and tough. Running water to our left and the Spinc top to our right. We trek up the sleeper steps, through the woods. Beautiful surrounds and an almost eerie calm among the trees. There’s a robin accompanying us for most of the hike up. Hearts are racing and legs are pumping but after a while we break out of the forest and are rewarded with some fabulous views back down the valley and the lakes of Glendalough.

One or two photos later and we’re making our way across the Spinc. Out of nowhere, the greyest cloud I’ve ever seen drops over the horizon. Moments later we’re battling wind and sideways rain. My ear starts to sting. Orla makes the brilliant suggestion of ducking into the forest off the track for shelter. We hop, or rather scurry under, the fence and seek refuge among the evergreens.

For the next 30 or so minutes we wander through what can only be a scene from Lord of the Rings. Somewhere in my mind I’m keeping an eye out for Boromir’s remains. Eventually we decide the weather has eased and we find the path again after some proper off-road walking.

We’re treated to some more stunning views before descending back down through the forest. It always seems more of a conversation on the way back. The hard work is done I suppose. We discuss travel plans and life experience before arriving back to the car having settled all the world’s ills, in theory.

We head back to Roundwood for some lunch in Sugar Mountain Cafe where I indulge in the hottest omelette I’ve ever put near my face. It’s all very civilised. Glendalough never disappoints.

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