A video of my weekend hike if you are interested in seeing what some of the scenery was like.
I also talk about my motivation for doing this particular hike.
A video of my weekend hike if you are interested in seeing what some of the scenery was like.
I also talk about my motivation for doing this particular hike.
With a big Sale event at work to launch the new store it’s been a pretty busy few weeks. Wednesday was my first day off after working nine straight through and nine very busy days at that. As you may imagine a day off was very welcome.
I’d been keeping an eye on the weather and with a dry and sunny forecast I decided it was a perfect day for a longer walk and wanting something different I decided to walk to a small wooded area approximately 6km from home and to cook some lunch while sitting and enjoying the woods.
I packed a bag with a frying pan, some bacon and eggs and my Trangia stove. Not preparing the evening before I ended up doing everything in a bit of a rush and managed to forget a few things. The biggest thing I forgot was my fuel bottle so I only had what was remaining from my last time out. This was only half what I needed so I had to make a choice between a full lunch or skipping a cup of tea. In the end the tea won out.
The frying pan was too big for the stove and with the ground being more uneven than expected it was quite unwieldy and cumbersome. The uneven ground also resulted in mishaps with my water boiling and I managed to spill it twice! Despite all the things that went wrong I still learned some valuable lessons, had a really good time and enjoyed a great day for a walk. I initially expected a 13km walk but coming home by a slightly different route it ended up as 16.5km.
click here to view on strava
I’ve recently upgraded my cheapo Akaso action camera to a fancy new GoPro Hero 10 and Wednesday was my first real opportunity to try that out too. I didn’t know what to expect so was very impressed with the quality of the video compared to the old one. The sound quality was also superb but this was more expected. I put together a video of the day and it’s live on YouTube if you want to have a look at the link below. I’m looking forward to seeing exactly what the GoPro is capable of on outings over the next few months.
I finally got around to finishing the edit of the footage I recorded on my walk last Sunday.
No talking on this one, just the sounds of the wind and nature.
According to Mountainviews.ie my closest recorded summit is a small hill (219m) just 6.9km in a straight line from home. In fact I can see it from my front door. The hill is officially called Meenavally but locally it is known as The Steeple.
On the top of the hill there is a small, squat and pretty ugly tower built with stone and lime. There is a door in one wall and an internal winding staircase that brings you to a flat area with a low parapet. In the centre of the upper floor there is a round opening with a metal grate that allows vertical access from the ground floor, almost like a chimney.
Over the years there have been many gruesome rumours about the tower on the hill. Stories are told of satanic rites and devil worship including disappearing children and human sacrifice. None of these rumours are true but the origins of the tower are still interesting.
The townland is called Tircallen and from the 1600s the area was part of a larger estate of the same name created during the Plantation of Ulster. It was purchased by Sir Henry Stewart in 1789 and in the early 1800s he constructed the tower as an astronomical observatory which was very much in vogue with the gentry of Ireland at the time. Unfortunately, there are no surviving records of Sir Henry’s so it isn’t known what observations he made or what contribution this tower made to scientific research of the time.
The tower is also called The Steeple after the hill but is also known as Mullaghagarry Tower after the name of the forest woodland it is now located in. The forest is a commercial forest owned and operated by Coillte. It’s likely that the estate was acquired by the government’s Land Commission in the 1930s for redistribution to local tenant farmers which was the policy of the time. The tower, however has survived relatively unscathed.
I’ve been to the tower multiple times on foot and also by bike as we used to use the area for night time MTBing a few winters ago. I placed a geocache in the area in 2006 to mark the date of 06/06/06. In 2007 myself and a few other geocachers took part in a documentary on geocaching for RTE’s Nationwide programme. It’s the second location in the video below.
Although I’ve visited the tower many times I want to revisit all locations afresh for my Local 50 challenge so on Sunday I went back. I used a different access point than usual and my plan was to create a looped walk of approximately 9km. However, my maps are really out of date now and the hoped for track petered out on private farmland that I wasn’t happy venturing on to.
I attempted to work my way around through the trees on faint paths but not knowing the area too well I ended up back out on the main track and at that point decided to make it a simple there and back walk but still ended up with 6km. Rosie the dog was with me and despite some very heavy rain showers we had a very nice afternoon.
Not much photography on this walk but I did film and the results are linked below if you want to watch. Thankfully I seem to have solved the audio sync issue I had before.
I’ve been very quiet on here recently and although it’s been 3 weeks since I last posted it doesn’t mean that life has been quiet, quite the opposite in fact.
The last two weeks have been pretty momentous from a personal perspective. It’s all been very surreal but also very positive but I’m going to be annoyingly enigmatic and park that one for a little while yet. More details over the next couple of weeks but it’s consumed my time and thoughts for most of the last two weeks…
Shortly after my last post I took my buff for a proper walk and ticked off another of my 50 nearest summits by climbing Altnapaste. This is a hill I’ve been looking forward to for a while now and I had almost the perfect day for a hugely enjoyable walk.
I hope to write more about that soon as I also filmed the walk and have some footage to edit and post also.
Last week I had a good long walk around the local roads and laneways. I left it quite late in the day so was short on daylight but stopped in the forest and made myself a hot chocolate as the last of the daylight faded. It was a really enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon especially with a head that needed emptying out for a while.
view original post on strava
I also decided to take my camera on that walk and made a video for YouTube. I’m still learning and it’s far from perfect but the link is below if you want to have a look.
I’m still trying to work out why I’m doing the YouTube videos. I don’t fully understand my motivation for them. I don’t expect to be a YouTube star (although humble beginnings and all that) and I don’t have any great insights to impart but so far I am enjoying the extra element it brings to days out as well as the editing and post production process. As long as that stays true I think I’ll keep at it.
Despite my lack of book reports I’ve kept reading. I finished a very good book called The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille that took me just over a week to read. I’m a pretty fast reader so this was one of the longest books I’ve read for a while. It continues the trend of reading books that I have read before but many years ago.
My current read is a new author for me and it’s the first in a series. The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. So far I’m enjoying it even though it was written for a much younger reader than me!
I’ve also started listening to audiobooks on my daily commute again. I recently finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed which was mentioned in an Outside Magazine article mentioned by another blogger (Reg Spittle: Books and my Backpack). This was a fantastic story and I’ll definitely give a more detailed review of that soon.
So, that’s been the last 3 weeks for me, 3 more and Xmas will be past. Hard to believe that we’ll finally be saying goodbye to 2021 soon and hopefully welcoming in a more enjoyable 2022…
On Sunday last week I finally made it back on to the bike after almost two months to the day. I had a lot of digestive issues in September, had two bouts of illness heading into October and totally lost motivation for cycling or much of anything else fitness wise to be honest. Any focus I did have went into training for the sponsored run for Pieta.
Sunday though was such a perfect cycling day that I couldn’t let it go to waste. It was mild, bright and dry with very little wind. I decided on an easy paced cycle down to Clady and back to Killygordon using a mix of back and main road. The treat at the end was a short off-road section along the river in Killygordon and a final spin around the forest trails of Monellan.
Mid morning on a Sunday the roads were pretty quiet which was a nice, relaxing re-introduction to the road. Just over the border in Clady I made some new friends.
The trail along the river was really nice with the trees all colourful with changing leaves and lots of water in the river after all the heavy rain of the last few weeks. In Monellan the trails were better than expected and definitely drier than I’d hoped for, really enjoyable.
autumnal bike porn!
After Monellan I was still feeling good so decided to tackle the pretty tough climb up Gleneely Hill before heading home via the long, easy downhill. This is never easy on any bike, never mind on a mountain bike and definitely not after such a long break but I surprised myself and made it to the top without passing out! I was more than ready for an easy glide home though 😊
I also decided to try and film for the first time while cycling. In July I got a budget action camera (Akaso Brave 6 Plus) and set of accessories for my birthday. My plan was to use a mixture of handheld and chest mounted filming but it didn’t go very much according to plan. The handheld bits were fine but I totally miscalculated the placement of the camera on the chest harness. I ended up with a lot of footage but most of it of my handlebars 🙈
I was also using the camera in the protective case which kills the sound quality so the two pieces to camera that I filmed needed an external voice recorder. This worked well for the introductory piece but having just finished the climb up Gleneely I totally forgot about the external mic for the concluding piece which left it totally unusable. I’m still using my mobile for editing (VN Video Editor). This worked pretty well but synchronising the voice over and the video was tricky.
In the end I managed to salvage just over 6min of reasonable quality footage and I’ve decided to go ahead and post it up as a learning experience. I’ve posted a link below if you are interested in giving it a view.
Sunday’s run went very well. Everyone had a great time, we raised a lot of money and I managed to run my 5K with no issues. In fact I ran my fastest 1K (5:41) and 1mile (9:08). It was too fast though and I had very sore spasms in my shins that afternoon and I haven’t run all week. I decided to rest them and start back at it next week again.
Sunday evening we all met up in Buncrana again for a night out. It was great fun and the entire staff was there (bar one guy away at a birthday party) plus a good few partners. My initial plan was a couple of drinks early on, 0/0 for the rest of the night and sober to drive home by midnight. That plan soon went down the pan and especially when Catriona agreed to come over and join us to drive me home. That turned into my first drunken night out for probably 3 years.
Monday was a Bank Holiday and I spent most of the day recovering from a bad hangover. In the evening we went back to Buncrana to collect my car, took the opportunity for a lovely walk on the beach just as it got dark and a fast food dinner.
That night I couldn’t seem to switch my brain off and was awake until well after 5am. Catriona was up for work before 7 which woke me again so I figure I had less than 2 hours sleep wiping out most of my Tuesday. Thankfully I’d booked the day off work as an extended long weekend. I did manage to summon enough energy in the afternoon to tidy and clean up the garage though which was long overdue.
I had a few errands to do on Wednesday morning and early afternoon but decided I needed to do something constructive with my days off before returning to work on Thursday. I decided to head for Monellan Woods for a walk with Rosie. I also took my new Trangia alcohol stove and made a hot chocolate drink. I sat and enjoyed that as the last of the daylight faded before heading back to the car in the dark and off home again. It was the perfect mindfulness way to finish my few days off.
I also took my camera and made another YouTube video. I was pushed for time as the light was fading quickly and my phone camera doesn’t cope well with low light (very rushed so didn’t think about a light) but I enjoyed making and editing it. The second half is very poor light quality but I recently watched a YouTube video that contained the advice not to strive for perfection, just make and create and if you enjoy the process then that is good enough. If you want to have a watch the link below will take you there.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Over the last 6 months or so I’ve been watching progressively more on YouTube. I’ve become a regular follower of quite a few channels, some cycling but mostly outdoor – hiking, wild camping and bushcraft. A while back I made my first YouTube video and shared it here. Since then the idea of making this a more frequent thing has been rattling around in my head.
One thing that has held me back is the worry of ridicule. Putting myself out there in film feels pretty pretentious and there is the fear that I could be making a complete arse of myself. However, on my Bessy Bell walk this week I took along a tripod and did some filming as well as photography.
I have to say I did enjoy the filming. Looking for shots and compositions as well as sharing the sights and sounds brought a different dimension to the day. I also enjoyed the post filming editing and production, finding the right footage and mixing in music, commentary and photos. It’s a bit like writing this blog, just a different medium.
Below is the finished article. It’s far from perfect and I learned a lot from this first proper attempt but at least I’m happy to share it.
So today I did something very different. I’ve made and uploaded my very first YouTube video!
The idea behind it came from a video I watched by Mark from the Twin Peaks Wild Camping channel. The concept is to go out into the woods, make yourself a tea or coffee (a brew), film the process and upload it to YouTube. The purpose is to speak about mental health and especially mental health in men who are particularly poor at talking about mental health issues.
I feel that this is a very important topic and needs as much publicity as possible. This blog won’t get that out to a very big audience but I am tagging two other channels that I follow. They are Paul Messner and Simon A Bloke in The Woods. Between them they have just over 200K subscribers and if they accept the challenge then that is big publicity.
I don’t go into anything too personal in the video but I think it’s important to highlight that everyone struggles with their mental health at times. Sometimes people who seem the happiest on the outside are unhappy on the inside. Sometimes this is just a day here and there and sometimes it’s many, many days at a time. Keep an eye on those around you, especially your friends. Don’t be afraid to check if they are OK. If you are struggling with your mental health please know that you are not alone no matter how much you may feel you are.
Here in Ireland there are two main organisations for anyone looking for help or just someone to talk to.
This is also why I was out on the MTB yesterday. I wanted to do a bit of exploring to find a good spot, somewhere pleasant to sit and film and where I wouldn’t be disturbed. I found a cracking spot along the river in my local Monellan woods. This is also why I made the alcohol stove and billy can earlier in the week. You can watch the video below to see how I got on.
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