As we look forward to a gradual and safe re-opening from our long period of restrictions from 5km to county wide or 20km, I decided to put together and share some of my favourite hikes in my own county of Dublin.
One of the challenges we all face when venturing outdoors into the hills is when we all flock to the same popular spots and follow well trodden paths, we create congestion, social distancing becomes difficult, and our endeavours to exercise safely and responsibly become self defeating. Add in consequences such as soil erosion on over-trodden paths; congested roads and blocked local access; discarded waste and litter, and so on, the question as to whether or not a losing battle is being fought occasionally looms, despite the best efforts of individuals and groups who care, creating awareness, promoting leave no trace principles, and the overall good will of the vast majority of people.
With all that in the mix, why not write a blog that identifies and describes some hikes and walks which are perhaps a little less known but which offer experiences which are no less enjoyable. Depending on proximity and means, some of them may be accessible by alternative modes of transport to the private car, such as public transport, or even the trusty bike! Where the private car is the only viable option, I have attempted to chose routes where parking is, as much as possible, readily accessible, relatively safe, and with sufficient capacity to avoid impeded roads and access points.
While each of these hikes is suitable for people of all levels of experience, who have a reasonable level of fitness and are in good health, there is naturally a variance in the degree of difficulty between them. An indicator is provided on the metrics description in each hike. For general guidance on hiking in these parts, you can refer to my previous blog.
Regarding time duration, while there is a standard formula for estimating based on distance and ascent, from experience there are far too many variables to provide a meaningful estimate, such as fitness levels, weather conditions, underfoot terrain, frequency and duration of stops, and so on. Therefore time duration estimates are deliberately omitted from this blog; suffice to say that the general range is from approximately three to six hours, so a packed lunch or at least some snacks would be the order of the day!
As we look forward to a gradual, staged and safe exit from level 5 restrictions, I hope that by sharing these alternative routes, more hikers and walkers may be tempted to give them a go and thus go some small way to disperse the increasing numbers of visitors away from the over trodden paths to those less travelled, and lighten the environmental load!
Over the next 7 days, starting today, I will post a detailed description of a different hike each day, so stay posted so you don’t miss out on the one for you!
While there are many types of hikes, this series will focus on 3: point to point, loop or circuit, and figure of 8. Your own circumstances, such as whether or not you have your own private transport, for example, may influence which type is for you. Here’s a description of each.