I was absolutely delighted to get these three books as gifts last Christmas, and I’m really looking forward to exploring some new hiking and walking areas on this lovely island of Ireland.
I’ve been wanting to get my sweaty paws on Kieron Gribbon’s book, “Ireland’s County High Points: A Walking Guide” for ages, and now I have my very own copy. I don’t think I’ll be setting any records with regards to how quickly I complete all of the CHPs, unless there are records being set for the slowest, but I’m really looking forward to doing some CHP bagging in due course. Starting with the smaller ones…obviously!
The other two books are Helen Fairbairn’s Ireland’s “Best Walks: A Walking Guide” and Joss Lynam’s “Best Irish Walks“. These two are so far well-thumbed, but we haven’t had the chance yet to try out any of the walks detailed within, apart from a couple of locations that we’ve skirted close to on our own previous walks. Presently the road map is being studied, alongside the walking guide books, and I hope that weekends where we’re both free, and the weather isn’t inclement, the trusty VW campervan is going to be loaded up with hiking gear and we’ll hit the road. Walking guide books are a great way to easily explore an area where the number of walk routes, summits, attractions etc could be overwhelming…so little time, so many options. but there are also a few gems in areas that I didn’t even consider for walking, and I will enjoy discovering those too. However, another reason I’m looking forward to going on some of the featured ‘best’ walks is to try to determine the criteria used to decide whether a walking route qualifies as a ‘best’ walk. I say this because I was a little dismayed to find the map page in both books clearly showed a distinct lack of ‘best’ walks in any of the central areas if Ireland? (The pattern of walking locations does also look suspiciously alike, but I won’t go into that!)
What? Nothing in the Slieve Blooms, Ireland’s oldest mountain range; nothing in the Ballyhouras, Silvermines, Slieve Aughty ranges? No featured routes along the many miles of canals, rivers and lough systems, abundant in the Midlands and Central Plains areas? There are, in my opinion, whole swathes of central Ireland, that may not have dramatic high summits, or wild coastal areas, but still have a breathtaking beauty in their own right, and plenty to offer anyone looking for a good walk.
Perhaps I should write my own walking guide book, with the emphasis on Ireland’s Middle Bits! Then again, maybe I won’t…I quite like the fact that many of the places where we walk are quiet and relatively undiscovered, and maybe these treasures of the ‘middle bits’ are more enjoyable because of that fact.