It’s been a good while since I added anything to my blog. 2022 has been an difficult year on a personal front – much has been going on with family and my own health – and I’ve really missed writing here as much as I did before. In fact, I’ve struggled to get much writing done at all in the last few months. Consequently, it’s been a struggle to get back into the habit. Still, I’m reaching old heights slowly, and I’ve enjoyed being back in the writing seat once more.
Hiking has been one hobby that’s kept me going. Walking in nature is the gateway to understanding our own thoughts and feelings. But, at times, I found even the idea of putting my trainers on and heading outdoors for five minutes difficult to comprehend. But, again, I’m slowly getting back into the swing of it.
I’ve spent plenty of time near the River Thames over the past few months. Staying grounded in the present moment and using my senses to appreciate what nature offers me has been rewarding: whether it’s observing fish flowing underneath the water, hearing the call of birds or smelling the sweet aroma of summer flowers, being by the water’s edge has engulfed me in a sense of calm.
Also, I think the need for walking along the Thames is also born out of a need to remain in the flow of life. When things get too much, we need to find a way to escape and ground ourselves again.
So, as life carries on flowing by, I intend to grab more moments of calm. Even amidst the full-on pace of life and what it throws at us, taking even a brief amount of time out is so important.
And I’m looking forward to catching up with you all on WordPress.
This weekend my cousin and I trekked through Church Woods and Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire, England. We were blessed with endless sunshine, making it the kind of day that we wished our legs wouldn’t tire so that we could keep on exploring.
The clear blue skies, the ripe green fields and trees in full bloom provided us with all the necessary resources for our minds to be filled with peace and calm.
The most spectacular part of the day, however, was being witness to the floral tapestry made up by the bluebells that covered the forest floor.
The day was completed with a few moments of calm by a serene lake before the final walk back to the car.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A FOREST STROLL?
In her book ‘Adventure Revolution’, Belinda Kirk advocates that there are a number of physical and mental health advantages that spending time in a woodland setting can provide. These benefits include a healthier cardiovascular system and reduced stress levels. However, the author points out that the effects are much deeper as the trees and soil are actively helping us.
Kirk points out that studies have shown that trees let out phytoncides which benefit our immune systems to fight communicable disease and tumour development. There’s also evidence to suggest that a certain soil bacteria can bolster us against stress.
Knowing such things gives me a deeper connection with our planet, and makes me want to spend more time in the open.
I hope that you all have a chance to take a hike and embrace the healing properties of nature soon.
This book is based on the questions that British Adventurer Alastair Humphreys asks his guests on his podcast.
At the time of writing, I’m enjoying working my way through each question. I’m finding that it’s a fun way of journalling based around my hiking experiences. Writing in this way helps me to gain a deeper understanding of myself, and to reflect on past achievements and future dreams.
Staying focused on what drives a person is important to making dreams come true, and this book is an encouraging resource for any lover of the outdoors to make those dreams happen. Answering the questions is garunteed to stop procrastination.
I’m looking forward to answering all the questions. I highly recommend this book for any seasoned or newbie lover of the outdoors.
‘I am already planning the next adventure. The wanderlust that infected me has no cure.’
It all started in Fishguard in the mid-1970s when, aged fifteen, Martyn Howe and a friend set off on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path armed with big rucksacks, borrowed boots, a Primus stove and a pint of paraffin, and a thirst for adventure. After repeating the route almost thirty years later, Martyn was inspired to walk every National Trail in England and Wales, plus the four Long-Distance Routes (now among the Great Trails) in Scotland. His 3,000-mile journey included treks along the South West Coast Path, the Pennine Way, the Cotswold Way and the West Highland Way. He finally achieved his ambition in 2016 when he arrived in Cromer in Norfolk, only to set a new goal of walking the England and Wales Coast Paths and the Scottish National Trail.
In Tales from the Big Trails, Martyn vividly describes the diverse landscapes, wildlife, culture and heritage he encounters around the British Isles, and the physical and mental health benefits he derives from walking. He also celebrates the people who enrich his travels, including fellow long-distance hikers, tourists discovering Britain’s charm, farmers working the land, and the friendly and eccentric owners of hostels, campsites and B&Bs.
And when he is asked ‘Why do you do it?’, the answer is as simple as placing one foot in front of the other: ‘It makes me happy.’
The author writes in such an engaging way about his journeys that its as if you’re walking with him at times. The descriptions of the landscapes and the interactions with the people that he meets really drew me in.
As an avid day hiker looking to become more involved with long distance/multi-day hikes, this book has given me a lot of encouragement to start planning those journeys.
I’m sure this book will be a constant companion to me on my future treks.
Northern Ireland is a spectacular place. Outside of Belfast, there’s lush green countryside, rolling hills and breathtaking coast. The recent visit I did with my friends was to the Mourne Mountains where we took on the highest peak, Slieve Donard, at 850 metres.
On a bright and clear Saturday morning we headed out of Belfast passing through remote villages and deep green countryside. After about an hour’s drive we arrived at the seaside town of Newcastle – not to be confused with the city by the same name in the North-East of England – then began our journey from the car park.
We trekked up a rocky path that cut through open grassland with rich vegetation. A boulder-strewn river wound its way alongside us and provided a natural water slide for a number of day trippers in wetsuits. Soon, we were about halfway up when the path steepened and the mountains grew in stature.
And that meant one thing…
…My fear of heights kicked in!
On previous mountain explorations nerves had always gotten the better of me. But I was determined for this not to be the case this time. My friends took it in turns to drop back and motivate me to keep going as I tailed off the pace.
As we approached the Mourne Wall – which runs the entire length of the range – we noted the jet black surfaces that occasionally appeared in the side of the mountains. The tin huts dotted to the side of the track confirmed this had once been an area for slate mining.
Around a final corner, and then the final ascent to Slieve Donard presented itself: three hundred metres or so of awesome steepness! We met a man who said it would take us no more than thirty minutes. Secretly, I knew that would mean an hour for me.
Previously, I’d have taken on such a feat by stopping every so often, shutting my eyes and re-centering myself before taking on the next stretch. I’d repeat this as often as I needed. This time I had a few new tactics to battle the heights: I’d count fifty steps then stop for a bit; I’d zigzag up the mountainside instead of going straight up as it was less strenuous on my legs; and instead of melting down as before, I’d deliberately soak in the countryside to absorb it’s calming beauty. Plus, I made full use of the wall by holding onto it to help me climb as I went – making use of whatever is available is important to getting the job done. And my mates did a cracking job of keeping me going with banter and words of encouragement.
My mates waited for me thirty metres from the peak, so that we arrived together. The clouds suddenly formed around us like a thousand misty ghosts come to greet us. We took a few photos, then hastened our exit as conditions became more dense.
The descent was the most enjoyable I’ve had on a mountain. The first section required careful navigation down rock steps. At times my mind went into a vortex where the greens and the greys swirled and merged into one. Once this tricky part was completed, we trod a well used path, skipping over streams and through boggy sections. Before entering the forest path that led back into the town, I took in my surroundings: the powder blue sky had now reappeared; the mountains formed a horseshoe valley that towered over us, cascading waterfalls giving this place a more majestic quality; the chattering river snaking its way down the emerald hillsides. And all this abundant beauty overlooking the town and the Irish Sea below.
Heaven is a place on Earth!
And so was this afterwards…
Thanks for dropping by and reading this. Please feel free to leave a comment – they’re always appreciated. I hope you all have a great weekend filled with adventure 😊
My self-published novel, Adventure Dayze, is now out on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Hiking is the gateway to adventure.
Being in the Great Outdoors is great for the mind, body, and soul. And the even better news? It needn’t involve much more than putting on a pair of trainers and heading out your front door.
In Adventure Dayze, author Wayne Mullane recounts his hiking experiences in Britain and Ireland with his friends, including overcoming limitations walking at altitude and having a dodgy sense of direction!
This book aims to help you get started… or, if you’re a seasoned hiker, to encourage you to hike with renewed vigour. This story shares insights and discusses the benefits of hiking, including fitness, friendship, courage, mental health, and…err…the joy of eating.
Adventure Dayze will inspire you to overcome your limitations and get outdoors to enjoy all the unique beauty that is on offer. Even pandemic lockdowns won’t be able to suppress your exploration, as the author found out, there are many ways to bring the outdoors inside when there’s no other choice.
I’m very excited to reveal the cover for my first book, Adventure Dayze, which charts the adventures of my friends and I. The book covers my progress to overcome a fear of heights and a dodgy sense of direction as we attempt the highest mountains in each of the countries of Britain and then Ireland.
The cover shows me wandering off in a completely different direction to my friends even though I’m holding the map. That’s a very common theme on our mountain hikes! The cover is mostly green for two reasons: this is a nod to my Irish roots and because my favourite colour is… you guessed it…green!
The cover was designed by Laura Antonioli, who I found on Fiverr. Laura was so patient and kind, and very supportive of any changes I needed. She also did the internal layout of the book – and I am really pleased with that too. I look forward to working with her on future projects.
In the next post I’ll reveal more details about the book’s release!
Thank you for stopping by and reading this. If you’ve got any comments, it’d be great to hear from you.I’m looking forward to reading your posts as well.
After not having been on my website since last Autumn/Fall, I’m back again.
I suddenly got really busy with my book trying to get it over the finish line, and it took longer than I hoped. My brain only allows me to stay focused on one project at a time, so I’m sorry I’ve not been committed here. I was making connections with so many wonderful people here too.
The good news is that my hiking book is finished. It’s on Kindle and out in paperback now. I’ve just got a few final touches to do before it goes ‘live’, but I hope to do a big reveal next week.
As busy as the last few months have been, the journey has been fun. I’ll chat about that in coming posts too. I’ve connected with some very lovely people who’ve been instrumental in me completing the book. The joy is that I’m still learning and growing as a writer, and I enjoy the opportunities and connections that brings.
As I’m typing this out, I’ve got to admit that it’s nice to be back.
I hope you all have a great weekend. I’ll post up again soon. I look forward to reading your posts soon.