By Ciara McAuley
My name is Ciara McAuley. I am a 28-year-old musician, teacher and personal trainer currently living in Belfast.
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“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” ~ Alan Watts
Human beings today are becoming desensitised to the elements of nature. Stressed and overwhelmed with work, caught up in fast-paced lifestyles that really don’t serve the root of who we are. Taking time out to explore our beautiful country reminds me that the real secret to life is to be completely involved in the here and now.
Slieve Croob is one of my favourite places to reconnect with nature. It is the highest peak in the Dromara hills. The walk begins at Dree Hill car park – the road is well surfaced and winds through what seems like desolate land at first. The vast openness of the empty landscape and quiet stillness make it seem almost unearthly in an alluring way. A perfect open space to reflect and de-stress from the loud busyness of compressed city life.
It is a short linear walk, approximately 2.4 miles, with some steep ascents to the summit. It is a great workout, taking around 30 mins (if you don’t stop for handstands, stretching, a snack meditation, a few friendly conversations with passers by and yoga, that is!).
Suitable for children, the casual walker and the seasoned hiker, this little walk has it all. On a clear day you can see the stunning Mourne Mountains, Lough Neagh, Belfast Lough, Carlingford Lough, Scrabo Tower and the coastline from Warrenpoint to Co. Antrim.
I was blown away by the views when I reached the top. I wanted to stay all day. I took some time to meditate and practice yoga. Standing still on top of the hill, I felt a complete sense of peace, in that moment observing the spectacular views, I was in total harmony with the universe.
Nature reminds me that the journey is everything, the destination doesn’t exist. Life really is incredible. We should be where Mother Nature wants us to be. Move in to nature and listen to the truth of who you are.
You can follow Ciara on Instagram.