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On Sunday 18th of October, I met up with my friend Cherie and we set off to conquer Slieve Donard. I had climbed it about 7 years ago but Cherie, having grown up in New Zealand had never been up there although we have done plenty of other walks.
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We were lucky with the weather, as it had been raining when we left Belfast. We set off through Donard Park, enjoying catching up with each others lives and enjoying the beautiful day.
The climb is relatively easy for the first hour and a half but gets decidedly steeper as you go. Since it was such a nice day there was a steady stream of walkers, all ages and all abilities. We took a break at the wall, ate our lunch and took some photos. The views were amazing on such a clear day, mountains for miles!
We set off again for the summit. I must admit, I struggled a bit, I’m currently taking part in a couch to 5k and my legs hadn’t quite recovered from Thursday, so I sent Cherie on ahead – she is a fitness instructor and was away like a mountain goat! I was going to wait for her to come back down but everyone who passed me offered words of encouragement, telling me that I was nearly there and that I could do it so I persevered!
I met a man of 73, who climbs it once a week, so I dug a bit deeper and made it to the top, much to the delight of my friend, who hadn’t doubted me. What a glorious feeling to have made it and I have promised myself that I will definitely attempt it at least once a month. Fair to say that I found the way down a lot easier.
We rewarded ourselves with ice cream before setting off home. It was a perfect day although my legs are still feeling it. Walking is so good for the mind, especially through these trying times. We live in a beautiful place.
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Slieve Donard is a tough enough trek, and would suit people with a reasonable level of fitness. It took us 3hrs and 40 mins up and down. A perfect way to spend a Sunday!
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