I took to the hills…
Don’t think about it. Just do it. Easier said than done! The advertisement in the Tipperary Star said, a ramble which didn’t sound too daunting, all welcome, whatever your level there’s a walk to suit everyone. By not analyzing too deeply the possible consequences of my imminent action, I plucked up the courage to get myself to the rendezvous point on time with trepidation…surely someone would speak to me even if they considered me to be a blow-in!
There’s the fire station looming ahead with its doors closed so all’s quiet in the sleepy rural heritage town, its prestigious landmark Cashel rock imposing over all who pass by at its foot. A few cars are lined up purring and waiting with intent…maybe they too are filled with would be hill walkers? Taking a deep breath and remembering to grab my flimsy little bag holding my bottle of fresh locally sourced water and an apple for sustenance, I approach the small group gathered by the cars. I can’t help thinking they look seriously attired with thick waterproof jackets, woolly hats, thermal mitts, rucksacks, ropes, gaiters, walking poles, and very heavy duty boots! Eye contact is made, so apprehensively, I venture forth to ensure I am in the right place and the sea of faces turn to size up the newcomer. ‘Welcome! Yes, yes! This is the place…the B group will go on the moderate walk under Mary P’s supervision’. Surprisingly there’s no fee to be paid, all voluntary and they carpool. The leader of my ‘ramble’ or as now known B walk takes me under her wing and I am bundled into the car along with two other friendly walkers after having been reassured I will be fine.
It feels like being on a magical mystery tour as the car is driven deeper into the lush countryside. Introductions and pleasantries are exchanged as the landscape unfolds and demists as the morning sun rises. Is it the Galtees, Comeraghs, Knockmealdowns? Which county will we be in? Still Tipperary? I sit quietly, taking it all in, contemplating the fact that I had made it thus far. I took to the hills.