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Posts Tagged ‘ Harbour2Harbour ’

An Alternative St Patrick’s Day: A good long walk

This year we finally cracked and said ‘no’ to Dublin’s big St Patrick’s Day parade. We had come close to it last year and debated the idea of doing something different, but in the end, we still found ourselves lining up on Dame St in our accustomed spot. Even so, this year’s change of plan was still very much of a last minute affair. It is always easier to stick with what you know than try a different activity.

 The proposed alternative last year (and the year before that, come to think of it) was tackling the St Patrick’s Day Harbour2Harbour walk. This is held in aid of the charity Aware which helps people suffering from depression (link below). Walkers can start at either Howth or Dún Laoghaire. You can stop at the half way point if you want, having then completed eight miles or go for the total sixteen mile challenge. It is a great challenge and one that had been niggling away at me for a while.  I could of course do the walk at any time but the idea of participating on a specific day for a worthwhile charity was appealing.

As this was a last-minute decision, I had not arranged to register for the walk or to acquire sponsorship, though registration was available on the day. I imagine many people also make a spur of the moment choice, possibly based on a favourable weather forecast for the day. It promised fine so my daughter and I headed off to Howth. Registration was from 10.30am but we were running a bit late and were heading through town to Pearse Station at about 10.15. The city was beginning to fill up with parade revellers so we had to duck and weave between green hats of all shapes and sizes.

Declining to buy a flag, we scooted down to the dart station and then were virtually overwhelmed by the tidal wave of people coming down the stairs from platform one. Not many people seemed to be going our way today for some strange reason. After arriving at Howth, we set off to forage for supplies to keep us going on our long trek to the Southside. With our registration fee, we acquired a tee shirt each and the all important route map. Full of optimism we set off for our first pit stop at Sutton Cross, munching on a biscuit to sustain our endeavours.

The weather very kindly stayed fine, apart from a few minor spots of rain and some enthusiastic sea breezes. Our next sandwich break was by the causeway to Bull Island and by then we were well on the way to convincing ourselves that this would be an easy peasy challenge. By the time we had walked as far as Pigeon House Road, we were not so sure about this. The problem with starting later was that apart from the odd few walkers, the only fellow walkers we saw were coming towards us from the other starting point. While it was cheering to spot yellow tee shirts coming towards us, indicating that we were still on the right road, it would have been more companionable to be walking alongside them.

Nevertheless, we had a good day out on our first ever St Patrick’s Day walk and managed to walk as far as Booterstown so honour was satisfied. Everyone we saw seemed to be enjoying themselves; a great family day out in a good cause. The only low points of the day were getting on a homeward bound dart that stank of beer and then avoiding drunken teenagers on the walk through the city centre. We could have done without that. But, hats off to the participants and organisers of this year’s Harbour2Harbour Walk. This year attracted a record 1,281 walkers and it was nice to have been a part of that.

www.aware.ie

 

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