February 8, 2012

The Hills are Alive - January 27th

I was in Dublin for a couple of days visiting the folks with the kids. On Friday morning I woke up itching for a run as I didn't get my planned run in on Thursday. As I looked out the window I spotted the old familiar sight of the Lead Mines (link to history) chimney at Ballycorus.

To the left of it I spied a hill that was 'new' to me. I can't honestly say I ever noticed it before. It was like a monks' tonsure poking above the tree line, throwing down a challenge to me, it seemed to goad me "Run up here!"
So I set out about doing just that.

After getting some work related stuff out of the way in jig time during the morning, my little girl went off shopping with Granny, and little boy was napping, so after a quick map consultation off I went.

Cutting through the back of Shankill which is all flat you quickly hit the rise at Quarry Road and then its just up and up again! Onto Murphy's Lane and spotting a gap in the fence I jumped through into the woods. I wasn't 100% prepared for this kind of terrain as I was wearing my road shoes, but the ground was reasonable.

The only way is up.
Climbing through the woods I found a trail which led up, so I followed it. Simply following my nose and moving upwards, I knew I would reach my goal. For some reason it had become a challenge, having decided to take on the hill, I felt I had to get there. Looking around the views were spectacular out over Killiney Bay and with the day that was in it I knew a camera phone could not do justice to the vista.

At the top of this trail my choice was left and up or right and up so I went left, my goal was up here somewhere. Through the trees I could see the bare pate of the hill and kept going. Some parts you could scamper over like a mountain goat (how I visualised it!) bouncing from rock to rock. Other parts had you doubled over 'popping' off you knees with your hands, partly for aid but also to give stability and to catch a breath. I quickly learned that heart rate was a good guide for pacing, brisk walk or scramble when it spiked and you could lose little or no ground speed.

Around another bend and there it is up a little further. Following the rock path zigging and zagging I made the top where it was windy!!

The sense of achievement (this is my first ever proper hill run / climb) was fantastic! The views spectacular. West was the snow lined Dublin mountains rolling South to the Wicklow mountains, the Sugar Loafs (Loaves) and Bray Head, Killiney Bay, Dublin Bay. Beautiful!!

The video is a 360 view. TURN OFF YOUR SOUND!! Its not me heavy breathing its the wind and its loud!

I didn't hang about too long at the top as it was freezing! I scampered back down the way I went up and aimed in the general direction of the chimney. I may as well visit it seeing as I was this far up.

Clipping along on a relatively flat trail felt so much easier after the uphill battle of the climb. All at once the trail burst open in front of me and I was faced with the view of the chimney in fron tof me. It had been hidden by the trees, as were the startled walkers having a cup of tee on the nearby bench. A quick non of acknowledgement, an even quicker photo and time to get outta here. Looking at the sky a good rain shower was moving in fast.
The chimney / flue for the Leadmine in Ballycorus has a mile long flue from the smelting works in the valley below.

The down hill seemed like a blitz. Trotting downhill in alternating accelerating big strides and 'scuttly' short steps to slow down without losing footing was a challenge. Hoping from tufts of verge grass to 'edging' my foot (my makey up word for foot placing on the junction between rock and ground where it's not so slippy) against rock to prevent slipping all the way down until I met with the road again.

From here it was like a breeze, striding my way back to sea level and returning to the house for lunch. Thanks Mum!

Training File

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