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The Great Outdoors – It’s in the Blood

Well and truly stuck in middle age, I realise that getting outdoors at every opportunity is my form of therapy.  Be it pottering around the garden, walking with Bailey Dog, cycling, kayaking, cutting logs and of course the turf bog, its a great way to clear the head.

My siblings are the same and this can be largely attributed to our Dad.  He was a real lover of the great outdoors.  Growing up in 1950’s Scotland, he was a boy scout and worked in a butchers on Saturdays. Therefore he could tie knots, pluck a chicken and start a fire – great skills to have for life.

Most evenings we would go with Dad as he walked the dog.  My Dad always had a dog, something that I can identify with.
les log
In summer months we would all go cycling with Dad, he must have had one of the earliest kids bike seats fitted to his bike for my brother.  I doubt it would meet todays safety standards!

One particular adventure I recall, involves my sister, brother and I accompanying my dad on a fishing trip to Altan Lough in Northwest Donegal back in 1988.  After an hour or so fishing Dad hadn’t caught a thing and having spotted the mountain on the far lough shore, Aghla More,  decided that we should all “go climb that mountain”.  So wearing wellies and carrying fishing rods and bags of tackle, the four of us trekked up all 584 metres of Aghla More.  Though in my case and with a fear of heights I decided to not go to the absolute summit, so maybe I only scaled 574 metres (I think theres a photo somewhere to prove it!).  Looking back now I think that perhaps it was a bit gung-ho of my Dad to undertake the scaling of Aghla More, but other than the fear of heights,  I felt absolutely safe and didn’t doubt that he knew what he was doing.

Sadly Dad passed away in June 2010 at the relatively young age of 63.  His influence continues and not just in the outdoors context.  I now find myself telling my offspring the same things he told me, “put that light off”, “close that door” and of course “did you not think to put something on the stove?”.  I could try to fight this transition but why should I,  when I find it both amusing and comforting at the same time.

14th June 2016

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