Travel Theme : Grey

Bantry Bay on a grey day

Bantry Bay on a grey day

Ireland can be a place where there are a lot of ‘grey’ days, and showers, and clouds, but in spite of that, you can still see the natural beauty all along the coast.  The photo above was taken on a hike near Glengarriff, as we looked out over Bantry Bay, and the far off mountains, wondering would we make it back down the mountain before getting wet.

Kerry Mountains

Kerry Mountains

Hikers and hill walkers love the challenge of steep mountains like these, and in County Kerry there are plenty mountain ranges to satisfy all different levels of climbers.

Linked to Travel Theme : Grey

Animals in the Wild : A Photo A Week Challenge

This week, Nancy at Nancy Merrill Photography is looking for photos of Anmals that are not domestic, and I have a few from our holiday last year in the Zimbabwe bush.   We saw elephants, zebra, warthogs, hippo and many more, but one of the most exciting mornings was when we walked with lions in Antelope Park, a rehabilitation facility for orphaned lions.   Here are some of the photos of our walk.

A Hiking Holiday in Italy. Part One

Last week about 50 of us from our hill-walking club went on a hiking holiday in the Dolomites in Italy, and what a week it was, hiking uphill and down, taking the cable car to the top and then hiking down (a much better option), laughing, singing, (the hills really were alive with the sound of the ‘Fields of Athenry’  on more than one occasion) relaxing, eating lovely Italian food and ice cream, and drinking wine and cocktails, and then getting up at 7 a.m. next morning and doing it all again!

The Dolomites

The Dolomites

We were staying in a hotel in a ski resort, which was about 1600m above sea level, and as you can see, there was still snow on the top of the mountains.

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Our Italian guide, Maurizio,  was very knowledgeable about the  environment we were walking through, and one day we came across a tree that had been visited by a woodpecker, the birds tap away at the bark and  make holes so that they can eat the termites that live in the trees.  They can tell by the sound that their tapping makes whether there are termites inside or not, that is why you sometimes see a few smaller holes on the tree, that may have been abandoned.   Once the bird is satisfied with the size of the hole, he sticks his very long tongue into the hole and the termites stick to the surface of the tongue, and make a nice meal for him.    We didn’t see any woodpeckers, but we did come across a golden eagle, and our guide told us that there are about 8 breeding pairs in that forest.

Everywhere along the trails through the mountains, we came across little huts called Rifugios, but they are quite well equipped ‘huts’, most have accommodation, and serve delicious food and wine, and we usually bought our lunch in one of these rifugios, rather than bringing soggy sandwiches and a drink from the hotel.  There were plenty tables and benches where we could eat outside in the sunshine, and most of them supplied deck chairs so that we could linger awhile and rest our weary feet.   I wonder are other countries in Europe so well equipped to look after hikers in the mountains, Ireland has a long way to go in that respect.

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There was so much beauty everywhere we went, I will post more photos of hiking in the snow, and our visit to an old city called Bolzana, a winery, and Lake Garda.    It was a very busy week, I would say an activity packed week!

Rifugio

Rifugio

Weekly Photo Challenge : In the Background

This week’s Photo Challenge asks us to share a picture that says in the background.

While taking a photo of trees by my back garden, just after a shower of rain, this lovely rainbow appeared, which really overshadows everything else in the photograph.

Image

Image

The photo above, taken on a wintry day, shows the background sunset over the mountains, a far more interesting shot than the bare branches in the foreground.

you can see more here:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/weekly-photo-challenge-in-the-background/

I spent Sunday Hill-walking in spectacular West Cork

Beautiful day on the hills near Bantry Bay.

Beautiful day on the hills near Bantry Bay.

Today I went on a 5 hour hike in West Cork with the Hillwalking Club, there were 60 of us and we went to a particularly scenic part of the county, Sheep’s Head, which is a peninsula close to Bantry Bay, and when one is up on the top of the hills, one can see the sea on both sides – today was a very calm, cool day (about 3 or 4 degrees).   We were well prepared for the cold, wearing lots of layers,  though once we got going on the hills, the layers soon came off, until we sat down for lunch at the summit of Seefin (400 metres above sea level).   It was fairly muddy and wet underfoot, and there was a bit of slipping and sliding, and we all came home with very muddy boots, and very muddy trousers!  What a great day to be able to go out and appreciate nature and wonderful scenery.

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