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Grace Dieu Hedgerow Walk

hedgerow walk grace dieu (22)

Yesterday I went walking with The Hedgerow Society through the lands of Grace Dieu, Ballyboughal.

The Hedgerow Walks are I find what keeps me very much on my toes. It is at this time of year knowing trees in the distance by their silhouette and it is plant identification in its finest format on the move, without books and straight from the brain. It is that that I have to know, being a horticulturist.

Grace Dieu Hedgerow Walk (mp3)

More than that, it is knowledge sharing and an understanding of why everything that should be in the great outdoors, sometimes is not. Nothing could be reason more than the local knowledge of the lands at Grace Dieu, Ballyboughal where once lay a Nunnery dating back to 1190 and its small village settlement. Although some stone work  is visible above ground, a lot of it resides now below and is the main sole reason why on a dry day foundation outlines are clearly visible and a fine explanation as to why crops would falter. In short, information no book could ever explain.

Many thanks to all of those who I met on the day. It was, yet again and as always an absolute honour.

Next Event:
  • Date and Time: Saturday 3rd December, 10.00 am
  • Meet Point: Cafe in Ardgillan
  • Details: Walk around Ardgillan grounds on a field trip with Declan to find out what happens to nature around us in winter.

5 Essential Products for the Great Outdoors

As we head past the August mark on the calender towards what I would note as the wetter and latter months of the year, some may be noting this as their time to hang up the outdoor paraphernalia for what may be considered the off season. Not on your nelly says this fellow.

To me, the more inclement the weather the more interesting I say. Whether it be Electric Picnic were it always rains on the final night, a walk in Donegal were all for seasons are guaranteed within the space of one weekend two hours or like me you just like camping and working outdoors in all seasons – the following are five essential products that make my great outdoors experience greater.

1. Icebreaker Bodyfit 200

icebreaker bodyfit 200

First up it’s all about keeping the upper body warm and dry.

This is in short no ordinary t-shirt and if you think I might model this for the sake of a blog post, you are [happily/ sadly/ delete as appropriate] mistaken. That said, the Icebreaker bodyfit 200 holds tight to the body and warms me almost immediately. I own three of them now and they are the ultimate piece of clothing for this gardener/ festival/ outdoors trekker.

Sweating whilst it rains is a pain in the tusch and if I am going to get wet, my logic is really is a case of how quick I can become dry. They say:

Wind resistant. Highly breathable so moisture vapour escapes. Liquid moisture is pulled away from the skin and released as moisture vapour. warm air is trapped between layers. Warmth is trapped in air pockets between each layer.

I say: it is a genius piece of clothing. Extremely light. Dries out very quick and is essential if you are to be outside from September onwards in Ireland. I bought the long sleeved version. Black in colour to soak in any available Irish sun that little bit quicker. Also: check out their BAA code tracker.

2. Crag 45 – Beyond by Gelert

crag 45 rucksack beyond gelert

Second is about keeping the rest of your clothes and food dry and as important comfortable to carry.

From the Beyond by Gelert range, this Crag 45 ain’t no ordinary ruck sack. It was given to me to road test by Millets Camping of Mary Street, Dublin. How good is it….? For starters, it comes with a [quote]

manufacturing, materials and workmanship defects for the lifetime of the product

There’s confidence for you. 45 litres in size it has enough adjustment straps to suit perfect to your shape and an air fit system to suit your back in comfort whilst drying sweat away. Better again it is water safe but has what I can only describe as a mini-parachute tucked into its bottom that can be taken out and pulled over for extra water-proofing. So suited to the great outdoors the chest straps come with a built in whistle, that works. This one costs €44.99.

3. Mini Maglite

mini maglite aa

No. 3 is the light that guides you.

About the only thing on the list that may not be used by me as a gardener yet I still keep it in my jeeps glove compartment.

I have this maglite torch years. Pretty unbreakable, durable and just ruddy well made, it is so much so I have never replaced the bulb on it. In search of an official note that says how waterproof it is and also the light strength – the Maglite official website is pretty brutal – and I couldn’t, officially find an answer.

That said mine has fallen in river, lakes, puddles and last year spent three weeks outside in the Irish snow and still, the old horse works like a charm. More than that I consider it a valuable and at a little wider than a pen, it fits perfect on my person and is well able to take on the big boys in the how bright can you shine contests.

4. Silky Pocket Boy 130

silky pocketboy 130 saw

No. 4 is for fire wood and furniture.

If you have ever made anything from what surrounds you by the way of rope and wood [?] or just the odd branch gets in your way whilst trekking across the hedgerows the self nicknamed Little Giant [due to its extraordinary cutting capacity] is an absolute must. They say:

Rust-resistant, hard chrome-plated, taper-ground blade with an impulse-hardened non-set tooth design for greater cutting efficiency

  • 5-inch (130 mm) blade length
  • 8.5 teeth per inch (10 teeth per 30 mm) teeth configuration
  • 0.35 pounds (160 grams) operating weight; 0.5 pounds (220 grams) weight with carrying case

I say: I’ve had this one about eight years now. Light as a feather and once again takes up very little space, this is a genius little product and an essential for this gardener, camper and great outdoors lover. Another great investment.

5. Tresspass Commanche

trespass commanche

Finally it is all about keeping the head dry and warm.

As you can see this Trespass Commanche hat has been with me for some time. Peaked at the front and without even pulling the flaps down I have done very little by way of gardening, camping or trekking without this in my arsenal. This has more often ended up saturated on the outer whilst I’m bone dry by way of hair style inside.

I couldn’t find anything about it on the Trespass website – that’ll possibly tell you how long I have it.

Thoughts and comments below if you wish or find me via:

walking in ireland

The Camping Checklist – What Not to Forget

camping in ireland

I was asked to blog my camping not to forget checklist which I have built up and used over the last few years by a first time camper friend of mine. The suggestion was it may prove of benefit to others.

If there’s an addition you feel should be added, simply pop a comment in below. I may have left out the very obvious like the tent and so on…. These are just the ones I need to remind myself of.

Directions

  • Map & compass
  • Sat Nav co-ordinates if you can get them

Camping

  • Tent pegs – lots of spares
  • chairs
  • sleeping bags
  • air bed
  • pump – check the connections fit
  • picnic blanket – waterproof on one side
  • towels – old and good
  • pillows – each to their own

Cooking

  • frying pan
  • saucepan
  • towels
  • washing up liquid
  • cloths/ sponge
  • bin bags – greensax 
  • coffee – pre ground beans in air tight jar
  • tea bags
  • espresso maker [old type]
  • butter
  • kitchen roll [paper]
  • basin
  • can opener
  • bottle opener/ corkscrew
  • thermos lunch bag
  • refridgerated ice bars
  • knife/ forks/ spoons
  • plates/ cups/ bowls
  • cooking implements
  • wine glasses – you read correctly
  • flask

Other

  • first aid kit
  • car battery booster pack – recharges phones and lights etc
  • water bottles – empty lemonade type – for fresh water depending on the campsite their may only be a water source. as versus a shop.
  • toilet paper. *my tip: put it in a waterproof bag or container – you’ll thank me some day
  • spare socks and spare footwear

Personally, I’d sleep in a plastic bag [and I have] with a survival kit and watch one episode of McGyver before I left. But, this is family camping and very much about the great outdoors and time spent with others whilst there.

camping checklist

The Garden Groups Hedgrow Walk

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Todays outing, the fifth for the [Peter Donegan Weblog] garden group, took place today in my own home town of Ballyboughal. Today was the turn for the Hedgerow Walk better know as the Slí na Sceacha.

It did take place I do admit with about a weeks notice, which is a little short. There were enquiries to know if we could do it again when it comes to fruiting season, so if you missed out, don’t worry, just ask me when the next garden group outing is on.

A huge thanks to todays guide Ann Lynch and also to you for coming along. I wouldn’t swap the great outdoors for the world. It is as always made so much more enjoyable however when the experience is shared. Love it !

Listen!

A full interview with Ann Lynch, Hedgerow Society Secretary can be heard on Fridays SodShow.

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