SINGING EXPLORERS CONQUER HOWTH SUMMIT
14th March 2017
An intrepid group of explorers from Dublin Ranelagh Church conquered Howth Summit, a peak with spectacular views of the Irish sea on the southern edge of Dublin, on Sunday 26 February. The outing took place on a typical showery and windy day for late February and all the explorers lived to tell the tale. Two young people who participated in the outing put pen to paper to share their experience of the walk. We bring you their reports below along with a video slide show of the adventure.
The outing was arranged by the Ranelagh Ramblers, one of many initiatives by the Cuisle Centre, based in the Seventh-day Adventist church in Dublin to encourage health and well-being. More outings are being planned for the future and information is available on their website or Facebook page.
Adriènn Bullard's Experience of the Ranelagh Ramblers' Hike
Let me tell you of a trip through the mountains that I won't soon forget. As ordinary an outing as it sounds, this tale isn't for the faint of heart.
It's a Sunday. The ocean temperature around Dublin is 8.9 degrees.
It is…the day of the hike.
We wake up to have worship like any other Sunday morning. But there is an itch in the air…a hiking itch.
Breakfast is a hurried affair ‒ in which I mean to say ‒ there is no breakfast and alas we race out to catch a bus to Connolly station. At the station, we catch up with other members of the prestigious clan, the Ranelagh Ramblers. Today's destination ‒ Howth. The train is surprisingly packed, however that doesn't stop us from having a jolly good time.
We arrive at Howth and a sea of people pour out of the tiny two-door train station like Skittles® rolling out of the packet. The different colours of Skittles® representing the many languages one can hear being spoken by that sea of locals and tourists.
After locating the members of our group, we pause for prayer and prepare for an adventure.
With waves of about two feet, surfing is completely out of the question, however I do spot a solitary ship sliding slowly upon the horizon – the swans of the sea I always say…
The hike begins at the pier and we head further away from civilisation but first…picture time! Our merry band of hikers, heads up a steady incline and along a little road named Asgard (little or no relation to the realm in which Thor and Odin live). We meet another group pausing to look out onto Howth's marvellous vista. Not taking opportunities like this lightly, we again whip out our cameras for another photo session before marching onwards and upwards!
We soon leave the comfort of the tarmac. Joining the muddy footpath, we ascend the cliffs, greeting other hikers, while trying in vain to keep our precious shoes unstained by the muck and puddles.
To cheer us on, I begin the chant 'We are soldiers in the army' and the chorus is soon echoed by Nomsa, Alvern and Attarra. The beginnings of Ranelagh's rambling choir!
We arrive at a beautiful yet very windy plateau. I am overcome with emotion by the scenery; however this is quickly dissipated by observing our ramblers' poor, but amusing attempts at flying into the high winds.
Ahead, I notice a large group of students walking at a leisurely pace. But it's too late to alert our sprightlier ramblers to overtake, so slowly they climb up the ever-narrowing pathway stuck behind the students and their jaded-looking teachers. Notwithstanding, I manage to wheedle my way out of the traffic jam and proceed up the hill leaping and bounding.
Howth Summit! It's time for a food break. I study my surroundings looking back at the path we have just come from. A sign catches my eye: 'Careful Dangerous Cliffs Ahead'. I reflect and thank God for protecting us along the so-called 'dangerous cliffs'.
A group of us blaze on ahead down the return loop, while the rest linger for yet another photo session.
The motor traffic increases, we enter a small housing estate and the pier gradually comes to view. As we head back down to sea level, I almost kiss the ground in relief as my acrophobia has kept me in a heightened state of alertness on the cliffs.
Civilisation at last! The hike now over, we briefly stop to sample the local cuisine at the Howth market. Attara, who is famished, chooses to satisfy her hunger with a warm crêpe filled with melting marshmallow. However, she laughably seems to smear more of it onto her clothes than she manages to eat.
Home time! I look back favourably on the trip and the time away from the noise of everyday life and technology. A slice of time to spend with friends, family and God.View a video slide show of the outing.
Here Attarra, the youngest member of the hiking group, shares some nuggets about Howth and tips for aspiring ramblers.
Hiking to Howth Summit by Attarra Bullard
The Ranelagh Ramblers' walk to Howth Summit was an interesting experience. I enjoyed some parts but didn't enjoy other parts. Some of the highlights for me were; taking photographs of the scenic views, feeling warm after walking for some time and most of all getting crêpes to eat after the hike.
The hiking loop begins right by the Howth railway stop. Howth is also easy to reach by car. The surrounding shops, restaurants, and cafes in Howth are a bonus. These range from fish and chips stalls to a farmers' market full of foods from different countries and cultures. Howth is also right by the sea so it would be a great spot to visit in the summer too.
To prepare for a hike, I would suggest wearing good hiking boots to keep out the mud and to protect the soles of your feet. Chose tracksuit bottoms that you don't mind getting a bit muddy and wear several layers to protect against the wind. I would really encourage others to come, the experience is wonderful to reflect on and the feeling of accomplishment afterwards far exceeds the challenge of the hike.
[Adriènn and Attarra Bullard]