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Ireland Travel

Ireland • Hangover Hiking (with a GoPro)

September 19, 2014

On Saturday I climbed a mountain. And that’s not a metaphor for tackling some dramatic problem of mine, I actually climbed a mountain, Mount Errigel to be precise (scroll to the bottom for video proof). It was Noel’s suggestion, he thought that during our trip it would be a good idea to take us up and show us the views, and in my usual over ambitious fashion, I agreed to climb Mount Errigal. The days before the climb we all had quite a positive attitude about it – it would be a great way to burn off some calories and actually do some exercise. Of course, come the Saturday morning, after a night in Ardara’s finest pubs washing down beers and ciders with a few too many splashes of Jäger, getting up early to climb a mountain was the last thing I wanted to do. Hiking hungover did not seem like the best way to spend my Saturday. Not even a giant traditional Irish breakfast roll on the drive helped ease the hangover. And it only got worse. As we drove closer to the mountain and Errigal came into view, we saw just how big it was! Immediately there was a lot of gasping, cursing and ‘turn the car around’ being screamed amongst us, bar Noel who was driving; his smug face bared the happiest grin, knowing that him and Collum could do it easy peasy, whilst the rest of us where about to have a physical and emotional, sweaty and painful, very long struggle up Mount Errigal, possibly even a breakdown.

To get to the foot of the mountain we had to first walk (and jump) uphill across the bog. This part was awful, lots of leaping over mud and wet grass, never quite knowing whether you would step safely onto a dry patch or sink straight through the bog and end up knee deep in shi- mud!

Not even ten minutes across the bog and I was sweating, dehydrated and aching in my legs, as was Claire. The breakfast rolls we devoured in the car suddenly wanted to come up and get a look at the mountain. I managed to keep it down. But how were we going to climb to the top of a Mountain if we couldn’t even walk across the bog?

Collum and Noel were joined by Noel’s brother, and the three of them had already bounded ahead of us. I think that’s what was making the rest of us struggle so much, we were trying to keep up with the three boys. Boys who climb mountains and go on hikes regularly ‘just for the craic’. The most exercise I get is walking up the escalators at London Bridge Station and I don’t do it for the craic, I do it because I’m normally running late!

Half away across the bog, Claire, Alice, the Beard and myself all admitted agreed that we would have to climb at our own pace, having as many breaks as we need, and letting the lads (bar the beard) go ahead without us. Oddly enough, that was the best decision we made all weekend (the Jäger being the worst) and once the bog part was over, it wasn’t too bad. Don’t get me wrong, after the bog it was steep hills, rocks and stones, slippery slopes and there was actual climbing involved, but I think the half hour walk up the bog actually made us sweat out most of our hangovers. By the time we reached the foot of the mountain you could see our energy was boosted (and our breathing slightly less dog-like).

It took us girls three hours in total to get up and down. Unfortunately we had a ‘man down’ situation close to the top when the Beard got a case of Vertigo and couldn’t go any further (I’ve never seen that face go so white). Claire, Alice and I took some necessities from the bag – Water and Jaffa Cakes – and headed on up as three became four.

[A little tip, when climbing a mountain, remember to charge your camera to the absolute fullest so as not to miss out on any awesome photo opportunities. Whilst the GoPro had a lot of charge at the bottom of the mountain, I fiddled with it so much on the way up, that it died about half way to the top, leaving me with just an iPhone to play with. I’m a dope, I know!]

We met the other boys near the top and stopped to share some water and fig rolls, before they eventually began their descent and us girls headed for the final peak. It only took us a further five minutes and we finally reached the top.

I had to admit, reaching the top I felt massively proud of myself (and we even cheers’d it with Jaffa cakes). I may have woke up that morning dreading the hike and wishing I could stay curled up in bed, but wouldn’t that be exactly how I spent most of my Saturdays? How boring would that have been. And hiking hungover actually ended up sweating out and killing off the hangover anyway. I managed to climb to the top of the Mountain and come all the way down without passing out or vomiting, and with only one injury (at least one minor injury was bound to happen, I did a little twirl on my way down and ending up smashing my hand into the rocks as I fell, it was totally on purpose, honest).

I put together a little vlog, but don’t get too excited, as I said the camera died so there isn’t a lot of footage. I’m also only just learning how to use a GoPro, so it’s not the most extreme video, it’s rather boring actually. But, look how lovely the weather was for us? It makes it all look even more beautiful and picturesque (and I even got a tan, I wasn’t expecting that when I booked the flights to Ireland).