Quote of the Moment
"All really great things happen in slow and inconspicuous ways." Leo Tolstoy

Friday, 31 January 2014

E8 Preview: The Overview

Starting at Dursey Head on the 1st March and with an expected completion date of the 21st in Dublin I will be hiking across Ireland along E8 long distance hiking path.

The route will take me between 550 and 600km (information varies) along 6 of Ireland's national hiking routes. In reverse order, the Wicklow Way, the South Leinster Way (The Barrow Tow Path), the East Munster Way, the Blackwater Way (the Avondhu Way and Duhallow Way ), the Kerry Way and finally the Beara Way in west Cork. Over the next month I will try and do some research what I can expect to find on route, completing quick preview posts on each section.

The above image is taken from the Da La Salle Scout Group, who in 2012 completed the whole thing in 1-3 day stages. I am lucky enough to have a girlfriend understanding enough and a personal situation that allows me to allow me to do the whole thing in one go. I am not sure if anyone else has done it this way.

In fact the internet has only brought up a handful of people (in English) who have focussed their efforts on the E8 as a whole. One other person who I have managed to contact is Jan of e8trail.com who is currently in the process of completing the Polish sections on the E8 and has been really helpful in answering my extremely basic questions; thanks Jan!

Have you, or do you know of anyone else who has done the Irish E8? If so I would love to hear about it and get some tips!

Thanks for reading. :-)

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Shout-out! Training advice.

Hello everyone who has been pointed here by Sarah. Thanks for taking some time to look at this blog, I really appreciate it. :)

I thought I would take advantage of your interest to sound you all out for some advice. One thing that I am consistently avoiding is training. Could anyone give me some advice or encouraging words on training for this long distance hike?

Thanks. :)

Here is a picture of some award winning Irish rabbits that I stole off the internet. Not the rabbits... Just the picture.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Vaclav Havel European Dialogues Conference

I am thinking of attending the Vaclav Havel European Dialogues Conference next month. Politics is something I am still interested in by rarely get a chance to participate in now I am out of the UK.  In response to considering my attendance I quickly typed the following. Don't worry, I don't intend for this blog to be too political any more.


A short comment on the distance between politicos and the populace with regards to Europe.

There is a distance between those people who talk and know about politics (let alone politicians) and the people. This distance is exemplified by the discussions that are conducted over Europe. Within Europe you hear how the people are crying out for more Europe, more regulation, more integration, but in reality, the real words of the people are nothing of the sort.

When elections happen they reflect the mood of the country. Often this mood results in political parties and groups who have a positive view regarding politics. But in truth the public are not voting for this. They are voting for their respective social democratic party for improved living standards. Or they are voting for a right of centre party to take care of an ailing democracy. Or as a final example, they are voting socially conservative to preserve their way of life. They express themselves on a National or local level on national and local issues.

It is my position that the mandate allowed to politicians is too wide once they are elected. We vote for large parties with a range of issues and some things get through that the people wouldn't have supported in a million years; manifestos are created for PR not policy. Europe is so frequently one of these issues. When the various peoples of the EU voted for the Lisbon Treaty they overwhelmingly rejected it. That was a momentous occasion. It was in itself the first time for many they had had a direct comment on the European project. Ever. And they said no.

The aim of this was to comment and not answer a question so I am not going to go any further other than to say that a narrowing of the power of politicians can only strengthen our democracy and the freedom.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Thoughts on Writing

It seems daft to think that this is possible for me to do, but I am planning to write a book.

Nothing too adventurous... so to speak... but a short book or guide on my hike across Ireland on the E8. The idea being that I believe that the route is one that is worthy of information and support and that it would be an easy thing for me to write and self publish. This in turn would satisfy another need in my life at the moment that of self sufficiency.

Generating any amount of money from this project is never going to happen. It is simply a first toe-in-the-water exploration into a field that would suit my lifestyle at the moment. It would also develop my self confidence; to have completed not only a relatively strenuous hike solo and then to use the notes that I wrote on the hike to create something worth reading (even if it is for the tiniest of tiny audiences). Well that would be something worth doing. And things worth doing are things I need right now.

I plan to plan. That is, I am planning to do this by the numbers as much as possible. I will have as much of the book already worked out as I can before I actually go. Whilst on the hike I have a wonderful little notebook (pictured above) that was given to me as a gift. It contains plenty of room to scribble some thoughts along the way, but also helpful advice and inspirational countryside pencil sketches (by Wainwright) imbued with feelings of respect and the appreciation of beauty.

With notebook in hand I will seek out to create a guide. This guide will at the first be practical (because of the limitations of my writing ability), but perhaps, also include some reflections on the history and cultures of Ireland. It will be a 'how-to' but one (because of the difficulties of the route) that does not detract from the any sense of achievement that one might feel on achieving the day's goal.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Hiking in Ireland - The plan

The E8

The E8 is a very long distance (and inspirational) hiking route across Europe. It is an exciting prospect and one that I hope to complete one day. I imagine being able to truly see the change in cultures, geography and languages at a pace that does them justice, that of someone walking. The challenge is great, over 2900 miles (4700 km) and I know of only one person who has come close to covering a large portion of it.

Starting in the green hills of Ireland you take a ferry across to the industry of northern England. Then on to Amsterdam and the flats of the Netherlands, Germany Austria (an optional section in the Czech Republic), Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and finally arriving in Turkey.

In March I will be doing the Irish section. 21 days of hiking variously staying in hotels, B&Bs and wild camping! Exciting times. If you would like to have a look at the plan clink on the link below.


This is a real adventure for me. I haven't done anything like it in my life and it is truly out of my comfort zone. Right now, as the planning is all but done, I am getting as much advice as I can and sourcing what equipment I need on an extremely low budget.

And that is the real problem with the hike. The budget. It is so low that to get there from Prague I am going to have to take the bus. That's right. The bus, from Prague to London and then again from London to Dublin. Finally once in Dublin I will take another bus from Dublin to my first hostel. That in itself feels like it will be an achievement to survive, let alone doing a 500km hike afterwards; I wonder if my muscles will have fully atrophied by that point? I hope not!

Anyway. The question that I leave you with is this. Do you have any advice for a novice long distance walker who is about to embark on his first blister-inducing endeavour?

Thursday, 23 January 2014


"Humankind cannot bear very much reality."
T. S. Eliot

Hmm... Well yes indeed.

I don't know about this blogging lark. The objectives that were set down in the past to motivate me into doing it are still there - namely, the creation of opinions, the improvement of my writing style and a method of catharsis - but in the end it just didn't work. My opinions didn't really matter, my writing and command of the English language didn't really develop and my psychology spiralled to the point where I am now.

That said, my fingers have pressed these keys and the mouse strayed to the 'Blogger' link on my bookmarks bar. And THIS blog post is largely to blame.

"Persistence." The context of a struggling writer within the blog post isn't exactly important. It is the description of the struggle that is. The persistence to work through the blocks that our minds and the world at large create. To persist despite a world that fails to recognise you and a mind that is failing you. Finally that to give up is not necessarily the end and holds no relevance to what you can do in the future.

I have two projects I am working on at the moment that are linked.

1) Hiking the E8 from Dursey Head  on the south west coast of Ireland to Dublin.
2) Writing some sort of book - either a simple guide, or something more thought provoking - of the above walk.

I suspect that I will get around to blogging about them both in the near future. :)