I’m always on the lookout for new walking routes to take my dog Maxx along. This week, I found the Mineral Railway Path at Carnlough, County Antrim.
Back in the mid 1800s, a railway was built to bring limestone from a quarry down to the nearby harbour. The quarrying ended around 80 years ago, and the railtrack became obsolete.
More recently, the route of that rail line has been cleared and covered in tarmac to create a beautiful walk from the harbour up to the quarry face, now reclaimed somewhat by nature, and a viewing point Cranny Falls within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The return trip is about three miles long, with stunning views from start to finish.
When the rail line was operating, I’m sure the views were there: the scenery is not a recent invention! However, as the wagons travelled up and down, there would have been no thought given to tourism as an industry.
The Mineral Railway Path is not unique in making the switch from function into fun.
Historical buildings, scenes of battle, prisons, factories and stately homes are all now attractions in their own right. Not their original role, but it was a case of change to survive, or prepare for decay.
There are lessons for ourselves in this. We perform a range of roles throughout our lives: pupil, student, employee, parent, friend, colleague……
Time brings with it change. This can be through choice, such as a career move (or retirement!), or through fate, perhaps as a consequence of a health scare or bereavement.
Sometimes, you may feel like you’re in a rut. Caught in the rat-race, too busy for “me” time, looking out for others rather than yourself, going through the motions, just a cog in the machine: like a wagon on the rail track.
We should try to look to the future, seek out opportunities to keep relevant, alleviate the risk of stagnation, learn new skills, develop your hobbies and interests, maintain your relationships.
Stop being the rolling stock, and become the attraction.
“The more you adapt, the more interesting you are.” Martha Stewart