I was fortunate enough to have made good use of the unexpectedly good weather last week. Trusting the word of BBC Weather Forecast guru, Barra Best, we booked a last-minute midweek stopover in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
This was the first time we risked bringing Maxx, our Lakeland Terrier, away with us. Very appropriate breed for this County.
With Maxx in tow, it was obvious that we would need to focus on outdoor activities. This is where our National Trust membership came into play. We visited Crom, Castle Coole and Florence Court. The latter was so impressive, we went back for a second walk around the walled garden on our way home.
Although the lengthy danders in the sunshine were good for the body, I have to say the effect on the mind was equally as therapeutic.
The peace and quiet interrupted only by birdsong, the rippling of water and the sound of gravel under our feet.
The sunshine warming the skin and helping to highlight the full range ofearly autumnal hues.
The scents from the plants in their final floral flushes.
The extra special taste of a latte at the end of the walk.
I have commented before on the value of mindfulness and getting the most from an awareness of ourselves and the world around us. There are endless books and YouTube videos to help with this, but I can’t help feeling that just getting out into the sort of environments that we experienced in County Fermanagh needs no expert guidance. It’s like self-service mindfulness for beginners.
You don’t need to break the bank, either.
We find our National Trust memberships good value for money as we regular visitors, but equally there are numerous walks that we enjoy that are free. Small woodland sites within townlands, circular paths around local lakes and reservoirs, and breezy coastal paths.
You don’t need hiking gear to make the most of the Great Outdoors. Dress appropriately for the conditions, be sensible about your route, be honest about your personal limitations, and enjoy the fresh air.
“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.” Leo Tolstoy