It was my birthday today, and I thought I’d spend it doing something positive and renewing. So, a walk in my favourite landscape: The Burren.
This is one area of Ireland that is made of stone instead of grass. It’s karst, also called limestone pavement (but why would you, when you could say “karst”?), a terrain where soluble stone has been washed away leaving great slabs and gaps. Or clints and grykes, to give them their rude-sounding technical names. It’s weirdly lunar.
We walked up Turlough Hill. It’s not a big mountain, but it’s beautifully layered, almost an Aztec pyramid. This is the kind of hill walking I like, because rather than a constant, merciless slope it consists of short but tough hands-on climbs interspersed with almost level ‘rests’. Nevertheless I struggled, the girlfriend bounding contemptuously ahead. I’m still way out of shape, despite the exemplary life I lead these days. But hey, I never expected I’d even live this long, so I’m way ahead on that score.
It was on the way down that I shone. It really felt like all that potential energy I’d stored going uphill was coming out. Or maybe the Burren just renews me. It was basically a matter of jumping from rock to rock, and I love that stuff.
If there was one drawback, it wasn’t a great day for photography. I did get better shots though later in the afternoon when we drove to Doolin, where karst meets sea.