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Sunday brought us from Kenmare to Killarney along the old road, a distance of around 18km. It took us through some of the best scenery that Ireland has to offer.

The terrain was excellent for long distance walking. Gravel paths, railway sleepers and flagstones kept our tormented feet well away from the worst of the boggy land.

The path is very interesting. Trees emerge from the bog in unusual places, abandoned homesteads dating back to the time of the famine are common, and we walked through a narrow glen in one place that seemed to come right from the movie “Darby O’Gill and the Little People”.

After a number of hours we descended the steps by Torc Waterfall. Only a few minutes to go. Or so I thought. We still had Muckross Estate to get through.

And finally, the Brehon Hotel, the finish line, and a chance to take off our boots at long last..

Update: Video of Day 3

 

Maybe we’ll see you on the 2009 walk?

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Saturday brought out the crowds. Over 200 people gathered together in Sneem for the walk to Kenmare. 

This walk was the longest of the lot – 28km (19 miles). It’s around 42,000 footsteps and our boots reminded us of this fact with each footfall. The walk was relatively flat, with long stretches on tarmac mingled with a good deal of woodland walking. 

After what seemed like an endless forced march, we ended up in Pat Spillane’s Pub for a quick pint. It could have all ended there…

… but no. We had a few more hills to climb…

… and donkeys to annoy.

Update: Here’s the video of Day 2

It’s over. My feet are sore, but the experience was terrific.

This is the a quick report on the first day of the walk.

Day 1 took us from Caherdaniel to Sneem, a distance of 18km. Around 150 people participated. We walked through a variety of different landscapes: from woodland to mountain bog. The pace was fast, with few breaks in between. 

One of the big treats of the day was coffee and scones in a house that was open to all the walkers. It happened about an hour into the walk though, so it lulled us into a false sense of security! The next few hours were conducted at a fast pace, with few breaks in between.

The last part of the trip was mainly flat and along small country roads. It was a race to the finish. Sneem was about to host it’s annual Wife Carrying Competition: if only our team could have taken part..

 

Update: Here’s the video for Day 1. (3m)

My charity walk begins this weekend. We will be starting in Caherdaniel at 8.30 tomorrow morning, ending up in Killarney around 3 in the afternoon on Sunday. This means I have to leave home at 5am tomorrow. I thought I was ready until I met up with a friend last night to go through last minute preparations. 

Tonight. I need to organise a map, a flask, bottled water, two sets of walking trousers, socks, two pairs of boots, suntan lotion (factor 40), sandwiches in sandwich boxes, crisps, chocolate, fruit, vaseline, blister cream, plasters, bandages, paracetamol, a cap, lip-balm, insect repellent, sunglasses, rain gear, underwear, tee-shirts, 4 sets of stockings, a jumper, my wallet, gloves, a laundry bag, pyjamas, a toilet bag, towels, a mobile phone and a phone charger, a camera and its charger, a walking stick, a book and my new iPod. 

Whew.

And just now I’ve sent an out of office message to almost everybody I have contacted for every mail they have sent me in the past two months. That’s good. That’s real good.

Over the last few days I’ve been messing around with the “time lapse” feature on my digital camera.

Here’s an early attempt: 30 minutes of an Irish summer condensed into 47 seconds..

A local evangelical minister slipped a message in the door today, announcing that there would be a kiddies’ show in the green by the house next week, while I’m out at work. Games, fun and bible stories for all the family. This kind of stuff makes my blood boil.

I’m not easily upset by many things, so I’m trying to understand why this stuff is such an affront to me.

1) It feels dishonest that people would dress up good ol’ bible-bashing with games and parties. Really what they want to do is to convert kids to their thinking when they are young and impressionable, so the whole fun and games thing is merely a device – a cloak – to enable them to reach out to children. To me, that’s just grubby.

2) There is a respect problem here. Surely parents should decide what is acceptable for their children, and what beliefs their children should have? This is a naked attempt to gain influence when none is invited.

3) There seems to be a pushiness about evangelicalism that requires them to go out and convert others to their ways. This only puts people’s back up, not because “Satan” is trying to lead us in another direction, but because we are entitled to our own personal views being considered and appreciated. Maybe “we” are right and “they” are wrong, but it’s not something that seems to be considered by them. They give the impression of talking, but not listening.

4) Evangelicanism feeds on human frailties and vulnerabilities. The tactic seems to be to catch people at a low ebb in their life, or to catch people who are too trusting for their own good. To me, this just feels wrong. Similar tactics have been used in other parts of the world by other ideologies, with sometimes devastating results. It’s so much about emotion, and less so about logic and reason.

Finally, (and possibly most importantly)…

5) Anyone with a modicum of scientific understanding of the world would realise that Evangelicalism is based on utterly false premises. Something is very wrong with a world-view that repudiates evolution and believes in a 6,000 year old Earth, the creation of the world in literally 6 days, the absolute inerrancy of the bible, the division of humanity into sinners and saved, and this utopian idea that all will be well if we follow the Bible. It’s a view that belongs in the Dark Ages, and yet it’s a view that is gaining currency in the supposedly enlightened developed world. It deserves to be lumped into the same bucket as astrology, crystals, faith-healing and soothsaying should be.

I guess those are the main reasons I feel annoyed about this. Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe I’m off base in some of my criticisms, but I do genuinely feel, given the complexities of this world and the challenges that we face, that all we need are people throwing religion into our face and telling us that all will be ok if we submit to the Law of Jesus Christ.

Please, blog to your heart’s content on the Internet, minister as you wish to your congregations, do good things for charity, pray to your god in whatever way you wish. But keep our kids out of it.

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