Outdoor Focus Winter 2017 - Page 15

Trail running in the Italian Val Veny < >> you move light and quickly through the mountains. You get to appreciate the beauty of nature more, as you can focus on the landscape more, liberated from a heavy rucksack and boots. Trail running can improve your appreciation of the mountains, and aside of the physical wellbeing that it obviously improves, the mental nourishment and rejuvenation of trail running is phenomenal. It’s no small wonder that trail running is now the beating heart of the sporting calendar in the Alps, and that valleys such as Chamonix are declaring themselves the “Vallee du Trail’ - you really don’t need a translation for that one! Indeed the tourist office declared that there are now more summer visitors to the Chamonix valley, than in winter. Trail running has not just arrived in a big way - it is here to stay. Happy running! < < < Trail running on snow Chamonix 90km race route The Guide Book award is sponsored by Aquapac, manufacturer of 100% waterproof cases, bags and pouches. Aquapac is British company headquartered in London, and sells all over the world. www.aquapac.net Highly Commended Adrian Hendroff for Family Walks Around Dublin / The Collins Press, £14.99 (pb) Reviewed by Roly Smith D ublin, Ireland’s bustling capital, shares the same toponymical origin as Blackpool across the Irish Sea on the Lancashire coast. They both mean “black pool”, but there the similarity ends. While Dublin (known to the Vikings as Dubh Linn) is backed by the quartzite headland of Howth in the north and the granite uplands of Killiney Hill and the Dublin Mountains to the south, the hinterland of Lancashire’s pleasure beaches are the flat, agricultural expanses of The Fylde. Adrian Hendroff’s latest offering, which was highly commended in this year’s OWPG Awards for Excellence, thoroughly explores Dublin’s enticing surroundings and historical landscapes via 30 varied routes. They include the 18th century Ardgillan Castle and Park; coastal walks around Donabate; a circuit of the craggy Howth peninsula and an ascent of the 561ft/171m Ben of Howth, and a boat trip and circuit of Bull Island – otherwise known as ‘Ireland’s Eye’ – out in the Irish Sea off Howth. But perhaps the most interesting and unusual route is to the summit of 1,257ft/383m summit of Montpelier Hill, overlooking the Orlagh foothills and with fine views across Dublin to the Irish Sea. The ruined building on the summit was known as the Hell Fire Club, and was where William Conolly, speaker of the Irish House of Commons, met with friends to worship the Devil and drink scaltheen, a drink made from whiskey and hot butter. Unfortunately, Conolly used the stones from a Neolithic passage grave on the summit to build his folly, leading locals to believe that its ruination was caused by the old gods seeking revenge. Hendroff says the walks were handpicked to encourage families and non-walkers to go out and explore Dublin’s fascinating and historical hinterland. It will certainly encourage me next time I’m in Ireland’s Blackpoo l. winter 2017 | Outdoor focus 15