Why I Love To… hillwalk

For Susan Ward, her favourite activity gives her a true sense of well-being

Susan Ward on a hillwalking trail: “I love that walking brings together an age range of 35-65-year-olds.”

Susan Ward on a hillwalking trail: “I love that walking brings together an age range of 35-65-year-olds.”

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Hillwalking can be challenging both physically and mentally. I love it because it’s an activity which is freely available to all and I find it exhilarating to be outside in all weather conditions with friends.

It gives me a true sense of well-being. I walk with two groups – the International Women’s Club Dublin (IWCD) and The Trekkers Mountaineering Club.

With the IWCD, every Tuesday, we explore circular routes in the Wicklow hills together and different coastal routes. The Trekkers group is more professional in its approach, so I’ve been lucky enough to have learned technical skills about safety while trekking as well as map reading. The next step for me is to have the confidence to lead groups of walkers.

Those who hillwalk fall in love with Ireland’s beautiful countryside as it changes from season to season. I love that walking brings together an age range of 35-65-year-olds and provides an immediate sense of camaraderie.

On a four-hour trek, we share experiences, confidences, banter and even practice our language skills (over 40 nationalities take part in some of our walks). I get such great satisfaction reaching the summit of a hill, looking down on lakes, rivers, the sea, rolling farmland and forests and even the urban sprawl. I have many a “how small is man” moment.

Tell us about a sport or activity that you love. Email 300 words or less to magazine@irishtimes.com with “Why I Love To” in the subject line

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