Case Study: Wicklow Way, Ireland
by Sam Demas, January 2016
Purpose, methodology, and notes
These case studies are building blocks towards a broader “Country Study” examining long distance walking in Ireland. The intent of the case studies is to paint a picture of the most salient features of each walk and to delve somewhat into operational details. The idea is that from these case studies a broader national picture will emerge. Wicklow Way Case Study….
Case Study: Burren Way, Ireland
By Sam Demas, April 2016
Purpose, methodology, and notes
These case studies are building blocks towards a broader “Country Study” examining long distance walking in Ireland. The intent of the case studies is to paint a picture of the most salient features of each walk and to delve somewhat into operational details. The idea is that from these case studies a broader national picture will emerge.
Burren Way Trip Report
By Sam Demas
As part of my research for a “Country Study” of long distance walking in Ireland, I walked much of this 132km classic Irish National Long Distance Waymarked Way through the sublime Burren landscape. While this walk is 73% on little-used roads due to access rights limitations, it passes through a magical cultural and natural landscape abounding in historical, archaeological, botanical, geological, and habitat features. The Burren is part of the UNESCO recognised Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark. In addition to walking on the Way, its well worthwhile to depart from the Waymarked Way to take in some of the excellent National Looped Walks and nearby features. This is a brief sketch of the route I took and some wonders encountered.
Submitted by Laurel Bradley, December 2015; Photo above is of our guide Jamal and the author.
Taking advantage of cheap international flights from my 2015-16 homebase of Dublin, Ireland, my husband and I travelled to Morocco for the 2015 Christmas season. Avid hikers, we sought access to mountains near Marrakech, our debarkation point. We found the perfect opportunity to walk 4-6 hours daily through agricultural valleys and rocky or forested mountains, and to experience the particular pleasures of Berber culture with a five day, four night journey organized by Berber Travel Adventures, a small company based in Amazmiz (55 km from Marrakech). Jamal, the sole proprietor and trained mountain guide, led the way. We were also accompanied by Mohammad, an able and cheerful muleteer, and by Maria, the patient beast of burden. They put together a great trip for us!
Book Review by Reidun D. Nuquist
Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot (Penguin Books, New York, 2012). 433 pp., $18.00 paperback.
This elegantly written book by Robert Macfarlane is about “how people understand themselves using landscape.” Or put another way, how “we are shaped by the landscape through which we move.”
Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People, by Robert and Martha Manning, Oregon State University Press, 2013
The message of this beautiful, intelligent, and highly readable book is: long distance walking is within the walking distance of ordinary folks. Walking Distance makes the unique and primeval pleasures of long distance walking seem accessible to the average healthy person. Which it is!
In an attempt to prevent foreclosure on the family farm, Helga Estby and her daughter Clara, ages 36 and 18, walked from Spokane, WA to New York City in 1896. They walked over 3,500 miles in 7 months and 18 days. Taking into account stops “aggregating about two months” to work and to recover from injuries and illness, they may have averaged about 20 miles a day, though they often walked considerably faster. Their satchels weighed about 8 pounds and did not include a tent or blankets, but did include lanterns for night walking. By today’s standards, their thin leather ladies shoes and foul weather clothing were shockingly inadequate.