Just before the schools went back we decided to make the most of a cold but glorious day and head into the Wicklow Mountains for a 'blow away the cobwebs' new year walk.
I vaguely knew the place we were going to, albeit I hadn't actually been there in over 10 years. The kids weren't so keen on the idea howevr, so in the car on the way there I had to sell it to them.
'Do you know that people from ALL OVER THE WORLD come here to walk this walk and see these views'.
(It's true they do)
'And here you are with it on your doorstep! You lucky, lucky things!'
Grunts from the back indicated I was still losing the battle.
'And do you know there's a secret lake hidden among the mountains that we have to find?'
I note a tiny pique of interest so shut up before I blow it.
Once we park the car up alongside a handful of others by the side of the road on a remote mountainside we are hit with an extraordinary view. You can see why people travel the globe to get here.
I knew the entrance to the walk was close by but as it was cold and windy I made sure by asking directions from a family of hikers.
'Up and to the right - but watch out for those winds...'
And so we set off. First through the deep dark woods, and then on up along the secret wooden walkway....
The wind continued to howl angrily outside our forested protection.
Once out of the woods we were blasted with gusts of icy wind and we faced scenes of the apocalypse.
Shouting to be heard above the wind I ushered them on -
'Just round the bend up to the top of the hill. The secret lake awaits!'Inside of course I am silently weeping. This was not the gentle mountain stroll I had envisioned.
We marched onward, hit on every side by the loud and powerful gales. We made it around the corner and fought our way to the top of the hill. As we reached the peak a huge gust knocked me sideways. The three children grabbed hold of a post shouting and screaming. Our heartbeats quickened as I grabbed hold of one of them and we formed a human chain to get back down as quickly as possible.
Once back inside the shelter of the woods I cursed myself for not picking a better day to bring them up there. They'll never agree to go back up there after that. And so the secret lake remains a secret, for now at least.
And whilst I failed to get a picture of us all being knocked about the mountainside - this video of their hardy cousin in another area of these wonderful mountains more than makes up for it.
Next time I'm putting her in charge.
Joining in with Coombe Mill Country Kids