= 1st – Wires! I have to place this joint top of the list. Wires of all descriptions litter the Irish countryside. It seems as if successive generations of ‘wire men’ have chosen to string their art as haphazardly across the landscape as a child messing with his full bowl of spaghetti. No plan… not thought for the aesthetics… no thought for the subsequent maintenance… no thought?
= 1st – Litter! Equal joint top. The countryside is strewn with the stuff. I include the objects that really get my ire up… chewing gum, doggy doo-doo in abundance… slimy spit blobs… empty beer cans… the usuals! Oh, don’t forget the random scattering of discarded condom wrappers… and the used contents of said wrappers… saved the planet of another litter bug?
3 – Wet feet. Unfortunately this goes with the territory… very little to do for it but wear full waders. That I’m not prepared to attempt… imagine what the feet would look like after a ten-mile stint.
4 – Long straight stretches. Why do these seemingly endless sections of canal always seem to appear toward the end of walks? One rounds a bend and there… stretching away into the yonder distance lies a section of canal meant to test even the sprightly of step.
5 – Traffic noise. Nothing to be done about progress… it’s just one of those things in life… put up with it.
6 – Umbrella’s. Yep… when you carry one for the whole length of a walk and never use it… or, worse still, getting half an hour into a 5 hour walk and realising the mistake of trusting your instincts about the glorious Irish summer weather.
7 – Large immovable objects. Once again, progress has a way of causing distraction. Very tall radio masts or power station chimneys scattered around the flat countryside. Beacons of ire. One seems to walk forever to reach or pass the structure.
8 – The general condition of the horse walk. There is little to do about this… resources are stretched. What I enjoy least are the hard-pan gravel sections, especially when they’re pockmarked with potholes.
9 – The lack of boats using the canals. Yes, I know times are tight but if these amenities aren’t utilised better the funds for the upkeep may dwindle… that would be disastrous!
10 – Sore feet. But then, without them as a reminder the effort would be a tad meaningless. Especially as we’re trying to raise much needed funds for the folk being supported by the Midlands SIMON.
OK… I’ll stop bleating now… just a reminder though, I have to endure all this ‘hardship’ for the fun of it… and to raise the awareness!!