the dreaded hill walker
As some of you know, I wear a few hats... I wear my horse riding helmet, my "cosy" hill walking hat, and my former occupation - stocksperson and manager on a few large farms in Ireland, the UK and France. I had a conversation recently with a land owner in an area of our country which has spectacular scenery which I am lucky to have seen as to why I couldn't walk over the land I rode over. After informing certain land owners of my arrival, I am welcome to ride my horse over 18 miles of farmland, farm tracks, private forestry, through rivers, past hidden lakes, along ridges that look down on the patchwork of fields below me in the valleys - a wonderful experience and one which I'd like to do on foot. I asked if I could do the same route on foot - there was a resounding no that echoed through the farms.... I asked why, after all, I would adhere to the opening and shutting of gates, keeping to the headlands, not worrying stock on the land, as I did on horseback, I thought it might be insurance as I am insured with the horse, the answer was still no, it was "hill walker" that was feared - I accepted their opinion, I am still very welcome to ride over their land and still do and enjoy the Irish countryside hidden as it may be. It's something we should think about as to why hill walkers have such a bad name - litter blowing in the wind on the tops of mountains,empty bottles in hedgerows, the gate left open, the stock fence broken down, another stone falls from a stone wall, erosion, that little camp fire the list goes on, and as more people want to see our hidden landscape, more of it closes for good.... That lake that has a fantastic view near the top of a mountain that is mentioned here on this website, visit it on foot and you will be hounded by the land owner, yet on horse back - welcome arms. I sat here having lunch on Sunday 02/10 my horse grazing with 2 others, enjoyng the warm sun, and watched the same land owner give chase to a quad bike - that was attempting to gain the slopes, the machine was no match for his 20 year old cob, the biker was chased away by an ageing farmer on his equally ageing steed.......... food for thought - Why am I hated as a hill walker? I am the same person on foot as in stirrup but I would not go against the wishes of my friends, I will not walk over that land without my horse by my side.