01 KITCHEN WINDOW
That is Three Rock Mountain, as seen, with zoom, from my kitchen window. Located in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Co Dublin, and accessed through Tick Nock Forest, the summit is 444 metres/1,457 feet high. I rode it up once, and was preparing to ride up it again. Given my dread of hacking, the first time had been a big thing — somewhere in the back of my mind at least.

Exactly in the back of my mind, in fact, in my hippocampus, where all the data to be assessed for flight-or-fight resides. It was in there, that info, but from the moment I said ‘Yes!’ to the ride out, it just sat there, and didn’t interfere.

And fair play to it, because it has now been joined by a new memory, one of exhiliration, ease, and pure awesome sitting-on-a-horse, going-up-a-frickin’-mountain joy.

When we decided to go out again, the conditions were not those as reflected in the above photograph.

02 QUARTER OF THE WAY
Yeah. Gale force winds and spitting rain do not a horsewoman prevent, nor a hardy equestrian centre the like of Kellystown in Sandyford. We wrapped up well, got up there, and got to it. I still feel like I need to be apologising to Harry, who shot me such a look over his shoulder about halfway up, through the worst of it.

03 HMMMM
This would have been a spectacular view all the way across Dublin Bay, to Ireland’s Eye and beyond.

04 QUARTER, TOO
That one equally impressive, although more towards Wales. Yeah.

05 HALFWAY
Some clouds though, right? Are we not hardy?!?

06 ALLLLMOST...
I had big plans to take photos in a sort of graphic-novel-way, you know, frame by frame getting closer and closer to the summit, but I hadn’t reckoned on the one-handed-ness of the picture-taking process. Things, they got a bit wobbly, and I was using a camera that was easily sacrificed should it hit the dirt, and therefore not the best. Regardless, we are almost there!

07 CLOSE!
Allllmost—

08 THERE
THERE! Or close enough because the wind was blowin’ something fierce, and we did not linger. Got another dirty look from Harry*, and we made our way towards some forest, and cover.

About halfway down, I realised that we were traversing down what was essentially a mountainside studded with big slippery boulders. I just sat back and let Harry worry about it, a truly incredible moment for me, considering that I am spookier than any horse when out in the wild. Or: I had been. Listen, Harry’s got twice as many legs as I do, and as long as I didn’t do anything to interfere with his concentration, then we’d be grand.

And we were.

09 ELISABETH & CLAIRE

Almost done, and we let the pones have a break while we waited for Jackie to close the gate to Tick Nock forest behind us. That’s Elisabeth and Abby in the back, and Claire and Topaz in the front.

10 WELL WORTH IT!
Ah, now. There you go. Would have missed that had we been so easily put off by a bit of weather.

Every time I see those masts, and they are easily seen from many locations around Dublin, I think, ‘I’ve been up that,’ and it is as satisfying a thought as I can have in the course of a day…

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Visit http://www.kellystownequestrian.com for information about their ride outs!

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*Soz, Harry. I really mean that.

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