The Middle Aged Adventurer

Coasteering with Wave Sweeper

Back on a dull, dark day in January I was invited along to the Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo to have a chat about possibly having a photography exhibition there. I was thrilled to be asked! The exhibition was to be landscape images of the North West and with the help of my friend Heidi the ‘Wild Atlantic Wayfarer’ was born.

SUP Sligo

Little did I know at the time the immense journey it would bring me on. If you follow the blog you will know I love exploring and I’m passionate about this wonderful gem called Sligo that I’m so lucky to call home. Not only did I get to see more of Sligo with this project but I also got to see parts of Mayo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Donegal that’d I’d never been to before. I met some amazing people along the way and it’s been a life-changing experience.

Horseriding in Markree

Although the exhibition is all landscape photographs I didn’t just want to stroll around the place taking photos. I’ve looked at tourist brochures and quite a lot of the images feature young, fit people doing cool activities and adventures, yet when I looked at articles aimed at my age group and older it seems to be pointing me in the direction of knitting, playing cards etc. So I decided to become the ‘middle aged adventurer’ and get out there and take part in as many activities as I could.

Flying over Mullaghmore

This was all made possible for me with the help of the Hawk’s Well Theatre, Lookwest, and the fantastic activity providers we have in the North West region. I have had so much help along the way and I’m very grateful to everyone. This journey has shown me just some of the amazing things we can take part in along the Wild Atlantic Way and surrounding areas.

Val and Mark, Wavesweeper Erris

It’s safe to say when I first mentioned this project to my family they thought I was mad, especially when coasteering was mentioned! Actually I thought I was mad for a bit too, especially as I was scared of heights and the sea….and wetsuits! (you’ll notice the was bit there!) To those who don’t know coasteering is basically jumping off rocks into the sea, but with the encouragement of Wave Sweeper I faced my fears and threw myself into the Wild Atlantic Way and loved it! In fact I’ve loved being in the sea so much I now want my own wetsuit!

Lucy snorkelling

I’m hoping I’ve encouraged people to have a go at some of these adventures too. I was delighted when my daughter Lucy decided to try some of the adventures too – maybe I’m not so mad after all.

Cycling around Sligo

This whole project has helped me to start the bucket list I never knew I had. I’m not going to say I’ve completed it because I’m hoping this is only the beginning, there is a lot more out there I want to explore. When I’m old I don’t want to say ‘I wish I’d done that’, I want to say ‘I did that’. Adventures aren’t just for the young.

Kayaking in Ballina

Thanks once again to everyone who helped me along the way. The Wild Atlantic Wayfarer exhibition opens at the Hawk’s Well Theatre Sligo on July 31st and runs until September 27th, 2015.

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3 thoughts on “The Middle Aged Adventurer

  1. Jacqueline says:

    Looking forward to seeing this exhibition when I’m next in Sligo, well done Val, there was no better woman for the job!

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