There is nothing quite like paddling across bitterly cold water amidst mountainous scenery lining the shore at Delphi Adventure Centre in Connemara.
Everything is secure as we prepare to Zip 'n Trek at Delphi Adventure Centre; harnessess tightened, ropes in place and helmets intact. That is everything but my legs. They have taken on a jelly-like form as I attempt to scale the heights of the course. I stumble across various rope bridges, incapable of enjoying the treetop views, the fear of falling a grand total of five inches (yep, that's what the ropes are for, apparently) consuming me. By the time I've reached the zip-line, stomach in mouth, I'm extremely grateful that I opted out of dessert at lunch. The jump from 40 feet in the air proves surprisingly easier than the rest of the experience,'my earlier trembling and terror now seems somewhat unnecessary.
This is the second part of our action-packed Saturday at Delphi Resort. That morning we donned glamorous wetsuits and embarked on a kayaking trip across Killary Fjord. There is nothing quite like paddling across bitterly cold water amidst mountainous scenery that lines the shore. We're on the border of Mayo and Galway, although who can claim this beautiful setting is an ongoing debate between the counties. As we float through the water, the distant fields are filled with purple heather and ancient preserved stone walls. Our guides share a little of the history of the area with us, also pointing out various areas where scenes from the film The Field were shot, educating us on the sea life in the surrounding waters. As we venture towards the mussel farms, we battle the strengthening winds, our shoulder and arm muscles begin to ache, our bodies numb from the cold, ready to float back to shore.
Following an intensive morning, we rest our achy bodies with a massage at the award-winning Delphi Spa, with views over the glorious Mweelrea mountain, followed by a sneaky G&T at the 814 Restaurant & Bar before that night's culinary adventure.
Dinner is an exploration of our surroundings. The nine-course tasting menu combines local produce from both land and sea to represent the sights, sounds and aromas of Connemara. Our waiter explains each dish in detail, from oyster with caviar to the beef tongue pie. Later, as we settle in for the night, the memory of our champagne rhubarb and white chocolate dessert sends us off with sweet dreams.
Next morning, intent on making the most of the trip, I set off early to take in my misty surroundings. Drizzly rain is a standard in the area, as our instructor, Gary informed us while we tried to muster up excuses not to Zip n Trek the previous day. You can't come and expect it to not rain, that doesn't happen here. We just get on with it. The area is quiet as I walk the roads, a flock of sheep keep me company as I enjoy the untouched landscape. Back at the resort, as we're served up french toast and coffee before heading for the road back east, a couple of our kayaking companions are readying themselves for an archery class. The thought alone made my shoulders ache.
Shortly after leaving, we pass a 'Welcome to Galway' sign that helps solve the location mystery - this alluring escape is on Mayo ground.
Images courtesy of Delphi Resort and Melanie Mullan