Trailheads’ Western Way Ultra took a path along by the fisheries at Aasleagh Falls, and I feel I must say something about my time here, and the people I met, because I had some wonderfully interesting conversations with people while waiting for the ultra distance runners to arrive at this point of the race.
The first man I encountered, and I’m not sure how the conversation started, had something to do with the fisheries there and he was telling me about how many of the fish there are “ranched.”This means that, once grown, they are micro chipped and this enables both effective counting of their numbers, but also stops them going up river to breed, which is something they don’t want, probably to keep greater control over people fishing.
Many years ago, like half of Galway, I worked in Dunnes Stores on the fish counter and one day encountered a lady who wanted to know specifically if the fish on the counter were farmed or wild. Not one clue did I have and in my ignorance I asked, “What difference does it make?”
“Farmed salmon are full of toxins,” she said simply, and this is something I have often thought about since.
For salmon, being bred in a small environment with restrictions on their movement leads to a buildup of toxins in their body which makes them less of a healthy dinner choice than those that are born free and can travel thousands of miles, the way nature intended.
I’m often inclined to think that the same is true of people. Stuck in offices, glaring at screens, consuming unnatural amounts of sugar, and chomping down on preservative riddled, shelf-life prolonging chemicals has got to be bad for you, right?
So, this being said, maybe the competitors on the Western Way are a bit like the wild salmon, and theirs is a quest to preserve themselves from the environmental toxins that most of us are full of.
Or maybe I’m full of shite! Then again, check out these happy faces! Are they not proof enough of my theories being true? Sometimes you do not need proof, just faith, and an occasional smile!
I hope no feminists are offended by the fact that I did not include the term “Wild Women” in the title. I tried it out and it just didn’t have the same ring to it, and I like to, in my writing if not in my speech, be economical with my words.
Additionally, I was worried that some branch of those same feminists might be offended by women, of any sort, being referred to as “Wild.” One just never knows, these days, what people might take offence to. And, even in my soberest hours, I have often been an outlaw on the run from the PC Police; a fugitive, if you will.
P.S: Interestingly though, and perhaps this will redeem me in the eyes of any feminists who I may have offended – I have noticed in my short career as an endurance event photographer that, when I’m photographing athletic participants at the point of complete exhaustion, I’ve noticed that women are much more likely to muster up a smile for the camera, even though they are clearly suffering just as much as the men.