I’ve been flicking through the glossy guide over pots of tea and countless Twirls. In places, my editor has replaced my enthusiastic rants with more sedate phrases and a few of my recommended places have fallen by the wayside. This is the way of publishing. There is a limit as to how many words you can fit in a book and that’s what editors are for. Left to the writer, a book of 340 pages would be 670 pages. This is a fact.
After lamenting the loss of a cafe, shop or walk review, I realised that perhaps my editor knew what she was doing. Everyone loves the safety of a guide; a list of all the best places to visit, eat and sleep, thus reducing your chances of ending up in a bleak B&B with damp sheets and no windows. But we all love that smug moment of finding somewhere utterly beautiful and undiscovered – a secret waterfall, a cute cafe or a snug in a remote pub.
The element of surprise and feeling of having found something nobody else knows about is one of the joys of travelling. We had so many of these moments along our travels; a secluded lodge in Glenariff National Park, Antrim (which is stunning by the way), a small tea shop on the way to Fanad Head, Caragh Lake, Kerry. The list goes on. Maybe we felt we stumbled upon more hidden gems because we travelled during winter and there was a stark absence of other travellers. Either way, there were plenty of gems that dazzled us despite the wind, rain, hail and snow.