Ireland’s Skellig Michael (Part 2)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, distracted by puffins on Skellig Michael. Other travel adventures, work, and life have kept me from finishing this story, but what better time to get back to blogging about Ireland than St. Patrick’s Day?

We agreed that once off the boat, we’d head straight for the monastery dating back to about 700 AD. It is perched on top of the green isle, so we’d save picture ops for the way down. Throw in a puffin or a hundred and out come the cameras.


A posin’ puffin! (Photo credit: M. Kopp)

Shoot! They are too dang cute!


Pausing for puffins. (Photo credit: M. Kopp)

I could fill a dozen posts with puffin pics, but let’s get back to the hike. If you’ve watched the latest Star Wars epic, you’ve seen a little bit of Skellig on the big screen.


The ascent up Skellig. (Photo credit: M. Kopp)

The climb is steep, really steep. So steep that a misstep can – in fact, has been – fatal. But the views…


Stopped for photos. It’s a long, rocky way down. (Photo credit: M. Kopp)

And then there it is, the summit hermitage. Why did the monks choose this remote, storm-battered rock in the Atlantic? What made them stay for over five centuries? What was the best part of life on Skellig?


Entering the hermitage. (Photo credit: M. Kopp)

Climbing past the beehive shelters lies the high cross. It’s weathered and worn and full of wonder.


The High Cross towers over Little Skellig. (Photo credit: M. Kopp)

Skellig Michael. It’s a walk on the wild side.

New Blog: Actively Looking Into the Past

After much debate about how best to handle the split career personality of being an active outdoor writer with a passion for history, as well as a children’s non-fiction writer and someone who enjoys blogging about writing topics, I’ve decided to make a break for it!

My new blog is a partnership with my hiking, biking, canoeing, travelling and life partner, Brad. Check it out at: It’s about active travel with a historical slant. Join us hiking into Utah’s Grand Gulch Primitive Area to see ancient ruins, following the paddlestrokes of the fur traders canoeing the Athabasca River, or driving down a dirt road only to serendipitously discover an abandoned homestead begging to be explored. I’ve started shifting over a little material from here to there, with dozens of adventures waiting in the wings for their spotlight post.

This blog will continue to highlight “One Writer’s Life” with the trials, tribulations and treats that come with being a freelance writer. It will continue to include writing news and tips as well as the ups and downs of diving into the blogosphere. Enjoy!


Walk in Time: RCMP “Depot” Division

Since 1885, “Depot” Division in Regina has been the training academy for RCMP cadets. It’s a place where tradition lives in every step, every crease, every building.

I was given the opportunity with a handful of other writers to experience a day in cadet boot camp, to walk in time through “Depot.” Although marching was something Troop TMAC never mastered, we did ace the observation portion of the experience.

In the evening I wandered the grounds, soaking up tangible history seen in wood and brick and stone.

Originally built as a mess hall in 1883, the Chapel is the oldest building in Regina. (Photo: M. Kopp)

Originally built as a mess hall in 1883, the Chapel is the oldest building in Regina. Partially destroyed by fire in 1895, it was re-opened as a chapel later that same year. The steeple was added in 1939. (Photo: M. Kopp)


Destroyed by fire in 1911 and rebuilt the following year, this was the Headquarters 0f the Royal North-West Mounted Police. In 1998, the building was named in honour of Commissioner Major-General Aylesworth Bowen Perry. (Photo: M. Kopp)


Constructed as a riding school in 1929, this building became the Drill Hall in 1953. Renovated in 2009, today’s polished wood floors in the cavernous interior reflect provincial crests on the walls and flags hung from steel trusses. Drill continues outside as cadets show Troop TMAC observers correct formation. (Photo: M. Kopp)

“Depot” Division reflects pride of tradition in every step, every crease, every building.

If You Go:

  • During July and August, the RCMP Heritage Centre hosts daily tours of RCMP Academy “Depot” Division.
  • Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, “Depot” hosts the Sergeant Major’s Parade on the Parade Square (or in the Drill Hill if the weather is bad).
  • Sunset Retreat Ceremonies are open to the public on July 1, 9, 16, 23, 30, August 6, 13 in 2013.
  • For more information, visit the RCMP Heritage Centre.