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Me and my health: Peter Rafferty on his lifestyle



Outdoor life: Peter Rafferty

Outdoor life: Peter Rafferty

Peter Rafferty with Roisin Mulgrew, chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

Peter Rafferty with Roisin Mulgrew, chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

Outdoor life: Peter Rafferty

The 52-year-old is founder and director of Walkthemournes.com and will be involved in the Mourne International Walking Festival, which takes place from June 22-24. Peter lives in Warrenpoint with his wife Siobhan and three children aged 22, 19 and 17.

Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

A: The only exercise I take is walking and hiking the Mourne Mountains in my role as a mountain leader with Walkthemournes.com. This can be up to 12 miles a day carrying a 10kg rucksack so, when I get home, hitting the gym is the last thing on my mind.

Q: What's the worst illness you have had?

A: I have been very fortunate not to have suffered any significant illness to date and I can only hope this continues to be the case.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I consider my diet to be quite healthy. I watch my salt intake and try to stay off the crisps and sweets with just the occasional treat. For breakfast I usually have porridge with some added flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with a good dollop of honey. When I'm out in the mountains this will keep me going until lunchtime. Lunch is a sandwich on ciabatta bread or some fruit loaf (below) with jam as these provide really great fuel for the mountains. I am very lucky that my wife Siobhan is an excellent cook and I'm spoiled every evening when we sit down with our kids for dinner.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I'm pretty certain I have absolutely no bad habits whatsoever but everyone else in the family has a different opinion! They have quite the list which includes going to bed too late, getting up too early, whistling, leaving books all over the place etc, etc, but sure nobody's perfect... though their list does seem to be growing.

Q: Do you drink and/or smoke - if so, how much?

A: I like the occasional glass of red wine, purely for medicinal purposes of course. I quit smoking about 15 years ago and can safely say it was worth the two years of hell I went through to get off them. It was life changing for me and I wouldn't be enjoying the mountains today if I was still smoking.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I take glucosamine sulphate tablets and cod liver oil capsules. Being on the mountains all the time I find these help to keep my knees in working order.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I like to read, particularly books relating to the mountains such as how to identify plants, and I am also interested in the geology of the Mourne Mountains. I also like to kayak around the shores of Carlingford Lough and this is something I find very relaxing.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Thankfully I sleep like the proverbial log. I usually get to bed at about 12.30 or 1am and am asleep about 30 seconds later. My alarm goes at 6.15am and I hit the snooze for five minutes before getting up.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: I worry about NOT getting old! The only thing that concerns me about getting old is I that keep thinking of things I want to do, and I'd probably need to live until I'm 150 to fit them all in.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: My go-to is the Mourne Mountains - the work I do with Walkthemournes.com, leading groups and individuals in the mountains, keeps me physically healthy. This work also helps to keep me mentally healthy as I enjoy researching for information to pass on to the clients and it's very satisfying to see the positive effect walking and hiking in the mountains has on people.

The three-day Mourne International Walking Festival will provide walks of varying distances and difficulties for walkers of all ages and abilities. For more information log on to www.visit mournemountains.co.uk and to register search 'Mourne Walking Festival' at www.eventbrite.co.uk

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