Advice for Hill Walking
Anyone setting out to walk a long distance trail or even a short hike can be embarking on a test of physical endurance. Any walk may involve a period of several hours spent outdoors, frequently in isolated and remote locations and from time to time at high altitudes. Various factors must therefore be taken into account before setting out.
Despite its northern latitude, Ireland's climate is moderated by the Gulf Stream, bringing the dregs of Caribbean balminess, as well as turtles and triggerfish. The temperature only drops below freezing intermittently during the winter and snow is scarce. Summers aren't really that hot, rarely hitting 30° C (86° F), but it stays light until around 23:00. Whatever the time of year, be prepared for rain because Ireland is wet. The heaviest rain usually falls where the scenery is best: luscious County Kerry can be drizzle-bound on as many as 270 days of the year. If you do find the rain getting you down you might find some comfort in the Irish saying: 'It doesn't rain in the pub'! Regardless of when you undertake your walk it is essential to be aware of the expected weather conditions each day. If your journey is at any time from late Autumn to early Spring bear in mind the significantly increased likelihood of unfavourable weather. This can include high winds, heavy rain or sleet and sometimes snow blizzards. Any of these when coupled with the significantly smaller number of daylight hours, can provide the ingredients for an exceptionally challenging undertaking. For A very useful website to check daylight hours etc. Click here . Return to Top
If you intend to arrange for back-up luggage to be transported by ourselves, then a medium size rucksack (25 to 30 litres capacity) will be adequate to carry your daily needs of clothing, food and liquid as well as a basic first aid kit . On the other hand if carrying all your luggage yourself then greater capacity will be needed, the actual size depending on your personal assessment of what are "bare necessities". Top
A warm and dry hiker is a happy hiker! Therefore comfortable walking/hiking boots and socks, a hat or cap, gloves, fleece jacket, water- & wind-proof jacket and over-trousers are essential outerwear. Beneath that a series of lighter mid- and under-layers of clothing are recommended. If you are new to trail walking then the advice of a specialist hiking gear shop is a necessary pre- embarkation task. Top
- Never undertake a walk in wilderness country alone. Three is a recommended minimum group size, simply twisting or spraying and ankle can leave you helpless.
- Wear or carry suitable clothing, food, basic first aid kit, survival bag, waterproof torch (one on an elasticated headband is best) & whistle.
- Know how to read a map and use a navigation compass. Always carry both and use the map to maintain a check on your location and rate of progress. ( although this is not essential on the guided walks).
- Know the weather forecast; be alert to changing conditions en route.
- Plan your route. Leave a note of your plan and expected arrival time. Report on arrival.
- Carry a mobile telephone; only use it to summon Mountain Rescue in a real emergency -incapacitating or serious injury or illness.
- Respect the people who live and work in the countryside.
- Respect private property and farmland as well as wildlife and the entire rural Environment; do not light fires.
- Take all litter home; leave no trace of your presence, request that others do likewise.
- Leave gates as you find them - open or closed.
- Always use gates and stiles in preference to fences, hedges or walls.
- On country roads walk in single file, on the right hand side.
Essential / recommended
- Hillwalking Boots
- Wind / waterproof jacket
- Socks Leggings / tracksuit bottoms
- Thermal top / T-shirt
- Fleece & spare fleece
- Hat &gloves
- Food &drink
- Emergency rations
- Rucksack with liner
- Bivvy bag
- Whistle Map (laminated or in map case)
- Torch & spare battery / bulb
- First aid kit
Other useful items
- Trekking pole(s)
- Mobile phone
- Reflective armband
- Spare socks
- Spare laces
- Water purification tablets
Additional in summer
- Extra water
- Sunscreen / lip balm
- Insect repellent
- Sun hat
Additional in winter
- Thermal leggings
- Extra fleece
- Second hat
- Second pair of gloves
- Group shelter (within the group)