Walking is one of the bests ways to experience Ireland’s beautiful landscapes. There are a variety of beautiful, signposted walking trails for people with different levels of experience. Whatever level you are walking at remember, your personal safety is your responsibility.
The more time you spend in the mountains the more you’ll realise that the mountain environment is a ‘law unto itself’ – one minute you’re putting on suntan lotion and the next there’s a howling gale blowing. Knowledge is power, but the secret to being safe is to understand the mountain environment and to be prepared for anything it can throw at you.
Hiking encapsulates the ideology that you should be independent and able to look after yourself. We do not have a right to be rescued by volunteer rescue teams and should not think that our safety is guaranteed by the emergency services. Returning in the dark or a forced bivouac, are simply situations for which you should be prepared – they do not necessarily justify alerting the mountain rescue. However, do not hesitate to call Mountain rescue when it is really needed!
Taking a progressive approach to hiking is the way to build up your fitness, stamina, experience, and confidence.
Set realistic goals to start with and do not be afraid to turn around and go back.
Having the right clothing and equipment can quite literally be a life saver if conditions are bad, but even in less extreme weather it can mean the difference between having an enjoyable or a miserable day out in the hills.
Here you will find some useful advice on planning your walk, what to bring with you, getting a weather forecast and who to call in an emergency. Click here to download the Mountaineering Ireland Happy Hiking Leaflet.