Hill Walking in Ireland - Getting Started

Get fit, meet new people and get hillwalking - just make sure you don't get lost! 

With the end of summer in sight it is the perfect time to get outdoors with your own social group or with a hill walking club and improve your fitness in some of the most beautiful countryside Ireland has to offer, County Wicklow, with areas such as Glendalough, the Glenmalure Valley, Glencree Valley and the Blessington Lakes all offering fantastic hiking opportunities.

There are so many reasons to get into this popular and growing past time, and they include fitness and an improvement in overall health, and a chance to socialise in a relaxed environment, and a chance to take in some of the amazing views of the Irish Countryside. Hence the explosion in Irish and Wicklow based Hill Walking Clubs and Groups in the past ten years, and the rise in singles walks from Dublin in the Wicklow Hills.

Like all outdoor activities, hillwalking is not without its own risks, and there are ways to minimise these risks whilst still enjoying the immense benefits of Hill walking and hiking in Ireland. The right equipment is vitally impotant to a safe day tour or day trip to Wicklow, even if it is just a ramble around Glendalough, and it is also important to follow some basic safety rules.  

In terms of hill walking equipment it is important that you bring along the follwing in order to make your day tour or day trip to Wicklow a safe and enjoyable one.

It sounds obvious but make sure you bring a map, and not just any map, but a topographical or military map. Most hill walking guidebooks do not provide adequate maps. Also, make sure you know how to read and use a map properly, if you can't read a map, there are many Wicklow based map reading courses available.

In order to use your map properly, you will also need a compass, and a compass that points North is not enough. As above, a compass will be no help to you unless you know how to use it properly during your day trip to the Wicklow hills. Make sure you know how to orientate your map properly to the ground, and you can hillwalk on a bearing.  

Brining a whistle is always beneficial, as it can be used to alert other hill walkers in the Glendalough or Wicklow hills if you are in distress, even if you are only out on a day trip or day tour from Dublin into the Wicklow Mountains.

Always remeber to be safe in the Irish and Wicklow mountains and you should take note of the following: 

Always hillwalk as part of a group, either a hillwalking club or group, or a social group. Never hill walk alone, even in County Wicklow, Ireland. 

Always check the weather before you go hiking or hill walking, even if it is just for a stroll in Glendalough. You need to be prepared to adjust your walk for local conditions in Wicklow, and it is better to remain flexible and cancel a walk, then get lost or even injured at the top of a Wicklow Mountain. You should also be aware of the time of sunset, as walking around Glendalough in the night, or any where else in Wicklow, can be very dangerous.

Clothing is also vitally important to an enjoyable day trip or day tour to the Wicklow Hills. Wet weather clothing, and warm clothing are an absolute must, and will ensure your Irish hill walk is enjoyable and comfortable. A good pair of boots is also very important, and they need to provide the right kind of support and protection for your feet as you stomp through the heather and bog of the Irish hills.

Whenever you go hill walking or hiking in Ireland, make sure you leave no trace behind. The only thing you should leave, is your boot print! 

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