New to hillwalking? Check out these top tips to start you off in the right direction. 1. Love your feet Getting the right footwear is possibly the most important factor in determining the success of your hillwalking career. For tracks and low level routes when you might have only a light pack, then lightweight flexible boots would suffice. More demanding ground, such as rocky, high mountain paths would require a more rigid boot, with a stiffer more aggressive sole for grip and perhaps a higher level of ankle support. Fabric and leather mix boots are now very popular, they are

Lugnaquilla is the highest mountain in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, and at 925 metres it is the highest point in Ireland outside of Co. Kerry. It’s also classified as a ‘Furth’, a mountain over 3000ft outside of Scotland (where they are called Munro’s) and one of 13 Furth’s in Ireland. Shaped rather like a large upturned Christmas pudding with 3 large bites taken out of it, there are a number of ways to climb this mountain, all of which lead to the large stone summit cairn, topped by a triangulation pillar. The summit plateau is a bare undulating surface

When considering how to ascend or descend a particular section of steep terrain, whether steep wet grass or a rocky outcrop, it is important to make a personal judgment on your ability to safely negotiate the ground ahead of you. When assessing the risk to your personal safety it can often be useful to think in terms of a chart of the likelihood of a slip, and the possible consequences of such a slip occurring. This is depicted below in the form of a traffic light system, green (safe); orange (caution); red (danger):   The likelihood of a slip is

Time: 6.5 hours         Distance: 13km        Height gain: 1040 metres Galtymore is the highest inland mountain in Ireland and at 919 metres, is the 14th highest in the country. It sits squarely on the border between Tipperary and Limerick and forms a majestic centre piece for a tough horseshoe hike that takes in three great mountains, Cush, Galtybeg and Galtymore. Galtymore is most often climbed from the south, via the black road, but this easier ascent misses out on the stunning views of the mountains north face, and of the several corrie loughs that sit under its imposing shadow. Our route

Time: 6.5 hours         Distance: 13km        Height gain: 1040 metres The Mweelrea Massif encompasses five tops, aligned around an imposing horseshoe, and with two major named summits, Mweelrea (814 m) and Ben Bury (795 m). Mweelrea sits in the southwest corner of Co. Mayo, on the northern side of Killary Fjord, where its imposing crags dominate the skyline. It is the highest peak in the province of Connaught and one of the great mountains of the 4-Peaks Challenge*. The easiest and most often used route to the summit involves a start near the Silver Strand, on the western side of the

Water is essential to life, and a lack of it will soon lead to serious health issues and ultimately to death. A lean person comprises around 70 – 75% water, losing just 1% of this will leave you dehydrated, losing 2% and things are getting serious. Water carries heat away from the vital organs and transports it to the surface through your skin, where it is removed as sweat. The sweat evaporates from the surface of your skin and this cools you down. If you do not replace this water you will quickly become dehydrated. Being dehydrated effects the efficiency

On a recent winter hike with a group of clients to Lugnaquilla mountain (930 metres), I decided we had to turn back when we were on the plateau, and tantalisingly only 1 km from the summit cairn. Why did I do this and what were the thought processes that led to this decision, when is it a good time to turn back? There is an old mountaineering saying, ‘The best decision you will ever make is the one to turn back’, and it is often true. To make this crucial call there are a number of criteria that must considered,