Lake District Hiking Weekend Here is a great opportunity to climb the highest mountain in England (Scafell Pike) and other iconic Lakeland peaks. Numbers are restricted to 18 participants, plus our 2 guides. You will need to be a competent hillwalker with experience of climbing some of the higher tops in Ireland. We will be staying at the Borrowdale YHA in 2 and 4 person private rooms with bunk beds, using shared bathrooms. Breakfasts are included in the package. The hostel is self catering, but they do provide evening meals (not included in the price), they also have a  bar.

Benbaun (Binn Bhán) is the highest mountain in Co. Galway and the 12 Bens range in Connemara. The name means  ‘White Peak’ and at 729 metres is an impressive sight from the Inagh valley below. It sits at the head of Glen Corbet and is the subject of one of Irelands best mountain walks, the Glencorbet Horseshoe. Our route follows the horseshoe and takes in Benfree and Benbrack as well as the impressive Benbaun. As with many routes in the Connemara mountains car parking is an issue and with only a few places to park it is important to consider

As the seasons turn and autumn takes hold, the weather gets wetter and cooler and the available daylight hours decrease. It’s important to ensure we carry the essential kit to keep us safe in the mountains. Here is my take on what we should be carrying in our pack when we take to the hills this autumn.   Rucksack A pack of 30 – 35 litres capacity is best, and would be sufficient for carrying what you would need for the day. Rucksack liner or cover My preference is always for a liner, a waterproof bag that sits in the

What is a softshell jacket? The term has been around for a while now, and refers to those jackets that are not specifically ‘hardshell’, that is to say waterproof jackets that keep out the weather and may or may not have a degree of breathability. The word ‘softshell’ covers a wide range of jacket types and that, in part, adds to the confusion over the distinction between soft and hardshells. Let’s start by listing and explaining some of the properties that these jackets can offer.   Water resistance* Repels water but will not keep it out for long periods of

Slieve Donard at 850 metres is the highest peak in Northern Ireland and one of the ‘4-Peaks’ (the highest points in each of Irelands four provinces). It’s a very popular mountain and is most often climbed from Newcastle via the Glen River path. This is the shortest and quickest ascent of the mountain and is a route much used by charity hikers and those keen to ‘bag’ the summit. Our route is not so straightforward, as we take the much more scenic trail from Meelmore Lodge and climb both Slievenaglogh and Slieve Commedagh along with Slieve Donard. This is a

Buying new hiking boots, especially for the first time hillwalker, can be a precarious and daunting prospect. So how do we make sense of the technical jargon and the bewildering array of styles, designs and prices available? The first thing to consider is the type of terrain are you likely to be using your footwear on. Hiking boots are now produced to suit all types of terrain, from easy graded trails to high, pathless mountainsides.  Understanding this will help you narrow down your choices considerably. To simplify it down a little let’s look at the five most common styles of

See our pick of the five top hills to climb in the Wicklow mountains. They are not necessarily the five highest, but instead offer a range of scenery, conditions and level of difficulty to have something for everyone.  Lugnaquilla The highest mountain in the Wicklow and the highest point in Leinster, Lugnaquilla (925 metres) is an imposing giant of a mountain. Sitting like an upturned bowl in the landscape it dominates the southern end of the Wicklow mountains. Though not a technically difficult summit to reach, it does require stamina as the 800 metres of ascent required to reach the

Many hikers use walking poles when out in the hills, and with good reason.  They help maintain balance, reduce the impact on our knees hips and ankles, (particularly in descent and when carrying a heavy pack), and are a useful support on slippery ground and when negotiating a river crossing.Using poles will also give you more of a full body workout, by exercising the upper body as well as the legs. Unfortunately, some folk using walking poles gain little of these benefits because they are either using them incorrectly or they are incorrectly adjusted. Walking poles are often placed too

Being able to navigate accurately in the mountains in all conditions is one of the most important skills you can learn as a hillwalker. Mountain Rescue teams are regularly called out to hikers who have become disorientated by poor visibility in the mountains.  Always carry a map and compass, and have the skills to use them. However, even the best navigators can make mistakes. By following the tips given below you can avoid making some of the common navigation errors and minimise the chances of becoming disorientated in the mountains.                     

Layering, in a mountaineering or hillwalking context, refers to the principle of wearing layers of clothes to maintain comfort, dryness and warmth when being active outdoors. A good layering system would involve a baselayer, worn next to the skin for comfort, a midlayer to provide insulation, and an outer layer to keep out the wind and the rain. Within this basic formula, there are a number of options and tweaks that can be made depending on the conditions we are likely to encounter and our personal preference. A good layering system allows for better temperature regulation as it is relatively

December 1st marks the meteorological start of winter and snow has already fallen in the Scottish hills and on the Macgillicuddy Reeks in Co. Kerry. If there is a chance to get out into the mountains this winter you might be considering getting an insulated jacket to keep out the cold. Here is what you need to know before you buy. Down or Synthetic? The insulation used in ‘puffy’ jackets falls into 2 broad categories, down and synthetic. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. Down is an organic product, feathers to be precise, and can be either goose or duck