WINTER WALKS IN IRELAND
you’ll need them in winter. And finally, gloves and a hat are musts.
Pack a day bag with fruit and nuts, water, a hot drink and an extra layer of clothing. If you’re setting out on a more challenging walk, such as Lugnaquilla, add two head torches and batteries as backup, your maps — there are references in our walks to OSI, irishtrails.ie and others for you to download or buy — your compass, and make sure your phone is charged.
“Being adequately fed and hydrated will help avoid hypothermia,” says John Kavanagh, “one of the biggest avoidable risks when hill-walking in Ireland.” “If you’re bringing kids,” adds Adrian, “you definitely need an extra layer of clothes — they get cold easily. So bring a layer or two
and Sunsets are at their most
spectacular in winter, according to walks author and photographer Adrian Hendroff
Over the next few weeks as recent storm damage is addressed, beware fallen or overhanging trees — especially in forest areas
bring extra food for the kids, treats or a hot drink.” Don’t attempt any of the mountain summits in snowy weather unless you have the appropriate crampon and ice axe skills and can use a compass and map, warns Adrian, who is also the first person to have ascended all 273 of Ireland’s Vandeleur-lynam summits over 600m.“if you’re going to climb Lugnaquilla, or Carrauntoohil or Mount Brandon, put the crampons in your bag. If conditions are too icy and you don’t have crampons, then I can only say two words. Turn. Back.”
Perhaps the most common problem for winter walkers is shorter daylight hours. “Most of the time when people get lost,” says Adrian, “it’s because it’s dark and they have become disoriented. Be aware of the daylight hours and when it gets dark.
“That’s very important. If you set off in December, remember that daylight hours end at 3pm.”
Don’t let all these safety precautions keep you indoors, though — winter is a wonderful time to explore nature, so choose a walk and lace up those boots.
For mountain rescue, dial 999 or 112; mountainrescue.ie
Men’s Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket, €229.95 (also available in women’s fittings); greatoutdoors.ie.
Smartwool PHD Outdoor merino wool socks, €21; 53degreesnorth.ie LED Lenser MH2 head torch, €38; ledco. co.uk
Sealskinz merino liner gloves, €12.50;basecamp.ie.