We've all had to start somewhere

If you're new to hiking, not to worry, we've all had to start somewhere. We have members who've hiked and climbed all over the world, but at some stage in their life they were the newbie who turned up with less than perfect gear and a slight tinge of nervousness. We love introducing new people to hiking, and we pride ourselves on our efforts to welcome new members and give them the training and encouragement they need.

roy-chairWe produced this starter pack so that you can get to know our club and our activities a little better. If you are interested in hiking with us, read the information below and then get in touch with our Secretary to receive the latest details of our hikes.

We use a  members-only section on the website for communicating with members, so bear in mind that this website shows only a small glimpse of the activities of our club.

 

About our club

We are mainly a Dublin-based club although we do have members from all corners of the country (and all over the world). We do most of our walking in the Wicklow/Dublin area. 
Each Sunday we have 3 hikes: 
  1. A Short hike of 14k to 16k;
  2. An Intermediate hike which is generally 15-18k+, suitable for experienced hikers;
  3. A Long hike, usually 18-24k and geared towards those who like a tougher day in the mountains and which requires a high level of fitness; 
New hikers are expected to do the Short Hike initially, unless you have good hillwalking experience in which case the leader of a longer hike may agree to take you.
Each hike is led by a member of the club acting as leader.

During the course of the year we visit other mountain ranges (e.g. Galtees, Blackstairs, Maumturks, Mournes, Reeks). These trips are usually weekend events. The club also organises trips on Bank Holidays and during the Summer.

Essential kit

More often than not, we leave the tracks and trails behind and trek over rough terrain. When you join the club, there is essential hiking equipment that you are expected to carry. Because Irish mountains often experience cold & wet weather, even small incidents (e.g. a twisted ankle) can quickly lead to hypothermia - so it is important to carry enough kit to keep yourself warm and dry whatever might happen. 
1. Rucksack - Typically 25-35 litre in size.
2. Hiking Boots with good ankle support. You will NOT be allowed on walks without boots.
3. Raingear - Waterproof and Windproof jacket and over-trousers.
4. Extra layers - Fleeces, light wool jumpers, down jackets. Several light layers are usually more flexible than one or two heavy layers.
5. Hat and Gloves - Two pairs are recommended so as to have a change if they get wet. Wool or fleece hat to cover head and ears.
6. Food - Good quality high energy foods, hot drink, plenty of water (Have a good breakfast before setting out!)
7. First Aid Kit - And any medicine you need personally. (Details of any illness, personal medicine, who to contact in the event of an emergency, car registration, should be carried in your first aid kit).
8. Wear comfortable clothing! Warm clothes, like tracksuit bottoms, fleece, sports top (non-cotton), warm comfortable socks. Cotton is heavy and cold when wet.
9. Bring a change of clothes & footwear in a separate bag for after the hike.
Jeans and trainers are not permitted on our hikes under any circumstances. Jeans are extremely cold when wet, and because of the rough terrain we cross proper footwear is essential to reduce the risk of lower leg injuries. 
It is not unusual to have four seasons in one day in the Irish Mountains (which is half the enjoyment).

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Safety

Although you will be in the company of experienced walkers, your safety is ultimately your own responsibility, therefore take the following into account before setting out.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Be properly equipped
  • Consider your fitness in relation to the hike which you are undertaking.
  • Stay with the group and follow the leader's instructions - remember there is safety in numbers.
  • Do not leave the group without informing the leader.

Training

Each year the club runs a number of courses in basic and advanced navigation, First Aid and Leadership. If you are not familiar with use of map and compass, training courses are provided. 

We encourage people to take part in the navigation course at a minimum - navigation is a key hillwalking skill which will allow you to explore mountains in safety at your own pace, will allow you develop your leadership skills leading a club hike and is a skill that will be useful where-ever you are in the world. One committee member takes responsibility for training. If you would like guidance the Training Officer will be pleased to assist you.

Membership

The annual subscription fee rates are on the 'join the club' page. Your full year subscription automatically includes membership of the Mountaineering Ireland (MI). When you receive your club membership card you are entitled to 10% discount in most of the outdoor shops in Dublin. You will also receive a monthly newsletter keeping you up to date on the happenings in the club.

Car Pooling

The Club has a policy of car pooling where possible. For the Sunday hikes we have a designated carpool point i.e. Stillorgan Shopping Centre or Terenure Carpark depending on hike location, where we arrange to pool cars. This avoids bringing too many cars into the mountains and travel expenses are shared.

We're not expecting you to have perfect gear when you start out

Purchasing outdoor clothing and equipment can be bewildering to even the most experienced hiker. If you are just starting out, get advice from other members - it's one of their favourite topics of conversation and they will be only too willing to advise you. We understand that when you are starting out in hillwalking your gear may not be the best, but over time you'll be expected to upgrade (which you'll probably do anyway for your own comfort).granparadiso

Medical

If you have any doubt in relation to your health and fitness we advise you to consult your medical advisor before taking on exercise which you might find strenuous. Even  our 'Short' hike is a lengthy hike over rough ground, and is not recommended without a good basic fitness.


Social

Throughout the year there are many social outings including trips to the cinema, theatre and other cultural events. There are meals out and the occasional party such as at Christmas or our Summer Barbecue or the members' slide show. These events are published in our monthly newsletter.

Our environmental obligation

The mountainous areas of Ireland are very special places. The Wayfarers Association supports the protection of the environment and is very conscious of conservation of the areas in which we spend so much of our leisure time. Remember the saying "leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photographs"