The Vee Walk
Just because it is colder and there are fewer hours of light that is no excuse to give up exploring all over Ireland from your favourite spot to investigating new places you may have seen on Instagram, TikTok or Facebook.
However, a lot more planning and organising may be needed.
- Do your research.
Just because a place looks beautiful on social media or in a photograph does not mean that it is accessible or suitable for you. If you are not an experienced climber or mountaineer and you plan on taking on a mountain, you will need to bring an experienced person to guide you (especially if you do not really know what you are doing). Don’t be foolish and attempt it on your own. Always tell someone where you are going and bringing company for the journey is always best too.
Mountain rescue teams have increased since Covid has encouraged all of us to spend more time outdoors.
Tip: Do your research first. Do not take off on a whim. Check out if there is a local walking group.
- Plan ahead and invest in good quality outdoor gear.
Check the weather for the week before your adventure as well as the forecast for your planned days.
What is the terrain, are there any/many steps, will it be wet, marshy, flooded in parts? Will you need to bring any equipment with you? Hiking sticks, spare socks and waterproofs are always a good idea.
Invest in footwear that suits you. The Gore-tex brand is recommended in particular for its waterproof qualities. Scarpa is a good Italian brand and they have for winter, light weight water proof boots for females too. Regatta and Karimor have good summer walking shoe. With winter upon us, think warmth and waterproof and the terrain so what was good in the summer may not be suitable now.
Take local advice and suggestions from your local outdoor stores. There is one on the Quay in Waterford and the Mountain Warehouse is new this year in the city. TK Maxx sometimes have bargains so keep a look out.
Near Waterford, we found excellent boots in Padmore & Barnes in Kilkenny, including the Meindl brand from Austria which are pricey but good. They have a strong outdoor section.
Do not forget to also invest in good quality socks. Also remember to bring a spare pair in case you get wet, a tip we learned on the Italian camino, the St. Francis Way. Bridgedale socks from UK are very good quality and last for years. These can be purchased locally too.
Tip: Wear footwear to suit the terrain and invest in good waterproofs. Waterproof jackets and trousers are essential to have if it rains. Think comfort over fashion when exploring.
- Focus on layers
Layer up or down depending on the conditions. Remember the higher up you go the colder it can get so make sure to pack a hat, scarf and gloves in case they are needed. Also conditions can change throughout the day. A sunny morning can change into a wet blustery afternoon so always include your waterproof jacket and over trousers in your backpack.
For waterproof jackets and trousers there are many brands available to consider including Gore-tex, Patagonia, the North Face, Berghaus, Marmot and Regatta. There should be something that meets your needs. Some of these can be pricey so buy for your budget but the better quality ones are expensive. Ensure they are breathable as well a waterproof.
Tip: Better to pay a little more and invest in quality. Also think warm and dry so pack or wear your thermals and waterproofs.
- Pack strategically
Make sure the bag is not too heavy for you but can still carry water, your food/fuel for the day, your phone, tissues, hand sanitiser, first aid kit (plasters in case required), torch, power bank, whistle, an actual map and compass (if you can use one) and your clothing layers including some spares. Don’t rely on your phone exclusively. What if there is no signal or you run out of battery. Don’t forget to take your photos to mark the occasion and as a memory of your adventure.
Tip: Make sure your phone is fully charged before you start off.
- Leave No Trace
Whatever you start the day with you bring home. Please leave every place you visit in the same condition that you found it so that the next person can enjoy it too. Sustainable tourism is the way forward.
Tip: Tissues, wrappers, waste need to be carried to the next available bin or taken home.
Most importantly enjoy the experience.
For more ideas, tips and suggestions and to learn more check out www.fitfunadventures.com