Anyone that loves the outdoors, find it hard to sit indoors. Especially at this time of the year when the leaves have changed their colors and the beautiful earth color of nature has emerged. Especially up in the mountains. You will see them shift between the deep orangy colour to grey, brown and almost a bit purplish. I find it absolutely stunning no matter what time I am there. It is as beautiful when it is sunny as it is on a dull, grey and cloudy day.
Recently I have been out hill walking quite frequently, at least once a week, with a hiking group where the leader takes us on really good walks. Some of you that follow me on FB might have seen some posts from the walks, and we go to various places of the Wicklow mountains. Some walks are more challenging than others, depending on the surrounding terrain, it can be extremely mucky and wet but we also come across nice paths and even boardwalks, especially along the Wicklow Way.
I have recently been offered a spot in the Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team as a probationary member, which means before becoming a full member, I need to undergo some intense training in mountain skills, navigation, first aid on the mountains, and all variations of tasks that this entails. And I feel extremely honored to be given this opportunity. The coming year will be filled with various trainings with the team. This gives me an opportunity to do what I enjoy, which is to walk those hills and learn new skills, and at the same time do something meaningful – to be part of a great team and to help others in need.
Here above I have attached a few pictures taken during my previous walks. And as you can see in two of them the clouds can make it sometimes hard to see the surrounding areas once you get up to the summits. These pictures are taken on the West side of Wicklow mountains, at two hills Seefin and Seafingan, the Seefin summit was a challenge to get up to as it was very steep and even for me being fairly fit, it was hard. It was a real lung-buster. But was worth it once reaching the summit. This route we were walking was a bit hard on your feet, because it was very wet and mucky and we had to zigzagging through the area due to water and grass tuffs here and there. In those occassions I am really happy to have long legs. Being tall has it’s advantages LOL!
To do hill walking is a nice thing to do, and a few things to think about before heading out:
- Always let people know where you are going and when you are expected to be back
- Wear proper hiking boots, preferably with ancle support, this will give you support while walking on rocky paths and would prevent injuries. And wear good warm socks, merino wool is very good, and is breathable too.
- Get into the habit of layering up from the inside/out. Always wear a base layer to keep your skin dry, this should not be anything in cotton, cotton will easily get wet/damp and it will make you feel cold faster. Use material that is transporting the transpiring sweat out from your body. On top of the base layer you use a middle layer that is more insulating, this could be a fleece jacket or any other insulating material that breathes and makes you feel protected and warm. And as the third layer you can use a shell jacket, that will prevent the wind, rain getting through the other layers. This will make it easier for you to take off one layer if you get warm.
- When you are resting, after reaching a summit etc, and if you have worked your way uphills, you may feel a bit cold. Then it would be a good idea to put on one of those warm layers you have in your back pack. I always carry an extra warm layer, such as fleece jacket, and a pair of warm trousers that I can pull on top of my clothing. This will make you feel warm and the cold wind and air does not get to you as easily.
- And then of course a hat, or wolly hat is always good to wear, especially during the winter months. But being out in the mountains, remember that the temperature is a bit lower than it may be on the lower grounds. So always bring your extra warm layers in your backpack.
- Bring food and snacks [snackbars, chocolate, nuts, dried fruits] and a flask with a hot drink. And most importanly bring plenty of water, because your body is working eccessively and you transpire a lot, so you need to refill by drinking lot’s of water. I usually bring a flask with some hot tea and a little honey in there to give it sweetness. It’s nice to drink should you feel a bit cold, and having something sweet gives you the little extra energy as well.
- Bring your map and compass, and know how to use them.
More updates will follow. wishing you all a good weekend!