There is something to keep in mind however; it’s an unpredictable animal of a different sort. Irish weather.
A sunny, cloudless day can turn into a cloudy, foggy one in a short time. When the mists come in the temperature drops and it can be frightening and dangerous for the unwary hill walker. Don’t be alarmed! Here are some helpful tips to keep your adventure comfortable and safe.
- Bring a packed lunch, lots of water to drink and some extra snacks for energy.
- Bring a knapsack (rucksack) with an extra sweater or fleece, gloves and a hat. (yes, even in summer)
- Raingear. A must! I have a very lightweight raincoat and rain pants that tuck easily into my knapsack…just in case.
- Wear a hat.
- Wear good fitting, and preferably waterproof, hiking boots. Hill walking is also called Bog Trotting for good reason. The ground can be very wet and squishy underfoot. Watch your step.
- Let people know EXACTLY where you are going and when you will be returning. One hill can look like another after a while and it is easy to get disoriented in unfamiliar territory.
- Bogtrotters.ie recommends also having a whistle, a flashlight (torch) and a survival bag with you as an extra precaution. Remember: Cell phones don’t always work in the hills. Best to bring a bog trotting buddy with you.
- Dogs. If there is a sign up saying “No dogs” it means no dogs. Please respect the farmer’s wishes, especially during lambing season. Most of the farmers here in the Beara Peninsula are kind enough to let people meander over their properties. Please respect their generosity. If you are walking in area that is okay for a dog, it might be wise to keep him/her on a leash. The Irish hills can be quite exciting for a four legged friend…especially if rabbits are spotted!
- Don’t leave gates open. Again, most of the land that hill walkers enjoy is privately owned farmland. The gates protect precious livestock.
- Please don’t litter.
- Don’t over extend yourself. Know your limitations.
- Don’t forget to Enjoy Yourself!
- Here are some helpful links to get you started on your journey:
- Hill Walking In Ireland
- Walking the Beara Way Diary by Chrit Houben
- Way Marked Ways: The Beara Way
- What is the Beara Way?
- What to do in an Emergency
- Great Hillwalking Advice!
(The pictures above were taken from the front window of my home to give you an idea how dynamic the weather can be here on the Beara Peninsula.)