News 2015

Title: Spring Gathering Report
Date: 13/03/2015
System Date: 

Westport Hillwalkers hosted a wonderful Spring Gathering last weekend 07-09 March in the Westport Coast Hotel.  Tom Wilson the Chairperson of Westport Hillwalkers welcomed all to Mountaineering Ireland's Spring Gathering and set the tone for a hugely enjoyable weekend. To get the weekend on the way we had two speakers. Dennis Strong who is involved in the Wild Nephin Project since inception, talked about this unique environment and the efforts being made to create an on-going wilderness area in Ireland. Archaeologist, Gerry Walsh, provided us with a slide show sharing some well-known and lesser known facts about the history and heritage of Croagh Patrick. 

On Saturday members took to the surrounding mountains for activities, which included an Environmental Walk on Croagh Patrick where local national parks and wildlife rangers, Irene O’Brien and Eoin Mc Greal joined Mountaineering Ireland’s, Helen Lawless for this walk.  Also, Club Training Officer Jane Carney organised a workshop on ropework for Mountaineering. An enjoyable evening followed, where Ursula Mac Pherson acknowledged the hard work and dedication of Karl Boyle over the past five years and wished him well in his future endeavours. 

Sunday's more formal proceedings included the Mountaineering Ireland Annual General Meeting and Members' Forum. At the AGM, the 2014 financial accounts and auditor for 2015 were approved, the election of clubs to full membership and election of representatives to other organisations were also approved. Three motions were proposed by the Board of Mountaineering Ireland and adopted unanimously. These included: Mountaineering Ireland’s Safeguarding Policy, policy on payment by recreational users and the payment of fees by commercial outdoor activity providers.  
The members' forum provided an opportunity for members to air concerns and issues. Discussions were had on Wind Farm’s and their potential impact on the uplands. The general consensus was that although not opposed to energy reserve/conservation, action is required to protect Ireland’s uplands. It was posed that a National policy was required and more involvement from the membership was needed to protect Ireland’s upland areas.  The Irish Rambler’s proposed that the mountain log be moved to electronic format.  The members in the audience unanimously requested that the hardcopy remained the means in which the log is distributed.  The Irish Ramblers also requested that the fee structures for large clubs be assessed to reduce the cost of members over 400 and 600 members. As a discount already exists for members of large groups, it was suggested by members that is was a matter for the board to decide. It was also suggested the current cost structure for clubs ensures all clubs small and large are financially sustainable.  

Three workshops followed that included the Club’s Workshop, where discussions were had on governance and club development as well as going through the content of the new Club Handbook. The environmental workshop, which covered environmental and access topics and the club training workshop, which discussed how to create and manage a training plan to meet club’s needs. 

Mountaineering Ireland would like to thank everyone who supported the Spring Gathering, especially Westport Hillwakers and its organising committee who really did a wonderful job in making it a hugely successful weekend. Thanks also to Westport Coast Hotel and everyone for attending.


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