News 2022

Title:  Hillwalking Committee meeting summary
Date:  02/06/2022

Summary of Hillwalking Committee Meeting

The committee met on Wednesday, 9th May 2022. This was the first meeting in person for 27 months and was preceded by a meet and greet and an introduction to three of our four new members Claire Brennan, Jim McHale and Brian Kennan. Due to prior commitments before joining the committee Peter Wright was unable to attend. Also in attendance were Chair: Gráinne McLaughlin, MI Secretary: Ruth Whelan (RW), Gerard Reidy, Marian Wallis and Pat Macken

Aron Hegarty, Mountaineering Ireland’s new Communications Officer was invited attend to meet the committee and to introduce himself. He spoke of his role going forward to create a shop window for all strands within Mountaineering Ireland.

Communications Officers: Committee members offered suggestions and input for his plans and priorities from a hillwalking perspective.  Some ideas put forward included:

  • Create a platform to encourage members to network and engage with each other.
  • Promote a list of mountains to be hiked around the country e.g. continue to promote the Arderins (official list of Irish Summits). This may also appeal to and attract a younger audience. A list of walking festivals should also be added to our website to encourage participation around the entire country.
  • Another suggestion was to continue our ongoing connection with relevant organisations such as the Irish Girl Guides (IGG) one of whose core values is leadership. This would also tie in with the aim to increase female participation at all levels of hiking.

Hillwalking Development Officer Update: RW gave a short synopsis of some of the work and projects she is currently working on that would be of interest to the committee. These included:

  • The pilot Programme for Teenage girls Summit Sisters which targets teenage girls not involved in sports with the view to immerse them in landscape and challenge them to bring their creativity to the hills. The pilot involves a local transitional school in Co Waterford and activities are based in the Comeragh mountains.  Once the pilot is complete and evaluated it is intended the project will be rolled out around the country.
  • RW is currently collaborating with Get Ireland Walking to develop a Hillwalking Community Programme and the pilot is being run in Cork in conjunction with Cork Sports Partnership and the community active walking groups and will also incorporate both local instructors and clubs. This is in the process of being finalised.
  • Women with Altitude is on next weekend based in Kerry at Cronin’s Yard for the first time.
  • The Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025 (SP)has been finalised and launched to the staff and will be available online and in hard copy shortly. RW was on the working group for the Strategic Plan and will continue to work on the operational plan to implement the SP going forward.
  • There have been 3 new clubs affiliated in the past month: numbers have increased and are now above the 2019 figure, standing at just over 15000.
  • The AGM on 10th May will be recorded and available on YouTube channel.
  • There will be a Members Forum on 7th June for all questions arising during the year.

Website: Update on Mountaineering Ireland’s new website to be launched shortly with improved sections on Hillwalking. Using different platforms to promote messaging and increase Mountaineering Ireland’s visibility was also discussed.

  • It was suggested that photos of the new members of the committee be sent out on Instagram with a short note on who they are etc as well as adding this to our FB and ezine magazine.
  • Widening opportunities to showcase clubs was also discussed. A request was sent out in the previous Spring Irish Mountain Log for clubs to submit club profiles with little uptake. A reminder is to be sent out again to clubs to encourage them to participate in this opportunity.

Youth Hillwalking Pathway: We launched a new subcommittee to increase participation of young people in hillwalking.

  • The main aim is to identify a pathway for young people to access hillwalking from ages 5 to 26 years. 
  • Three members volunteered to assist RW to identify how best to progress this and to identify any gaps.
  • The aim is to develop this to a stage where an approach to Sport Ireland can be made for specific funds to promote the development of the pathway as required.

Engagement with Mountain Rescue following on from previous discussions due to a number of critical incidents on the hills over the past few months resulting in fatalities and it is considered vital to have a plan to support members to deal with the aftermath of these: there is a need to debrief all involved. RW has been in contact with MRI who have developed guidelines to debrief after critical incidences and they are going to tailor these for use by Mountaineering Ireland clubs and once complete will be included in the club handbook.

Risk Assessment: Discussions were had in relation to whether to have a risk assessment template for clubs and it was agreed that the best approach would be to provide best practice advice and to educate people to be personally responsible rather than the emphasis being on the leader assessing all the risk.

Mapping: approx100 members had previously provided feedback on the Osi maps 1:50000 (not gone to print yet). Next step is to run several workshops to provide other opportunities to engage with Osi and provide valuable feedback. Awaiting to hear back from Osi to set up dates for these workshops. Two members volunteered to compile a list of what information should be on hiking maps, based on previous feedback provided by club members. Another query raised to the committee was on the matter of consistency of place names on maps. It was noted that where mistakes have been made on ordnance survey maps, they should be rectified. Essentially, our priority as HW cte is to give feedback to map makers on the necessary information required for the purpose of ease of map reading, geared to hillwalking.

Arderins: A logo has been chosen to promote this list and has been selected and sent back to the designer with the changes indicated in the last meeting.

Challenge Walks: The list will be added to the new site and as a news item on our current website. This is not an endorsement of all these events but a calendar to provide information of what is on offer as a challenge on the hills. Only clubs affiliated to Mountaineering Ireland, who manage and organise their own events and sign our commitment statement, can submit all events to be promoted on our social media outlets and in the Mountain Log and ezine.

Hillwalking Committee next meetings: 19th September & 12th December 2022

If you have any feedback or suggestions for the Hillwalking Committee, please contact


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