Be Safe - Be Responsible - Be Considerate

Updated 20/09/2021

This advice is for all hillwalkers and climbers. Its purpose is to highlight the additional considerations that we should be aware of due to COVID-19. It builds on good practice which is commonplace among responsible hillwalkers and climbers; checking weather forecasts, checking access arrangements, selecting routes that are appropriate for fitness, skill and experience, environmental awareness etc.

The outdoors provide a much lower risk environment for the transmission of COVID-19. That said, please stay vigilant, follow public health advice, and do all you can to reduce the spread of the virus.

The publication of plans by government, in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, for the phased relaxation of restrictions provides high level guidance on when and how we can return to hillwalking and climbing. To view the current information from government please click on the relevant links below:

Government guidelines and restrictions may be prone to misinterpretation. If in doubt you should be guided by your sense of social responsibility and follow the spirit of the guidelines which are intended to reduce the transmission of the virus.


 Summary of Restrictions 

 

Republic of Ireland

Northern Ireland

Domestic Travel Inter-county travel is permitted.

Travel within Northern Ireland is permitted.

Car-pooling

In line with the return of public and private transport participants may wish to return to the use of carpooling.

Private transport carrying those not yet vaccinated or of mixed immunity should be aware of the higher risk.

The use of appropriate face coverings is recommended.

If carpooling, consider use of a pod system in which the same participants pool together for all activities.

When sharing transport e.g., private car when travelling to and from venues, it is important to maintain a flow of clean air through the vehicle. Ideally by opening windows back and front.

International Travel Republic of Ireland - Government Advice on International Travel

Northern Ireland - Travel advice and guidance

Hillwalking & rock-climbing

Mountaineering Ireland’s longstanding advice is that group sizes should be kept small, ideally less than 10, and should not exceed 15.

Club Activity

&

Organized Outdoor Groups

The restriction on group size for outdoor activities has been removed as of the 20th of September.

Mountaineering Ireland’s longstanding advice is that group sizes should be kept small, ideally less than 10, and should not exceed 15.

All outdoor sport, whether organised formally by your local sports club or informally by a group of friends, is permitted.

To determine the maximum number of people permitted to attend or participate in an outdoor sporting activity/ event, the organiser or operator must carry out a risk assessment.

Outdoor sporting activities/ events of 30 people or fewer do not need a risk assessment.

Climbing walls

Climbing walls are open for individual and group use.

Climbing walls are open for individual and group use.

NGB Course Provision & Leadership Permitted (Instructor & Leader Guidance ROI) Permitted (Instructor & Leader guidance NI)

In addition to public health advice, and Government restrictions, Mountaineering Ireland asks all hillwalkers and climbers to consider the following points:

Parking

  • Car-parking spaces will be in high demand – consider alternative less popular areas for parking.
  • When parking, be considerate of other road users. Do not block access for residents, emergency services or farmers who may need to enter fields or farmyards. 

Choosing Locations

  • Consider how popular the location is and whether there is an alternative venue?
  • As people who know the mountains, choose less popular venues, which should be less busy.
  • Large clubs with multiple groups should use different locations and routes.

Landowners and Rural Communities

  • Please be especially mindful and respectful of the landowners and local communities in the places where you walk and climb. People living in rural areas may be nervous to see groups of people coming into the area. Consider too that upland areas have a higher proportion of older residents. 

Equipment

  • Include facemasks and additional gloves in your first-aid kit.
  • Carry hand sanitizer or some means of washing your hands.

 Club Activity

  • Clubs should remind members that it is their personal responsibility to adhere to the public health guidelines.
  • Clubs should remind members not to attend any club activities if they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Clubs should have a designated point of contact for COVID-19 related concerns, information etc. This person will act to inform club members and implement best practice regarding COVID-19.
  • Mountaineering Ireland’s advice is that group sizes should be kept small, ideally less than 10, and should not exceed 15, or the government’s prescribed number whichever is lower. As well as making parking and social distancing easier, a smaller group size will reduce environmental impact and allow for easier group management.

 Key Considerations for commercial and voluntary led activities

  • Appropriate insurance cover.
  • Move briefings outdoors or online.
  • Revisit your risk assessments and operating procedures.
  • Include a COVID - 19 questionnaire for your participants, e.g. temperature, contact with known cases, etc.
  • Revisit your leadership decision making, e.g. group size, venue & activity choice.
  • Equipment sharing, social/physical distancing & hygiene procedures.
  • First Aid; Administering, personal PPE, renewing & updating your certificate.
  • Mountain Rescue service (COVID - 19 protocols may reduce response time, increased participation may increase callouts, PPE resources may be limited).

For further information on commercial and voluntary led activities please click on the links below:

If you have any queries regarding commercial or voluntary led activities, please contact;

Mountaineering Ireland’s Training Officer Jane Carney. E-mail: jane@mountaineering.ie


Resources 

The following are links to useful information for both climbers and hillwalkers during COVID-19

Forms for Clubs:

Keep up to date with advice:

Information on locations:

 

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