Winter Walking

If you enjoy hillwalking you will probably want to extend your pastime all year round. But when snow and ice cover the mountains it can be both exhilarating and daunting all in one. True winter conditions in Ireland are often short- lived, but conditions can and do occur when you will need to extend your repertoire of skills to stay safe.

Winter brings shorter days and rapidly changing weather. Plan your day out.

  • Clothing: Good waterproofs and a layered clothing system are essential. Try to adjust your clothing to avoid overheating whilst moving which will cause clothes to get damp. Have an extra layer for when you stop.
  • Footwear: A good boot is essential in winter. Light fabric boots or trainers offer little protection and greatly increase risk of a slip or fall.
  • Daylight hours: Plan your route so you finish with daylight to spare. Consider arriving at the start of your route for first light. An early start is much easier than trying to find your way off the mountain when you are tired at the end of the day. Consider an escape route that will allow you to shorten your day if its taking longer than you planned.
  • Weather: Wind, rain, low cloud, snow, or ice can alter your day considerably, sapping energy and challenging your navigation skills. Good weather forecasts are readily available. Remember wind speed increases and temperature decreases as you go uphill.
  • Snow and ice: Although true winter conditions are rare and often short lived in Ireland do not underestimate the potential. Wind transported snow that is subject to freeze and thaw can turn into ice requiring ice axe and crampons for safe travel, and occasionally avalanches do occur in Ireland.
  • Navigation: The ability to navigate is an essential winter skill. If you’re feeling a bit rusty or want to learn new skills look at the training section of our website for a range of courses.

If you wish to venture further afield to walk in the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District, or North Wales, learning some new skills can open up a winter wonderland. Read the following article from Paul Kellagher (Current President of Mountaineering Ireland)



Winter Walking 



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