Trail Planning Advice and Safety Tips
Pick a trail that suits the general fitness and experience of the group. It’s probably better to concentrate on easier and less difficult walks when starting out on trail walking.
Make sure to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. You can get an up-to-date regional weather forecast by calling WeatherDial.
While most trail maps are downloadable on this website, you may need to drop into the local tourist information office to pick up a copy of the trail maps, guides, etc. They can also get local tips on good places to eat or stay within easy reach of the trail.
Do not hesitate to seek advice from local people in any area as they know their area best
Allow plenty of time for your walk – at least 1 Hour for every 4km – and add extra time for any uphill sections, (allow 2 minutes for every 10 metres of ascent), rests, lunch, taking photos, etc.
Be aware of dusk times and plan to finish your walk well before that time.
For seashore walks check the times of the tide to ensure that you won’t be cut off by rising water.
Leave details of your plans with somebody and don’t forget to contact that person later to say that you have returned safely.
Sport Ireland – National Trails Office and Mountaineering Ireland have published a Walk Safely Leaflet.
Clothing and Equipment
The amount of clothing and equipment you require will depend on the amount of time you plan to walk, the type of trail and the weather conditions. When walking in the Irish outdoors it is always recommended to:
Bring a waterproof jacket.
Wear walking boots or shoes suitable for use on rough ground.
Bring plenty of food and liquids.
Bring a mobile phone, but while a mobile phone may be useful in an emergency, it should not be relied on as a safety aid as network coverage is often poor in the hills and countryside.
Bring a map, hat, gloves, waterproof over-trousers, torch, whistle, personal First Aid kit – (NB: The most common injury on the Irish hills is to the ankle or lower leg, usually resulting from a simple slip or fall. This is less likely to happen if you wear comfortable walking boots with good ankle support and a rugged sole).
The amount of clothing and equipment you require will depend on the amount of time you plan to cycle, the type of trail and the weather conditions. When cycling in the Irish outdoors it is recommended to bring:
Bicycle helmet, waterproof jacket and an extra base layer.
Spare tube, puncture repair kit, pump and multi-tool.
Basic first aid kit.
Plenty of food and liquids.
A mobile phone, but while a mobile phone may be useful in an emergency, it should not be relied on as a safety aid as network coverage is often poor in the hills and countryside.
Issues to Consider while Walking or Cycling
Use a map to keep track of where you are and the progress you are making along the line of the trail.
If in a group, stay together and watch out for each other.
Be aware of traffic if walking on roads.
Watch for changes in the weather, if it deteriorates be prepared to alter the route or turn back.
Don’t rush, take breaks, and most importantly enjoy yourself!
If Something Goes Wrong
If you think you are lost:
Don’t panic, look at what’s around you and think about where you have walked and the last place you saw a waymarker or signpost. You may have missed a waymarker or there may be one missing so you may have to go retrace your steps.
Study the map and try to work out your location, your direction of travel, where you are now and where you are going.
If still lost, look for alternative routes like roads and tracks that may also get you back on the correct route.
In the event of a more serious emergency or accident:
You can telephone the Mountain Rescue Service (call 999 or 112, and ask for Mountain Rescue) – Mountain Rescue is a voluntary service and should only be contacted in a genuine emergency!
If you need to send people to telephone for help, make sure they can find their way and give details of the group’s location and the nature of any injuries.
Treat any injuries to the best of your ability and make the casualty as warm and comfortable as possible.
Ensure the other members of the group are also safe and comfortable as it may take a number of hours for help to arrive.