Hillwalking Tips & Mountain Safety Guide

Essential Items to Bring for a Walking Weekend

It is recommend you bring with you the following items of clothing and equipment to help make your walking weekend as comfortable as possible. The weather on the West Coast proves to be completely unpredictable so be prepared for everything from hail to blazing sun! The Irish weather can be changeable and is often very localised. This means that you may well have a morning of rain and an afternoon of sunshine – and that the weather may be quite different 10 miles away.

Cool days in summer: 10 – 15° C (50 – 60° F).
Warm days in summer: 21 – 27° C (70 – 80° F)

It is a good idea to take layers of clothing with you each day and to change whenever the temperature does. As a general rule, always take rain gear with you and remember that the higher you go, the cooler it gets.

  • Warm clothing (preferably not denim trousers but tracksuits etc.)
  • Rain jacket & trousers
  • Woolly hat, scarves and gloves. On the hills it is colder than lower ground
  • Walking boots or shoes that have suitable support for your ankles
  • Change of clothes and spare shoes
  • Warm woolly socks
  • Any personal clothing that you need
  • Sun block and insect repellent for the summer months (April to September)
  • Plastic bags for bringing home wet shoes and clothes
  • A small rucksack that you need for bringing items, including your lunch

Mountain Safety

The following precautions are designed for longer, higher walks however, do remember that even on low level walks, there can be inherent dangers:

  • Wear suitable clothing, and regardless of the weather carry extra warm clothes, wind and waterproof anorak and over trousers. Except on short easy walks it is best to wear walking boots.
  • Plan your walk carefully and make sure you can complete it before dark.
  • Check weather forecasts and keep a look out for weather changes. On high ground, mist and rain can close in with alarming speed.
  • Remember that the temperature drops 2-3 degrees Celsius for each 300m you climb and if, as is frequently the case, there is a strong wind the temperature drop will be even more marked. It may be a pleasant day at sea level whilst freezing and windy at 800m.
  • Always carry a map and compass, a torch, whistle and a small first aid kit should also be taken. Remember that the mountain distress signal is six blasts per minute and then a pause.
  • Carry a reserve supply of food including chocolate, glucose tablets, and something warm to drink.
  • Before you set off make sure to leave word where you are going and what time roughly to expect you back.
  • Streams in flood are dangerous and extreme caution is necessary.
  • Remember that most accidents happen on the descent, when you are tired, so take special care then.
  • We would discourage walkers from bringing dogs with them whilst walking.
Hillwalking near Keem Bay, Achill Island