Best BRITs – The standout moments everyone is talking about from last night’s BRIT Awards
Best BRITs – The standout moments everyone is talking about from last night’s BRIT Awards

Sarah Finnan

This period extension in Foxrock pulls out all the stops
This period extension in Foxrock pulls out all the stops

Sharon Miney

How to power your business with an entrepreneurial mindset, according to the experts
How to power your business with an entrepreneurial mindset, according to the experts

IMAGE

The making of Cruella and MAC’s dramatic new collection
The making of Cruella and MAC’s dramatic new collection

Holly O'Neill

History-making women: The best moments from the Brit Awards 2021
History-making women: The best moments from the Brit Awards 2021

Jennifer McShane

Rixo has launched its first vintage-inspired footwear collection
Rixo has launched its first vintage-inspired footwear collection

Sarah Finnan

This amazing facial will revive dull, acne-prone lockdown skin
This amazing facial will revive dull, acne-prone lockdown skin

Jennifer McShane

Image / Living / Travel

Get back to the great outdoors with these top tips for hiking safely in Ireland


by Lauren Heskin
12th Apr 2021

Madeline Mulqueen

blank

Now that we're free to stretch our legs right up to the county border, Galz Gone Wild founder Mel McDermot shares her tips on getting back to hiking.

Today marks the day we are finally granted county-wide freedom, after three (!) long months of living within our five kilometres. Those pavement, road, seashore and forest walks have been well pounded now and we are ready to break out and take our well-toned calf muscles somewhere else for a change. Watching the same two swans nest in the same two spots as they did last year is magical, but the Groundhog Day feeling has not been lost on me. 

Before we all park and take off up a mountain, founder Mel McDermot, founder of Galz Gone Wild, Ireland’s leading women’s outdoor adventure community and business, has a few tips to remind us exactly how to hike safely.

Food and water

You should always bring more food than you think you do, especially if you are going on a strenuous or long hike that you haven’t done in a while. “Pack a full day’s worth of food for your hike – sandwich, fruit, jellies, chocolate, trail mix,” says Mel. “Bring food you like that will keep you fuelled and happy. There is nothing worse than being hungry than a backpack full of snacks you don’t even enjoy.”

Mel also recommends packing some long-life food like energy bars, dried fruits and meats. These can be left in your backpack for the day you open it to pull out your beautifully made lunch at the top of a peak, only to realise you left it in the car.

Mel suggests bringing at least 2 litres of water with you, regardless of how long you’ll be out for. You might get lost or find someone else who can spare half a sandwich but has emptied their water bottle already. 

Protection

There may still be a fierce nip in the air but the sun is up there and as we’ve seen so little of it throughout house-bound winter months, our skin will be extra sensitive. Come sunshine or cloud, Mel suggests packing sunglasses, sunscreen and a peaked cap and always lash on that sunscreen. The same goes for rain protection, although we probably need less convincing on that front.

Mel McDermott of Galz Gone WIld. Photo: Madeline Mulqueen

Stick to the trail

Mel suggests bringing a map and compass, but only if you’re comfortable using them. “Never venture out into the open mountains unless you have the navigation skills to do so,” she says, but if you’re following a sign-posted trail, apps like ViewRanger and Hiiker can come in handy, just “make sure to bring additional power sources like power banks.”

If you are interested in going a little off-piste, “I would recommend doing a Navigation Skills workshop or completing the Mountain Skills training course accredited by Mountaineering Ireland,” advises Mel. “A great Mountain Skills course provider is Fia Mountaineering based in Wicklow.”

Be conscious of nature

Nature has had a number of the more rural trails predominantly to themselves over the last few months, so be aware that animals may be closer to the trail than usual. Nests are common at this time of year and Mel notes that “animals are sensitive to humans while pursuing or defending mates and territories, birthing, guarding young or nests and when food is scarce.”

If you do see any wildlife on your trail, do not feed them and try to keep your distance. Give animals space to cross your path and try not to disturb any nesting sites or dens. If you see an animal you think is injured, note the vicinity you’re in and head to Irish Wildlife Matters for information, or, if you are in a National Park, you can alert the Mountain Ranger office. 

Do your bit

Galz Gone Wild has worked alongside Leave No Trace Ireland for trail cleanups and Mel encourages all hikers to follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles:

  1. Plan ahead and Prepare
  2. Be Considerate of Others
  3. Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife
  4. Travel and Camp on Durable Ground
  5. Leave What You Find
  6. Dispose of Waste Properly
  7. Minimise the Effects of Fire


Keep some room in your backpack to pick up any litter you see on the trail and recycle what you can when you get home. After Covid, you can also join the GGW Trail Angels community that would do trail cleanups of their favourite trails.

Also Read

blank
INTERIORS
Our pick of new-in homeware to bring that spring feeling into your home

If the spring days are making you crave some freshness inside, too, take a look at these new-in offerings.

By Megan Burns

blank
INTERIORS
This period extension in Foxrock pulls out all the stops

Glass box extensions get a bad rap, but here’s how...

By Sharon Miney

rural homes in Co Cork
PROPERTY
3 rural homes in Co Cork on sale for €175,000 and under

From an elegant farmhouse to a period home that’s ripe for refurbishment, these three houses all come in at a reasonable price.

By Megan Burns

blank
FOOD & DRINK
According to science, there is one way to upgrade your biscuit break

It requires a cuppa, a chocolatey biscuit and a bit...

By Shayna Sappington

blank
PROPERTY
This Victorian terraced house for sale in Rathmines for €1.2 million

By Lauren Heskin

small kitchen
INTERIORS
5 clever hacks for a small kitchen

Kitchens are one of the trickiest areas in a home...

By Lauren Heskin

Actress Kathy Rose O’Brien
premium INTERIORS, PROPERTY
House Tour: An exclusive peek inside a stylish book-filled Dublin 4 apartment

Actress Kathy Rose O’Brien invites us into her sleek and colourful Dublin abode.

By Nathalie Marquez Courtney