A day out in nature.
If you are considering more adventurous trips into the great outdoors, it’s important to know what you are taking on.
Leanne McGrath is a Scout leader, keen hiker and all-round nature-lover…….and she has some great tips if you are planning a hiking adventure in the hills or mountains.
She also works in the Environmental Farming Branch in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
I first started walking in the Mournes when I was 13 years old, as part of my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and today I am still going up (albeit not as often as I would like to). As a Scout Leader I enjoy passing on the life skills of map reading and navigation to young people with the added benefit of getting outdoors and appreciating nature and the local environment.
Before we all headed off on our walk, we each packed our backpacks – essentials including plenty of water, lunch, snacks (lots off!), waterproofs (coat and trousers), extra layers and a full change of clothes (inside a plastic bag). On top of that I also carry a small first aid kit, map, compass, torch, whistle, and an emergency shelter (just in case).
When we arrived in the Mournes it was great to see so many people out and about enjoying the beautiful scenery. Remember to respect the local residents in the area by parking sensibly and not blocking access to property or even roads themselves. The local roads are narrow even without parked cars so please use car parks, or even consider using the Mourne Rambler bus service.
Our plan for the day was to go to Hare’s Gap and then to Slieve Bernagh, before returning to the cap park. Top-tip….if you plan to go out with the kids make sure you have an answer for “how long” or “are we nearly home yet”! The answer is normally “just over the hill” or “just around the corner”!
If they are old enough let them see the route that you have planned, and always remember to have a Plan B and Plan C just in case the weather changes unexpectedly.
And finally….remember the Countryside Code (link below)…..what goes in must come out. Don’t forget, Leave No Trace and only take with you pictures and happy memories.
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