Ireland is one of the most popular destinations in western Europe for those travelers who are into history, nature exploring and hiking. As there are many different places for outdoor activities from mountains, valleys, and cliffs to the coastline and ancient woods, the hikers can face a lot of challenges. The rapidly changing weather, unmarked routes, off tracks, lightning, and wild animals are just a few possible cases you should be prepared for. However, if you have good equipment, enough knowledge, and carefully pay attention to warning signs and advice of local people, you can enjoy an amazing landscape of Ireland in a safe way.
Unmarked Routes and Being Lost
If you are going to the mountains, then keep in mind that this is not the same as walking in a park. Do not expect well-prepared paths with little fences and traffic signs in every 100 meters. Hiking in the wild nature of Ireland usually means that you are off the path. According to the national law, most of the lands are private and owned by the local farmers, as a result, the hiking paths are not marked or maintained, so the marking signs are not guaranteed here. You can be walking throughout those lands legally, but if you are lost, then it is your own fault. It is recommended to study a path you are going to choose before starting your hike, have very good navigation and fully charged phone with you, and collect the information about the landowners, so you could find the contacts of those people and reach them in case of emergency.
Terrain, Weather and Hypothermia
You can never be sure about the path condition because the terrain of Ireland includes all possible difficulties for hikers. You can face a stony uphill, muddy valley, and slippery slope on the same route. The tracks along the coastline can be extremely narrow and craggy. Also, do not forget to consider the wind factor, especially while crossing open meadows.
Ireland is surrounded by sea and has mountains, as a result, the weather conditions can change every 10 steps, so it could be very hot, then a terrible storm with a lot of rain can start, and finally, you can face the strong and freezing wind. As a result, hypothermia is a very common case. It could happen even when the temperature is warm, but hikers do not wear proper clothes and do not take different air pressure and strong wind seriously enough. The main features of hypothermia are confusion, clumsiness, lack of coordination, stumbling, shivering, and slower motions, or even lethargy. The first aid is to help a person to warm up slowly, drink some warm liquids, and have some rest but no sleep. If the symptoms are getting worse, you must call doctors.
To avoid such bad circumstances, you must be well-prepared. A pair of comfortable, good quality, waterproof boots is a must. The hiking clothes should be made of polypropylene or wool. Choose comfortable clothes and wear them in layers. Have a waterproof jacket and an extra pair of socks. Eat nutritious food and constantly drink a little bit of water or natural tea.