The evenings are lengthening and the mornings brightening so it’s time to get serious with that New Year resolution about getting fit, or fitter and joining our motley crew!
To get you started you could try out our Beginner’s Walks which we are including in the schedule for January/February, so if you are worried about fitness or just don’t have 4/4.5 hours to commit to our longer B and C Group walks, why not try out these shorter 2/2.5 hour walks? They will run on the same day as our normal walks, just come along at 10 am to the Gap O’ the North Pub Jonesboro’ and register. Your first walk with us is free, then if you wish to join, membership is £20 or 25 euros for the year with membership running from the first of April to the end of March. Our next walk is Sunday 18th of January.
Here are a few pointers to get you started…
Fitness- As a baseline if you can walk from the Courtyard Car Park, to the Cairn at the top of Slieve Gullion and back within 3 hours you could comfortably walk with our C Group. So if you’re more “couch potato” than “super athlete” you will have to put in some personal effort to attain the necessary level of fitness before walking with our B or C Groups.
Kit- From the outset get used to carrying a rucksack. We recommend one with a waist strap as this helps distribute the weight on your hips rather than pulling on your shoulders and back. You should be carrying: a personal 1st aid kit with the basics- plasters, blister patches, headache tablets etc., a whistle and head torch, a dry layer of warm clothing, and at all times of the year, even Summer, a hat and gloves. In addition always carry food, a hot drink and water, it takes only the slightest mishap to turn a gentle 3-4 hour walk into a mammoth 6-8 hour hike!
The following are non-negotiable:
Boots- deep tread walking boots, these protect and support the ankles from sprains and breaks
Jacket– a proper outdoors water/wind proof jacket- all jackets designed for outdoor activities carry a rating for precipitation, anything with a rating over 10,000 is the ideal.
Clothing– layers of clothing is best, avoid cotton and denim as they get wet and stay wet. Most outdoors wear is made with quick drying properties.
Walking poles– poles take the pressure of the knees, the most common problem for avid hill walkers is bad knees!
Gaiters- these clip onto your boots and cover the lower leg, thus keeping feet and trouser bottoms dry when you are crossing streams or as invariably happens, step into a bog hole!
Our leaders and members are always happy to share their experience and advise new walkers on fitness and equipment, alternatively check out the F.A.Q. section of our website-www.gaponorth.co.uk for more information. Good luck with the training regime and we look forward to welcoming you on one of our Walks!