The mountains of Donegal are not high by international standards, and severe snow and ice conditions are rare, but nevertheless they should not be underestimated as they can be unforgiving for even the most experienced and well-prepared walkers. Severe weather conditions can set in in minutes (particularly given the proximity of the area to the Atlantic seaboard) and navigation can be difficult at the best of times due to a scarcity of obvious paths and tracks.
Do not venture into the mountains unless you are fully equipped and prepared
- Waterproof mountain boots
- Waterproof Jacket
- Warm clothes and change of clothes
- Gloves and warm headgear
- Suitable food and liquid
- Map and compass
- Head torch
- Survival bag
- Mobile phone
- Small first aid kit
- Army knife
- Use a map to keep track of where you are and the progress you are making along the line of the Way. Mark/tick off the markings on the map as you go.
- If in a group, stay together and watch out for each other
- Be aware of traffic, especially if walking on busy roads
- Don't rush, take breaks, and most importantly enjoy yourself !
NB: Watch for changes in the weather, if it deteriorates be prepared to alter the route or turn back.
If you think you are lost: -
- Don't panic, look at what's around you and think about where you have walked and the last place you saw a waymarker or signpost. You may have missed a marker or there may be a marker missing so you may have to go back to that last marker to find the correct way.
- Study the map and try to work out your location, your direction of travel, where you are now and where you are going.
- Back track to the last marker or to a point that is located on the Way.
- If still lost look for alternative routes like roads and tracks that may also get you back on the Way, or to where you are going or back to where you have just walked from.
In the event of a more serious emergency or accident: -
- You can call the Mountain Rescue Service. Phone 999 or 112 and ask for Mountain Rescue. Mountain Rescue is a voluntary service and should only be contacted in a genuine emergency.
- If you need to send people to phone for help, make sure they can find their way and give details of the group's location and the nature of any injuries.
- Treat any injuries to the best of your ability and make the casualty as warm and comfortable as possible. NB: Ensure the other members of the group are also safe and comfortable as it may take a number of hours for help to arrive.
While out walking in the Irish countryside remember you are walking in areas where people live and work. We also share the countryside with much wildlife.
The following are a number of important recommendations to abide by when out walking: -
- Respect the people who live and work in the Irish countryside.
- Respect private property, farmland and all rural environments.
- Do not interfere with livestock, machinery and crops.
- Respect and, where possible protect all wildlife, plants and trees.
- When walking, use the approved routes and keep as closely as possible to them.
- Take special care when walking on country roads.
- Leave all gates as you find them and do not interfere with or damage any gates, fences, walls or hedges.
- Do not enter farmland if you have dogs with you, even on a leash, unless with the permission of the landowner.
- Guard against all risks of fire, especially near forests.
- Always keep children closely supervised while on a walk.
- Do not walk the Ways in large groups and always maintain a low profile
- Take all litter home - leaving only footprints behind.
- Keep the number of cars used to the minimum and park carefully to avoid blocking farm gateways or narrow roads.
- Minimise impact on fragile vegetation and soft ground
- Take heed of warning signs-they are there for your protection.