30 November 2010

Summit Temperature -9 Degrees C.
Temperature @ 150m -3 Degrees C.
No Fresh Snow. Slight Lightning Of Conditions.

Christmas/New Year Outdoors

Carrauntoohil @ Christmas
Sun 26th Dec - Discounted Price €55 Per Person

Rock Climbing in the Gap of Dunloe
Wed 29th Dec : Half Day : €50pp

Hike Mangerton & Horses Glen
Thurs 30th Dec : €65pp

Guided Climb of Carrauntoohil & MacGillycuddy Reeks
Two Days - Three Mountains!
Fri 31st Dec & Sat 1st Jan : €65pp

For More Details Contact Nathan:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

MS Refresher Reschedule

We're rescheduling our Mountain Skills Refresher Day planned for Sun 5th Dec, to Sun 16th Jan, due to road travelling conditions for participants. If you would like to book onto Sun 16th Jan contact us on info@outdoorsireland.com or +353 (0) 86 860 45 63.

We've also rescheduled the Art O Neill NAV CLINIC from this Sat 4th Dec to Sat 18th Dec.

Snow Conditions - Tues 30th Nov

No Photo - Fairly Thick Cloud. Summit Temperature Approx -4 Degrees C. Snow Conditions Similar To Yesterday.

Mountain Skills 1 Blog

Learning The Basics Of How Not To Get Lost
By Ailsa Berkeley

Have you ever been on top of a mountain exhausted and have no idea which route will take you safely back down to your car, ever plan a half day hike with friends and 6 hours later you are still dragging them through bogs and brambles? Ever carry maps out with you because that’s what all good outdoors people but the only use they are for you is to keep your bottom dry when you sit down?

Well I'm a demon for thinking that a pair of hiking boots and a sense of adventure is all I need to get me through a day out in the hills, but after one too many basic errors that, have nearly turned friend and family against me forever, it dawned on me that maybe a sense of direction is also a good thing to have with me on a day out. It was time to up skill, so when the opportunity arose to take part in Outdoor Ireland's Mountain Skills Course I was all over it , like mud to a hiking boot.

Located in the depth of Kerry, at the foot of the Gap of Dunloe, near Carrantuohill, Nathan’s school is ideally situated (though admittedly a little hard to find). From here he runs a great range of activity courses from kayaking to rock climbing. The one I was participating in was Mountain Skills 1 - aimed at giving the basic map reading skills to hill walkers. In November I headed down to take part in the 2 day course.

The course was dedicated to map understanding, the art of navigating the land with map reading being the focus. The group, lead by Tadhg, headed to the hills, each of us armed with a Silva compass and a typographical map. And the training began. We divided the course into sections and each one of the group had to take turns in leading the others to the detonations. In unfamiliar terrain the only thing we would rely on was our trusted '78.

The amount of information that can be pulled out of a map is unbelievable, from reading the basic symbols to recognising re-entrants. We delved into the detail of the contour lines, we were taught to recognise our exact location from just reading the pixel thin lines on the map. Timing was a whole section to itself – having the ability to estimate how long a route will take is definitely one of the most practical pieces of information we could take from the course, enabling you to determine the latest possible start time for the day and to know when to cut the planned route short if running behind schedule, preventing the situation arising where you are wondering around aimlessly in the darkness...

Tadhg told us numerous tips and tricks along the way such as how to tell if the river has been mapped or not, how to spot if you’ve missed your destination, how tick of features can be used, what the ultimate pack should contain [try vacuum packing a fleece and a Mars bar...] and why deliberately aiming off your destination an help you get to your destination quicker....

The class room sessions complemented the practical field trips (and not just in terms of the hot cuppas and chocolate biscuits) Being informed about what gear to buy from someone who experienced in the area rather than someone who is just trying to sell you a product was invaluable - I’m just dying to go on a shopping trip now to sort out my outdoors wardrobe. Other topics tackled were what route cards are and how to use them, hazards and what to watch out for, pacing, and recognising geographic features...

Once it was all explained to me I couldn’t foresee how I’d go off track again – that was until it was me turn to lead...[somehow the group ended up ankle deep in bog, heading in the wrong direction...] A lot of information was packed into the two days, practice is definitely required. But it’s great to be able to say that after a two day course as long as I have a good Silva type 4 compass and a typographical map I’m in command of myself no matter what the location in the outdoors.

The course is perfect for runners, hikers, adventure racers who want to improve their navigation sills or for someone who just wants a laugh with a good bunch people in the outdoors.

Click Here To See Upcoming Mountain Skills Courses

28 November 2010

Winter Walking Days

Winter Walking Days in the MacGillycuddy Reeks

Experience the magic of hiking the snowy, icy peaks of the MacGillycuddy Reeks over the coming days.
No previous snow experience needed.

Daily Dates
€75 Per Person Per Day
Transfers Provided

Contact Nathan:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

27 November 2010

Snow Conditions - MacGillycuddy Reeks

Sprinkling of fresh light snow on MacGillycuddy Reeks. Peaks obscured by cloud, so this is the view from Reeks Lodge @ 160 metres looking across to Cronin's Yard.
Temperature on peaks approx -6 degrees C.

26 November 2010

Snow Conditions - MacGillycuddy Reeks

Light dusting. Slightly more on north side of Beenkeragh.
Temperature approx 0 degrees C. Ground not frozen.

Getting Found

Most of us get a little misplaced occasionally while hill walking. Here's a few ideas for preventing it, or dealing with it when it does happen.

Preventing It:
1. Begin your route from a definite point.
2. Each section of your route has a definite start and finish point.
3. Use 2 to 4 'Tick Off Points' for each section of your route.
4. Use 1 'Cut Off Point' for each section of your route.
5. Extend or zig-zag your route if need be, so you can always travel between definite features.
6. Don't get complacent and always double check everything. Don't rush or be distracted!
7. Be very aware of what the ground is doing around you. Is it ascending, descending or flat?

Dealing With It:
1. If you're partway through a route section and become unsure of where you are along that specific route section, continue on to your next finish point, using Tick Off Points and then a Cut Off Point to keep you on route.

2. Stop, turn around and re-trace your steps to your last know position. Do this carefully and logically, using map and navigation. Don't randomly rush back as this is how you can become properly mis-placed. When you reach your last known position, begin your navigation again.

3. Use a 'Collecting Feature'. If you have only a vague idea of your position, look for a long/wide feature on your map, running parallel to you; such as a forest, river or road. Take a Compass Bearing to this feature. Because it's a long/wide feature you have a large margin of error in terms of reaching it. Once you reach it, firstly establish it's the correct feature and secondly establish where on the feature you are, by walking along it until you reach an obvious bend, junction, etc. Also work out Distance, Time, Tick Off Points and Cut Off Point.

4. Get a grid reference from your GPS and relate it to your map to get your current position.

5. Sit down, keep warm and wait for the mist/cloud to clear, so you can see your surroundings. (Last choice!)

Tick Off Points:
Obvious features along your route that you physically walk through or past; such as a change of slope, a lake, stream or spot height.

Cut Off Point:
A physical feature that you will walk through or past if you overshoot your destination point, such as descending ground if you walk past your spot height accidentally.

OSI 1:50 000 Scale Mape: 1mm = 50 metres : 1 Blue Grid Box = 1km

Average Hill Walking Speed = 5km per hour : 1km per 12 mins.
Allow 1 Extra Min Per Uphill Contour Crossed

Click Here To See Our Two-Day Mountain Skills Courses
(Kerry & Wicklow Courses)

Click Here To See Our One-Day Mountain Map Days
(Kerry & Wicklow Courses)

Compass Bearing Video

Any other tips or suggestions?

25 November 2010

Upcoming Events

Guided Climb of Carrauntoohil
Sat 27th Nov : Sat 11th Dec

Carrauntoohil via Coomloughra Horseshoe
Sat 4th Dec

Art O Neill Navigation Clinic - Wicklow
Sat 4th Dec

Mountain Skills Refresher Day
Sun 5th Dec

Mountain Skills 2
Sat 11th & Sun 12th Dec

Carrauntoohil @ Christmas
Sun 26th Dec - Discounted Price €55 Per Person

Rock Climbing in the Gap of Dunloe
Wed 29th Dec

Hike Mangerton & Horses Glen
Thurs 30th Dec

Guided Climb of Carrauntoohil & MacGillycuddy Reeks
Fri 31st Dec & Sat 1st Jan

For More Details Contact Nathan:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

Snow Conditions - Thurs 25th Nov

Light dusting on the higher peaks. No freezing.
Temp approx 1 degree C.

24 November 2010

Mountain Training Learnings

Laminated OSI Map
Silva Compass Type 4
Hiking Boots
Back Pack & Liner
Warm Clothes
Waterproof Coat & Trousers
Hat & Gloves
Spare Hat & Gloves
Two Spare Fleeces
Head Torch & Spare Batteries
First Aid Kit
Bivvy Bag
Hot Drink
Picnic Lunch

Map Reading:

Colours, Symbols, Contours, Scale, Measurement

Map Setting:
Point Map Direction You're Going

Contour Features:
Flat Ground, Steep Ground, Spot Height,
Spur, Col, Re-Entrant, Change of Slope, Corrie

Navigation Techniques:

Distance Estimation:
1 Grid Box = 1km. 1mm = 50 metres

Timing Estimation:
1km per 12 mins approx. 1 min per uphill contour crossed

Any questions or suggestions, just leave a comment below...

Mountain Training: Wicklow & Kerry

Mountain Map Day

Intensive One-Day Training Course including; Map Reading, Feature Recognition, Navigation Techniques, Distance Measurement, Timing, Pacing and Self-Locating Techniques.

Wicklow Dates: 22nd Jan : 19th Feb
Kerry Dates: 29th Jan : 26th Mar

Price: €65 Per Person

At the end of this day you will be introduced to the core skills needed to map read and navigate across the mountains in reasonable weather conditions, at all times of year. You will also be introduced to techniques for self-locating if you become misplaced.

To Book Contact Nathan:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

Mountain Map Day will also lead into two further one-day courses; Mountain Compass Day and Mountain Emergency Day.
More details to come soon...

18 November 2010

Wicklow Here We Come

Today I'm off to the rolling terrain and wind sculpted peak hags of the Wicklow Mountains, with two of my team, Dave and Barry. Together we're running a Mountain Safety Promotion over the next few days, working with just over one hundred people at the end of it all.

I'm looking forward to great food in Lynhams Pub and we're back staying in a fabulous little bed and breakfast I found on my last trip up there, Tudor Lodge.

I'll post some photos and video over the next few days.

Some places are still available for Sunday, so get in touch on 086 860 45 63 or info@outdoorsireland.com if you'd like to book.

As we're all outdoors, don't worry if your phone call or email isn't returned immediately; I'll get back to you in the evening.

16 November 2010

Backward Summiting

Congratulations to one of my instructors, Tadhg Boyden, and a friend of his, Robin, who have become the first people to climb Carrauntoohil backwards!

15 November 2010

Winter Kayaking

Beautiful, still and calm, kayak trip yesterday on Lough Lein, with Barry. It's not just a summer sport! Click Here To Book A Trip

First Snow in MacGillycuddy Reeks

Looking At The Big Gun & The Bone

11 November 2010

Kayak Trip Available

We've places available on an Afternoon Kayak Trip this Sunday 14th.

The Kayak Trip across the Lakes of Killarney will run from 2pm - 5pm and will be with Barry; who's just back from a summer of sea kayaking around Ireland!

With all equipment provided, including warm, dry wetsuits, you'll stay snug and warm as you explore Killarney National Park by kayak! The colours in the oak woods are incredible at the moment...

The price is €50 per person and beginners are welcome.

To Book Contact Nathan:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

10 November 2010

Failte Ireland's 'Get Out There' Conference

Recent Adventures in Kerry

Exploring Lough Lein by Kayak

Rock Climbing in the Gap of Dunloe

Lowering Off 'Umbongo'

Ascending Brother O Shea's Gully, on Carrauntoohil

Carrauntoohil's Summit

8 November 2010

Autumn in Kerry

Killarney Lakes Sunset Kayaking

Here's one of our Killarney Lakes 'Sunset Kayak Trips' which was shot during the Killarney Summerfest this August. It was one of the most amazing sunset kayak trips we've done so far.
Click Here To Book
Copyright: Frontier Films

2 November 2010

Win A Gift Voucher!

We have five gift vouchers to give away, with two different ways of winning them. You can use the voucher for yourself, or as a Christmas present for someone else! The vouchers are for two people for one-day's adventure activities; either kayaking, rock climbing or mountaineering. Certain dates and terms may apply!

To Enter Either:
1. Send a postcard with your name, address and email on it to: Ruth, Outdoors Ireland, Tahilla, Sneem, Killarney, Kerry. Also include a sentence on why you would like to win the voucher.

2. Upload an Autumn photo onto our facebook group wall, along with a comment on why you would like to win the voucher.

Deadline: Fri 10th Dec
Good Luck!

Free Mountain Skills Refresher

If you've climbed Carrauntoohil with us and would like to learn the skills to navigate yourself to the summit, or if you began Mountain Skills Training with us at some stage and feel like your skills have become rusty; hopefully our free one-day refresher will help you.

Mountain Skills Refresher on Sunday 16th Jan in Kerry. Free Of Charge for anyone who began their Mountain Skills Training with us or joined us on a Carrauntoohil Guided Climb.

Date: Sunday 16th Jan
Time: 930am - 430pm
Location: Gap Of Dunloe, Kerry
Price: Free Of Charge
Age: Over 21s Only

When you contact us to book you must know the date of your Mountain Skills Training or Carrauntoohil Guided Climb.

If you would like to join us for this day, but are not eligible to participate free of charge, there is a cost of €45 per person.

To Book Contact Nathan:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

1 November 2010

Mountain Safety Training Wicklow

Places are filling quickly on our Mountain Safety Promotion in the Wicklow Mountains, however there's still time to book if you're interested. We've also extended the promotion to Sunday 21st; so the dates are now: Friday 19th, Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st November. This is a full day's training in map reading, navigation techniques and compass work.

Beginners Welcome
Hiking Boots Provided

Click Here For More

To Book Contact Nathan:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63