Mountain climbing/hill walking have become very popular pastimes in Ireland in recent years. With 14 peaks in excess of 3000ft and a large number more over 2500ft Ireland has a wealth of moderate to challenging climbs to offer with magnificent views
Hill walkers climbing Mweelrea in county Mayo

The benefits of Hill walking

"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, i found, was really going in." (John Muir)

Hill walking has become a very popular pastime in Ireland. It offers a wealth of benefits to anyone who loves hard physical exercise, breathtaking views, peaceful surroundings and even a place to escape from the stresses of everyday life. The rugged beauty, the peace and tranquility that is found on the tops of mountains is for many very uplifting and inspirational. Looking at beautiful valleys, corrie lakes, snow capped peaks etc I can often empathize with Norman Maclean's great line from A River Runs Through It "When I am alone in the half light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul, and memories and the sounds of the Big Black Foot River"

From an exercise point of view hill walking is a great way of getting fit and offers a good overall body workout especially for your legs, back and abdominal muscles. Care needs to be taken however if you are suffering from any medical condition and professional advice should be sought before embarking on any strenuous activity. It is also important to start off slowly and build your fitness up gradually.

Hill walking is not recommended in stormy or poor visibility conditions or as a solitary activity. An ability to read maps or have someone with you who can is also very important as conditions can change very fast at high altitude.

The best, safest and most enjoyable way to enjoy the mountains of Ireland is join an outdoor/hill walking club. In addition to the benefit of having the walks guided by experience hill walkers these clubs are also great social organizations and provide great opportunities to meet and make friends with like minded people.

I only started hill walking about 6 years ago after a friend talked me into joining the Clare Outdoor Club. It was one of the best decisions i made in my life. The first walk in did with the club was Carrauntoohil. It was a beautiful clear day in mid February and there was a moderate cover of snow at and near the summit. Everything looked so magical and peaceful and though every muscle in my body was aching for days after it had such an effect on me that I became addicted to the sport.

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  1. Hill walking is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Nowadays, heart diseases are on the rise and taking up hill training can help you accrue a lot of its benefits. Hill walkers have reportedly felt a lot more healthy and stable after a good walk. The endorphins which are released by the brain during these exercises is said to reduce depression.