The Hillwalkers Club was established in 1993 for those who were interested in longer and more challenging hikes in Wicklow and further afield. We refer to these hikes as Hard hikes. This website is dedicated to the hillwalking club i.e. to the Hard hikes. For information on which hike might be best suited to you please read on.
The Hillwalkers Club have a hike programme for almost every Sunday of the year. Typically, the club also organizes three to four walking weekends per year to locations in Ireland, the UK or mainland Europe. In addition, there are a number of social activities which don’t involve hiking, such as meals out or the annual Christmas Party.
We have approx. 130 members from all walks of life, of different ages and nationalities. Some members are with us since the foundation of the club, others join for just one or two years. Some are active walkers, out almost every Sunday, others walk with the club only occasionally. Sunday walks typically attract between 15-20 people but the bus can accommodate up to 30.
The Hillwalkers Club i.e. our Hard hikes cater for experienced walkers. The average walking distance is 16km but can vary from 15 to 20km and the ascent can vary from 500 to 1000 metres depending on the type and awkwardness of the terrain. The average walking time is 5 to 6 hours (including lunch and other stoppages).
What we generally say to new members is if you are new to hill walking, try out the Easy or Moderate Hikes organised by An Óige first. Call 01-830 4555 or visit www.anoige.ie for further information on these hikes.
Guests may be allowed to hike with the Club if this is their first time to go on a hike with the Hillwalkers Club. As a Guest you are only allowed one tester hike after which you must decide to apply for membership. If you turn up on a second ‘tester’ hike you are not allowed to go on the hike. You must provide your name, address and contact details for our records, which will be taken on the day of the hike. There is no need to book a place in advance, just turn up on the relevant Sunday morning. All guests must have suitable attire with appropriate clothing of gloves, hat, coat, leggings, boots along with food and water. Guests must have a record of hiking similar to an average Sunday Hike. The norm for this average is 15+ km, 500+ m ascent/descent and 6 hours walking. If you do not reach this standard, we recommend that you walk, first with the Moderate group in An Óige. The hike leader for the day has the final decision on your suitability to hike with the club. All intending participants should be aware that hillwalking and mountaineering are activities which have a possible danger element to them and a have a risk of personal injury or even death. By walking with the Club, you are aware of and shall accept these risks. You are acknowledging that you are participating on a voluntary basis and that you shall be responsible for you own actions and involvement. Please note that Guests do not enjoy personal accident insurance, otherwise offered to members through Mountaineering Ireland.
Yes, Guests can go on either an Introductory Hard Hike or the normal scheduled Sunday Hike as their one tester hike.The Hillwalkers Club offers a so-called Introductory Hike, usually one Sunday per month. Guests are welcome to use this hike as their one tester hike. An Óige members are also allowed to go on these hikes provided they show their up – to – date membership cards. Even though the name of this hike is ‘Introductory Hike’, you should not consider this to be an introduction to hiking, but rather as an introduction to the Hillwalkers Club and its hillwalking activities. The same criteria as in the previous question applies in order to reach an acceptable standard for hiking. Introductory Hard Hike is probably the best one to introduce yourself to the club because there is more likely to be other new members out on that day and the leader will be conscious of that (although will not necessarily lead an easier walk as a result).
Where can I get information on the next Introductory Hard Hike and on the full upcoming hike schedule?
Hillwalkers Club uses a minibus which transports hikers from Dublin city centre to the start of the hike. At the end of the hike, the bus brings everyone back to Dublin. Occasionally, we stop en route to pick up or drop off hikers; this is marked clearly in the hike programme. Unfortunately it is not possible to meet us at the start of the hike. Apart from the fact that we believe taking a bus is more environmentally friendly, the majority of our hikes are linear and so finish completely away from where the hike started. This is of course another advantage to taking a bus (we are not confined to circular routes).
We meet on Burgh Quay in Dublin 2 (between Hawkins Street and Tara Street, near the Spar shop). You should turn up at approx. 9.45 am for a 10 o’clock departure. At busy times, tickets may be given out by the hike leader to ensure that participants reserve a bus place as they arrive.
Boots: Boots must be sturdy, with proper ankle support and a non-slip rigid sole such as Vibram. It is very easy to twist an ankle in uneven terrain or on wet rock. If in doubt, get advice from other hikers or an outdoor shop. Waterproofing is helpful too; boots don’t have to be goretex-lined, diligent waxing will keep the wet bog away.
Clothes: Multiple layers such as an undershirt, fleece and outer jacket work best – as long as none of the layers are made from cotton! Cotton retains moisture, making the wearer cold and uncomfortable; wet cotton trousers could actually lead to hypothermia. It is good practice to bring extra items of clothing, for example, spare socks, gloves etc.
• Bring plenty of hot and cold liquids and a packed lunch; make sure you can carry back all your empties including banana skins, tuna cans and used tea bags without spoiling the contents of your rucksack!
• Gloves, glove liners, hat & scarf are advisable, even on the cooler summer days.
• In summer, don’t forget the shades and sun lotion / sun block.
• A (head) torch with spare bulb and batteries is essential during the winter months.
• A small First Aid kit and a survival bag are highly recommended.
• Map and/or compass are not required but might be of interest to hikers who want to develop their navigation skills.
• Walking sticks are not essential but certainly help to take the weight off your knees during long descents.
You must be a member of An Óige to become a member of the Hillwalkers Club. An Óige membership forms can be found on www.anoige.ie. You can download the current membership form for the Hillwalkers Club here. Fill in all required fields including current An Óige membership details, sign the declaration and post the form together with the membership fee (cheque or postal order) to the Membership Secretary (address on the form). Or more conveniently you can use the on line membership on this web site.
The membership fee covers insurance, Mountaineering Council of Ireland membership, the posting of the quarterly MCI Mountain Log journal and the Hillwalker's newsletter (10 editions per year, by post or email). The MCI membership card entitles you to a 10% discount in most outdoor shops.
An Óige Hillwalkers Club holds its Annual General Meeting usually in October. This is a good opportunity to find out more about the club, meet the committee and hear about the concern of other members.
The hikes are all led by experienced volunteer leaders. On the odd occasion the hike leader may have to change the route from that which was advertised or they may have to amend the route on the day for a variety of reasons. To ensure your safety and that of others on the hike it is very important that you co-operate with the hike leader at all times. The leader will always lead the hike so that they can set the pace. A back leader will also be appointed. It is important that all hike participants stay between the hike leader and the back leader at all times. If you need to break away from the group even for a short while, for whatever reason, the hike leader needs to be informed beforehand. Safety on the hills is our priority at all times.
We would encourage all members to develop their map and compass skills and to eventually lead hikes for the club but this is not a necessary condition of membership and indeed many people have hiked with us for years and are not interested in this side of hiking.