What To Bring When Hiking

So you’ve glanced through what to wear when out hiking in the wilds of west Mayo, below. But what do you need in your rucksack ?

1. Water – No matter what the weather, you’ll need water. Vary the amount, depending on the warmth, but don’t travel with less than 500 ml, while 1 litre would be better. You can always top up in the mountains, but be smart : the higher up the mountain stream you take water from, the cleaner it is going to be. Also, don’t take water from a still pool – it will have gathered peat dust and worse, while stagnant.

2. Food – Again, no matter how short a walk, do bring some food with you. You never know – you might have a problem (twisted ankle, etc.) up the side of a mountain. If you’re packing some chocolate, or energy bar, etc., go without the wrapper. That way, you won’t lose it in a gust of wind. Bring your food in a re-usable plastic container, with a sound tight lid.

3. Whistle – I never go anywhere without a good, loud whistle, in case of emergency. Wear it around your neck, so you have it in case you become separated from your rucksack.

4. Torch plus spare batteries – Nobody knows when the batteries in a torch are going to run out. Always pack spares and ensure they are dry, by wrapping them in a water-tight bag.

5. Mobile phone – The rule, when out in the hills, is certainly to turn your mobile phone off. But have it with you, in case of emergency. Put it in your pocket, not your bag, for the same reason as mentioned above.

6. First aid supplies – While it would be nice to carry a load of first aid stuff around with you, in practice, it’s really not that practical. But do have the 4 essentials – plasters, for cuts on rocks; elastic crepe bandage, for twisted ankles; Leukosilk tape, for keeping said bandage in place; Medicare cold pack, for treatment of swelling, bruising, etc.

And please remember, bring back home what you brought out with you. Do not leave even the slightest remnants of your passage. You know the Leave No Trace maxim :

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. With two exceptions. First, do take out rubbish that you did not leave there yourself. You’ll feel good about yourself and help the natural environment. Second, do try to watch out for rare flowers, where you’re stepping. Even footprints in the wrong place can damage.

Enjoy and just get out there !

Simple Steps to Sustainability 3

Over the summer months, I am attempting to give some really quite easy-to-implement steps that will improve the sustainability of your tourism activities, whether you are a provider, for example of accommodation, or a tourist.

For this third instalment, I’m going to look at :

1. Water

2. Detergents

3. Signage

Water –

By reducing the pressure at which your water travels around your property, you will save money and reduce water consumption. Think about it – you may not be able to limit the length of time guests spend in the shower, but you can reduce the water consumed each time.

Also, install ‘push down’ or PR-activated taps, wherever possible. Such taps bring to an end the problem of taps left running, which waste water.

If you don’t have dual-flush toilet cisterns, install them once feasible. If that can’t be done in the short term, place used 500 ml water bottles in the cistern, with stones in, to reduce the flush volume.

Detergents –

Ecover ecological cleaning products

Ecover ecological cleaning products

‘Ecological’ detergents, such as Ecover, contain fewer or no environmentally damaging phosphates than regular cleaning products. Irish brands include Lilly’s Eco Clean.

These products will certainly cost a little more than regular brands, but simply reduce the quantity employed each time to compensate.

 

 

Signage –

Nice signage made of wood, Poland

Nice signage made of wood, Poland

If you are responsible for erecting tourism information signs, please do consider the material you employ, as well as languages.

Wood, from a sustainably managed source, looks much more attractive than metal and blends into the environment better. Protect it from rain, especially here in Ireland.

Also, here in Ireland, do always use both our national languages – that too will help in the sustainability of Gaeilge.