We have developed the widest possible selection of meaningful initiatives to promote recreational walking in Ireland. These are detailed across The Ireland Walking Guide and High Point Ireland websites and range from monthly walking themes right through to the official All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships. We aim to deliver a consistent programme of initiatives every year on a recurring basis rather than a series of standalone one-off campaigns. Our "predictable" approach to participation initiatives means walkers always know what's coming up and have ample time to prepare and plan ahead. But why should you take part? Keep reading to find out more...
Improve your health & fitness
A regular walking habit is one of the most accessible and affordable ways to develop and maintain a healthy body and mind. This is a long-established and well-proven fact. Over time, a regular walking routine will help tone your body, build muscle, strengthen your heart and improve your breathing. We have initiatives to suit walkers of all levels of fitness and experience.
Walking also gives you opportunities to escape for a while from the stresses of everyday life. This can be just as important as the physical benefits of a walk. Investing in some quality "me time" in the outdoors as often as possible, preferably without the distractions of modern technology, does wonders for our mental health and well-being. Longer walks give us time to have a good old think about things and can often provide the headspace we need to find solutions to problems. Walks can also be times for letting our minds wander and come up with new ideas.
Save your money
Our initiatives offer participants maximum flexibility in terms of the whats, the whens and the wheres. In fact, many of Ireland's recreational walkers can easily get involved without making any adjustments at all to their normal walking routines or upcoming plans. This flexibility takes away the need for us to plan and host dedicated events on specific dates at specific locations. In addition, we do not force branded memorabilia upon our participants. In these days of environmental awareness, we'd rather not add to the demands on our planet's resources or clutter people's homes by issuing unnecessary items like medals, trophies, hats, buffs, etc. Instead, we offer PDF certificates and digital badges. This flexible and eco-friendly approach allows us to keep the running costs of our initiatives close to zero, thereby sparing participants from hefty registration fees. That's your first few 10s of euros / pounds saved right there.
For the majority of our initiatives, walkers are not required to travel the length or breadth of Ireland to take part. Even for the official All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships, participants can make a name for themselves without having to leave their home province. We recommend a combination of mostly local walks (say within a 100km radius from home) plus an occasional walking itinerary further afield. This could be, for example, a dedicated walk-focused long weekend away or part of a broader-scope full-length holiday. This will help to minimise your walk-specific travel costs.
Although this section focuses on the ways you can save money, we do encourage you to support businesses in the areas you visit. Show your appreciation for the host community by spending some money while you're there (e.g. make use of local accommodation, eat out, stock up on supplies, refuel your vehicle, etc).
Set your own schedule
Our flexible initiatives give walkers the freedom to choose when and where to take part. Each initiative has a specified time period ranging from Sport Hillwalking Day and the seven-day-long Mountains & High Points Week to 'life-long' High Point list challenges and mountain list challenges. Our series of 12 monthly themes have been designed to encourage a more diverse and richer walking experience throughout the year. For advanced hillwalkers and mountaineers, our annual eight-month-long Sport Hillwalking season starts on 1st March and ends on 31st October - the All-Ireland individual and club / county / province team champions are all announced in November.
Protect the environment
In these days of heightened environmental awareness, we have been keen to develop meaningful walking initiatives which are in keeping with the world around us. For this reason, we do not host our own set-date geographically-focused events which could attract large numbers of people into environmentally-sensitive areas. This approach allows us to avoid all of the negative issues which could potentially arise from a mass start event or gathering. The flexible nature of our initiatives dilutes participant footfall across the whole of Ireland rather than concentrating it within specific locations. This takes away the need for dozens, or even hundreds, of walkers travelling separately from all over Ireland to congregate at a single gathering point, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint of our activity. In addition, we only acknowledge achievements in our initiatives by way of PDF certificates and digital badges. This takes away any need to put on an awards presentation ceremony to which 50+ individuals might otherwise travel separately. Materials wastage is another big concern these days. We avoid this completely by not issuing medals, trophies, t-shirts, buffs or any other marketing "memorabilia". This reduces the demands on our planet's resources and saves our homes from unnecessary clutter. It also takes away the need for us to charge participation fees.
Support good causes
Walkers have been using our initiatives as charity fundraisers since 2016. During that time, tens of thousands of pounds / euros have been raised for good causes. Charities are very welcome to promote our initiatives as ready-made, flexible, eco-friendly fundraising ideas for their own followers to get involved in. These can be listed on their websites as 'any-time' challenges alongside their own set-date ones. We don't charge any registration fees for our initiatives, so all money raised by participants goes directly to the charities. No money passes through us. The flexible and recurring nature of our initiatives makes them the ideal choice for charities wishing to maximise their income with minimum effort on their part. This also makes them the perfect solution for charity walkers who cannot commit to set-date events. Walkers are free to support any charity they choose. A growing list of charities can be found in our Community section.
Compete with others
Our All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships are the official Irish national-level Sport Hillwalking competitions. These have been designed to be as flexible, fair and environmentally friendly as possible while minimising the participation costs. There are no entry fees and walkers are free to choose when and where to take part. The Irish Sport Hillwalking season lasts for eight months starting on 1st March and ending on 31st October, giving walkers plenty of time to participate. While taking part as individuals, walkers are given the opportunity to represent their club, county and province in our team categories. At the end of the season, the top 3 placings are announced for all categories in the All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships. Our competitions give all experienced Irish hillwalkers a unique opportunity to gain official recognition as real All-Ireland sports champions.