7th, 10th & 11th October 2020 – On a wet and windy Saturday morning, a group of hardy volunteers met outside of Carndonagh for the start of a weekend of mountain skills training with expert trainer Bren Whelan. Our group had already met on the previous Wednesday night when we listened to Inga Bock, Donegal Rural Recreations Officer, provide advice on gaining permission from landowners to enter land. That night, due to Covid restrictions, we sat outside and even when it rained our hardy crew remained to listen to Inga!
At the weekend, Bren took over with the group and provided us with the benefit of his expertise on climbing and managing outdoors in all weathers. This course aimed to provide participants with the skills to manage safely and comfortably out on the hills no matter what the weather brought.
Over the course of the next 2 days we were certainly challenged by the weather but we still learned how to use a map and a compass, take a bearing, interpret a feature and appreciate the landscape we are so lucky to have on our doorstep. We learned about the principles of Leave No Trace, what to pack, when to concentrate and when to chat. We navigated by day and by night and in the pouring rain. It was a full and fulfilling weekend.
During these times of restrictions, it is important for our mental health to get out and about. Travelling along our waterways is a great way to learn more about the landscape we live in and nurture a love of nature.
Many thanks to Bren and Inga for imparting their extensive knowledge and experience, to our funders LAWPRO who supported this training through the Community Water Development Fund 2020 and to all our participants for giving up their time to learn together. Go raibh míle maith agaibh!