With the kids back at school, there’s no better time to stretch the legs after dropping them to school in the morning than to get out for a brisk walk to begin the day.
Ok, maybe that’s not possible for those of us who have the job to distract us from getting out and about, but the bottom line is that the days aren’t going to get longer in the coming months, so it’s better for all of us if we get out for a walk every day, morning or evening, while the daylight allows.
Sligo has a lot of variety between sea, mountain, forest and lakeside walks, many of which have dedicated paths and good terrain so even if the rain has dampened the countryside, a good pair of boots and a waterproof jacket will be more than enough to get out and enjoy most of them no matter the weather.
SligoWalks.ie is delighted to announce that four new walks are being developed by Sligo County Council, adding even more to the array of beautiful and varied walks available around the county. Walks in Tubbercurry, Ballymote, at Knocknashee and at Cairns Hill have recently been developed or enhanced and details of these are currently being finalized and will soon be uploaded to the SligoWalks.ie website.
These walks will also be included in the new Sligo Walking Guide – unavoidably delayed for a few weeks, unfortunately – and local artist Annie West has also been busy designing beautifully detailed illustrated maps bearing her unique style, and these will be available free at various locations around Sligo for you to pick up before heading out.
There are a few things to bear in mind when planning your next walk, in particular along routes where you may expect to meet few people around this time of year. The first is always to let someone know where you are going, and what time you expect to be back.
Bring your fully charged mobile phone with you with any apps or settings that might draw on your battery power even when your phone in passive mode deactivated.
If you are new to walking, start slowly. Pick a route that doesn’t have many inclines, and don’t push too hard. Around 4km per hour is fine to start, once your fitness levels improve, you can push on, and also tackle more strenuous routes.
Bring a small backpack with you with some water – in a keep cup rather than single use plastic, a small snack like an apple and an oat bar and room to put an extra layer in if needed. Whatever food and drink you bring make sure you adhere to the Leave No Trace policy by bringing it all home with you afterwards and disposing of it correctly.
The secret to walking comfortably is to wear several light layers, and any waterproof materials like jacket or trousers should be breathable. You can add or discard layers as you go, depending on how warn you become, hence the added benefit of having a backpack.
If you decide to buy a pair of hiking boots, you should also consider that it will take some time to break these in, so wear warm and comfortable socks, and bring an extra pair for changing back into when you get back to the car. A hat and gloves should also be part of your walking kit as the weather gets colder.
Short walks around Sligo that will suit a beginner include Hazelwood, Ben Bulben Forest Walk, Rinroe, Mullaghmore, Aughris and Duneil and you’ll find plenty of other examples on SligoWalks.ie . The walks are all graded on the website, where you’ll find other information like distance and expected walking duration as well as maps and other useful resources, tips and guidelines.