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Easter weekend

'Make sure you have the proper footwear': Advice to weekend hillwalkers amid unsettled outlook

Families are asked to pay special heed to young children during demanding hikes.

HIKERS AND HILLWALKERS are being urged to take care this Easter bank holiday, amid an unsettled outlook. 

It’s an early Easter this year and there are unsettled conditions expected across the weekend, particularly on Sunday. 

Gerry Christie from Kerry Mountain Rescue is anticipating a rise in hill-walking this bank holiday weekend. 

The rescue volunteer encouraged people to enjoy their leisure time over Easter but to take precautions where needed. 

“Always check the weather forecast first – if it says ice, consider doing it another day if you’re a novice. Winter conditions are three times as tough to navigate,” he told The Journal

Christie has been involved in numerous rescues across Kerry, including on the country’s highest peak of Carrauntoohil. Many people climbing the mountain struggle to navigate their descent, he said. 

At 1,041 metres, the peak is scaled by up to 25,000 people annually. 

Christie explained that people naturally relax after reaching the summit and are less judicious on the second leg of their journey.

He also reinforced safety in numbers. Christie recently assisted a man who got lost trekking up the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks after his companion went back down. 

“Adventure hobbies have changed – some people want the Instagram photo rather than a lifetime hobby, which is fine. Just make sure you have the proper footwear and a waterproof or windproof layer to keep you going.”

Families with young children are also asked to pack plenty of snacks for sustenance, especially on challenging hikes. 

“Another potential issue is the clocks going forward – It’ll be bright till 8pm soon but people sometimes will underestimate the level of daylight. In winter, leaving at midday won’t give you enough time to do the climb in brightness.” 

Anyone experiencing difficulty while climbing should ring either 999 or 112 to ask Mountain Rescue for assistance. 

Health warning 

Meanwhile, the HSE has warned people to anticipate longer waiting times at hospitals this weekend. 

People are asked to avoid emergency departments where possible and instead seek care from GPs, community pharmacies and injury units.

The HSE has assured the public it has procedures in place to support a high influx of patients presenting at emergency departments this weekend.

“Our hospitals continue to be extremely busy. Our emergency departments in particular continue to see significantly increased numbers of patients attending and being admitted. We continue to work hard across our hospital and community services to minimise the length of time patients wait to be treated, particularly those aged over 75,”  HSE’s National Director of Acute Operations Grace Rothwell said. 

All patients who arrive at emergency departments will be treated but priority will be given to those with more urgent complaints.  

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