New hiking club getting going step by step . . .

By Maurice Garvey

BALLYFERMOT is set to see the beginning of a new hiking club, after an idea proposed by an active young resident, was swamped with positive responses.

Dean Rogers (23), a Cloverhill Road resident, previously worked in the Avon Adventure Centre in Wicklow, and decided to see if any local people would be interested in joining him for a hike via a social media post.

Dean Rogers compressor

Dean Rodgers.

 The proposal over the New Year hit the mark, and the first hike is set to take place this weekend in Glendalough.

“I was suprised at the response, I just put it up as an idea, but I have worked in that area previously and thought it might be something people would like to do,” said Dean.

“As an instructor in the outdoor park at Avon, I was doing rock climbing, kayaking and team building. I would go out myself for a hike on a weekly basis, and others in work asked can they join me.

“I thought I might start something up in Ballyfermot

– loads wouldn’t know where to go, but I know Wicklow like the back of my hand. It is great to get the community together and it is good for mental health.”

The fledgling Ballyfermot Hiking Club now has its own Facebook page, set up by Dean this week, and there is potential for the venture to grow, albeit step by step.

Dean continued: “The plan at the moment is one hike a week. The Glendalough loop will let me see where people are at. It is easy enough, even if raining. Possibly, we will make two different groups based on abilities.

The group for now is just for adults, but when we get everything set up, I will try to do something for under-18s.

“It is a 9km walk and for a quite fit person would take one-and-a-half hours, but I am going for three hours, which will include a break and a bite to eat on top of the hill.”

Another resident has offered the possibility of using a mini-van for future excursions, while Dean hopes if they can establish a core group, they may be able to apply for grants.

“If we get a core group, membership to Mountaineering Ireland is €35 per person per year, and that means you are fully insured under them.

New clubs are entitled to grants and members can get 10 to 15 per cent discounts at hiking shops.”

Dean has made a basic list of hiking items on the Facebook page for people to check before they head out.

This includes not wearing jeans or steel-toed boots and bringing some food and water.

“If you have no hiking trousers, wear tracksuit bottoms and if you have no boots, wear runners.

Bring a change of socks/clothes, and bring a rain jacket,” he said.

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