I think over 7,000 sign-up’s in total, and growing, is amazing!
That’s what I came up with when I had a quick look at the Meetup.com Groups relating to hiking and walking within 25 miles of Dublin city (US-based site, kilometers don’t cut it there!).
There seemed to be about twelve Meetup.com groups that focused particularly on hiking and walking, thought there were probably more.
The five biggest seemed to be:
- The Wicklow Hiking & Adventure Group
- The Wicklow Way Meetup
- Lets Walk Lets Hike
- The Dublin Free Hiking Group
- The Dublin Hiking Meetup, which appears to be a commercial undertaking
Groups for every taste and style!
I’m a member of a few but my favourite is The Wicklow Hiking & Adventure Group which was founded by Enda a few years back and continues to go from strength to strength!
We’ve had so many truly great outings and it’s almost a big family at this stage! Just wonderful friendly welcoming people!
Safe to say the group means a lot to many people – thanks to Enda and all his hard work!
The Meetup groups would appear to fulfil a somewhat different role than the many formal hiking and hill-walking clubs throughout Ireland with their overarching body, Mountaineering Ireland.
Clearly the ‘different’ approach is in very strong and increasing demand.
Personally I prefer the somewhat informal, more sociable approach of the Meetup Groups, in that there is no formal ‘leader’ and just one strict rule – making sure to enjoy ones-self!
Every outing would have a good balance of experienced hikers and less experienced people.
One accepts personal responsibility for one’s own welfare, just as one does when crossing the road or taking a walk in the local park or woodland.
As it should be, but be savvy in the mountains! Appropriate gear, stay well within fitness and experience limits, and be aware of changeable conditions.
In other words, use common sense – not at all to be confused with academic acuity!
Yes, I would agree, there can frequently be a mind-blowing shortage of the former.
But I don’t think the bureaucratic impediment and cost of insuring everything to the hilt, with professions raking it in from trying to sue everybody for a king’s ransom when something happens or as in most cases some gormless twit does something stupid, is the answer either. I think it’s a big blight on how we do things here and poses some serious questions.
Re-inventing a square wheel comes to mind – not too uncommon unfortunately!
That sort of silliness drives me nuts. Nanny bananny republic running amuck! Obviously there are other viewpoints but the debate needs to be driven by practical common sense.
Enough ranting! Back to the hiking!
One other thing, the Meetup.com groups seem to have caught on mostly in Dublin and surrounds as one would expect.
Less so outside Dublin and unfortunately only to a minimal extent in rural areas. Regrettable since rural areas are where social infrastructure is most needed and where the hiking and walking mostly takes place – interesting paradox! Lower uptake of the digital movement might be one reason. Hopefully that will correct itself.
So hikers and walkers everywhere, check out one of the Meetup.com hiking and walking groups near you.
And if you do join, make sure to go out with them! One important “Don’t”: putting your name down for a hike and not pitching up, which does happen – albeit not often! Very bad form!
Enda has a brilliant way of handling that – kick them out of the group without further ado! Way to go! Leaves space for the real enthusiasts!
Let me know how it goes!