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Irish Gorge Walking: A Guide
Need inspiration for your next adventure holiday? If you’ve never tried your hand at gorge walking, hopefully this short guide will persuade you that this could be just the pursuit you’ve been searching for!
What is gorge walking?
Anything that involves scrambling through rivers, waterfalls or canyons can be referred to as gorge walking. Gorge walkers often indulge in a spot of abseiling and cliff jumping, especially in locations with waterfalls.
Sometimes referred to as canyoning, gorge walking is an intense and physically demanding hobby not one for the fainthearted. That said, the emphasis of this activity remains on enjoyment and fun, as opposed to physical endurance. It also serves as a popular team building activity, especially when incorporated with orienteering and outdoor survival pursuits.
The best places to go
Gorge walking is popular the world over, although there are some locations which boast natural landscapes that look like they were created for this very purpose.
Ireland definitely occupies a top spot. The plethora of rugged mountains, rivers and natural waterfalls makes it a perfect choice for enthusiastic scramblers of all abilities. Adventure Sports North West are based near Clonmany Inishowen, Co. Donegal, specialising in adventure activities like gorge walking, rock climbing and coasteering.
This is also a great location for exploring the beautiful scenery of North West Ireland, including the spectacular Giant’s Causeway and Clonmany, often described as the epitome of traditional Irish culture.
Where to stay
After a long day of picking your way of across windswept mountains and plunging into icy rivers, nothing beats the feeling of relaxing in front of a crackling log fire as you share thrilling stories of your adventures.
Clonmany is a popular tourism spot and there are a wide selection of hotels, holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts and camp sites, so you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.
How to prepare yourself
When it comes to preparation, it’s worth bearing in mind that gorge walking is not about beating personal bests, or coming in first place. That’s not to say that it’s not physically intense or often gruelling. However, the emphasis is firmly placed on enjoying yourself, so there’s certainly no need to ‘train’ before your first attempt.
As far as specialised equipment goes, you can relax in the knowledge that all of this will be supplied by the activity centre or organiser that you’re using. Usually, all you will be asked to bring along is your own footwear. Ask any gorge walker and they will tell you that as much as they love the activity, spending a lot of time in wet walking boots can be rather uncomfortable. Something like these waterproof boots, from the range of MuckBoots at Uttings Outdoor, are ideal for keeping your feet warm and dry.
So if you think this sounds like the adventure for you, grab a towel (and your enthusiasm) and head for the canyons!