News 2012

Title: Helping the Hills - initial report
Date: 14/09/2012
Helping the Hills - initial report

14 September 2012

Mountaineering Ireland hosted the conference, Helping the Hills, on Thursday 13th and Friday 14th September in Glendalough Hotel, Co. Wicklow.

The objectives of Helping the Hills were:

  • To capture learnings from those already undertaking footpath management;
  • To raise awareness of the challenges facing the mountain environment;
  • To critically assess what we are doing and emphasise the need for skills and ongoing investment;
  • To demonstrate the spectrum of interventions for managing upland path erosion;
  • To establish a set of principles to underpin upland pathwork in Ireland.

Helping the Hills was officially opened by Jimmy Deenihan, TD and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaelteacht. Alex Atwood, MLA and Minister for the Environment, Northern Ireland was due to jointly open the conference but had to send his apologies.

Contributing to the conference were speakers (in order of appearance):

  • Dawson Stelfox, MI board member
  • Dr. Caro-Lynne Ferris, Director of Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland and Heritage Council member;
  • Elfyn Jones, British Mountaineering Council Access & Conservation Officer and former Property Manager with the National Trust;
  • Bill Murphy, Head of Recreation with Coillte;
  • Fran Pothecary, Outdoor Access Officer, Cairngorms National Park;
  • Wesley Atkinson, Regional Manager, National Parks and Wildlife Service;
  • Robert Grandon, Chairperson, Mountain Meitheal;
  • Matthew Bushby, Countryside Services Manager, Mourne Heritage Trust;

Mountaineering Ireland would also like to thank;

  • Event sponsors: Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Dept of Environment (Rural Recreation Section), Heritage Council, Failte Ireland
  • All participants who contributed hugely to the event;
  • All the above mentioned speakers;
  • Mountain Meitheal
  • Wicklow Mountains National Park
  • Workshop facilitators:
    • Doug Corrie, National Trails Office;
    • Dr Mary Tubridy, Independent Ecological Consultant and Irish Uplands Forum;
    • Pat Mellon, Rural Recreation Officer, Co. Wicklow;
    • Helen Lawless, Hillwalking, Access & Conservation Officer, Mountaineering Ireland;
  • Workshop reporters:
  • Site-Visit Leaders:
    • Cara Doyle, Wicklow Uplands Council;
    • Pat Dunne, landowner;
    • Bill Murphy, Coillte;
    • Jesper Petersen, Coillte;
    • Ciara O'Mahony, Wicklow Mountains National Park;
    • Stewart McGrane, retired leader of pathworks team;
    • Mairead Kennedy, representative of MI on Wicklow Mountains National Park Council;
    • Hugh McLindon, National Parks and Wildlife Service;
    • Wesley Atkinson, National Parks and Wildlife Service;
    • Shay Walsh, Mountain Meithael;
  • Site-Visit Reporters:
  • Technical contributors:
    • Daithí de Forge, Coillte;
    • Richard Fox, Fix the Fells;
    • Chris Goodman, John Muir Trust;
    • Richard Ball, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority
  • Landowners who facilitated site-assessments:
    • Pat Dunne, private landowner in Glenmalure;
    • Coillte;
    • Wicklow Mountains National Park;
  • Guest speaker,
    • Dermot Somers, writer, broadcaster and climber
  • Website design and development:
    • Mairead Kennedy
  • Literature deisgn;
    • Brenda Corr, Copse Design
  • Eugene Finnegan, Bus Hire ;
  • Paul O'Connell;
  • Glendalough Hotel;
  • Gareth Byrne Photography.

The board of Mountaineering Ireland would like to thank all the staff of MI, especially Helen Lawless, who did a fantastic job co-ordinating and making the conference such a success.

A more detailed report of the conference, including the entire conference transcript and the 'Way Forward', will be available shortly.

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