Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team (DWMRT) responded to eight separate incidents in two weeks at the end of January as snow blanketed the Wicklow Mountains.
The volunteer rescue team handled a total of 14 incidents in the first two months of the year. The latest call-out occurred on February 17 when they helped treat and stretcher a walker on the Sugarloaf mountain who sustained a lower leg injury.
“On average, the first two months of this year have been in line with the trend of the last few years,” said DWMRT public relations officer, said John Kavanagh.
When temperatures plunged at the end of January last month, some areas became impassable due to sheet ice and snow. The DWMRT were prompted warn members of the public against “snow tourism” as several people were forced to abandon vehicles on the Sally Gap and the Old Military Road.
“Thankfully, the majority of people did heed recent warnings about winter conditions on the Sally Gap. Unfortunately, some people did not heed the warnings.”
We'e just heard from the @WicklowUplands Council about the dangers of a recent phenomenon of 'Snow Tourism' which is seeing cars, families and services being put in dangerous situations as weather conditions continue to be unpredictable. Dont put yourself or others in danger.
— WicklowThisWeek (@WicklowThisWeek) February 2, 2019
DWMRT, a charity which was founded in 1984, is partly funded by the government, but it also relies on donations and fundraising efforts. “The team is very grateful for the support it receives,” says Kavanagh. The service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, covering the breath of the Wicklow Mountains and assisting teams in other regions when requested.
Kavanagh adds that the group is currently raising funds to build a rescue base which will mean that, “for the first time its 35 year history, the team will have a home of its own.”
DWMRT’s next fundraising event, Walk the Line, is set to occur on Saturday, March 30th. The annual walk will see members of the Rescue Team guide members of the public on two trails at the GlenCullen Adventure Park. Registration is €15 per person, with a fundraising target of €75 per team.
Planning to visit the Wicklow Mountains?
The Wicklow Mountains are a fantastic resource, with great opportunities for outdoor recreation. In the main, such activities are very safe, but there are ways to reduce any associated risk.
- Before you go, plan your activity; check the weather forecast, and know what time it’ll get dark. If you expect to be out near the hours of darkness, carry a torch and spare batteries.
- Plan for, and carry equipment to deal with, unexpected delays – extra clothing and a survival bag will help if you have to stop for a while.
- Bring adequate food and water for your activity, and maybe some extra in case of delays.
- Know your route and plan some escape routes in case things go wrong.
- Tell somebody where you are going and what time to expect you back; don’t forget to tell them when you’re safely home!
- Always carry a charged mobile phone, but don’t use it for navigation. A paper map and compass, and the skills to use them, are essential for navigation.
- Consider attending training such as Mountaineering Ireland’s Mountain Skills programme.
- Carry a first aid kit. It’s best to attend some first aid training too.
- Should you find yourself inn need of help, call 999 or 112, ask for the Gardaí, and tell them you need mountain rescue.