A report from Unicef in April said that Ireland is the tenth best place in the world to be a child according to a UNICEF league table for child well-being in industrialised countries.
Nowhere was this more in evidence than when a gang of 105 kids and parents took part in the first Whacky and Wonderful Knockmealdown Family Walk!
Organised by the Peaks Mountaineering Club in Clonmel, this walk was put on as a fun way to introduce kids to the great outdoors.
From the little hamlet of Goatenbridge, a fleet of McCarra’s buses took them up to the Vee. After checking out the amazing views the happy hikers skipped along the mountain and forest paths of the Tipperary Heritage Way. Guides from the Peaks Mountaineering Club were with them all the way, led by Bernie Lennon who held them enthralled with his stories.
There were two routes for the kids to choose from Amazing A or Boomtastic B Route.
Amazing A: The Vee to Glenview Lounge, Goatenbridge. Distance 6.7km, ascent 69m, descent 277m.
Boomtastic B: The Vee to the Duckpond (for the smallies) 2.5km.
There was time to find frogspawn and splash in the puddles. In this age of iPads and smartphones it really did show that the best things in life truly are free.
“Maybe today we have sparked something in families who will want to explore more,” said Helen Shanahan, secretary of the Peaks Mountaineering Club. “Maybe they will explore all the looped walks around them (see irishtrails.ie). Maybe they will climb Mount Everest. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is that they are outside, spending time with their families, enjoying the fresh air and the abundance of activities that are on our doorstep in Tipperary.”
Some of the families that took part also spoke about how much they enjoyed hte day.
Louise Fortune thanked the Peaks Club for a fabulous day out. “All the kids really enjoyed the walk and the atmosphere. The views were amazing. There was plenty of help if anyone needed it and everyone was in top form. I couldn’t believe the crowds that turned up its amazing how so many people are into the outdoors and enjoying the fabulous hill walks Ireland has to offer. I was with six different families and we all really, really enjoyed it,” she said
Paula Newman added: “I live in the Vee area but it was a walk I hadn’t done before. There was a great turnout on the morning and it was great to see so many children. My own two boys (eight and 10 years) were very excited by the whole adventure. The trail itself was perfect and a good length to do. All in all a great day out and will definitely be looking forward to the next one!”
All photos taken by Peaks member Maureen Maher