Many of us outdoors people like to keep records of the animal and fish species we have encountered, caught or seen during our time in the outdoors. To keep those records we use spreadsheets, databases, dedicated apps and, perhaps, a pen and paper if you’re a little old-timey chap. As it turns out, there is a website that can not only help you record and explore your sightings but also include your data in the national dataset that is used by scientists. This website is operated by The National Biodiversity Data Centre and, in this episode of the podcast, our guest is their Citizen Science Officer, Dave Wall.
In this episode, once again, we return to the subject of cycling. Our guest, Fiola Foley, has a great deal of experience when it comes to all aspects of cycling and the outdoors. In her outstanding career, Fiola has been a pro athlete, worked as a race organizer and spent time working for BMC Switzerland, a world-leading performance cycling brand. Currently, she is the Communications and PR manager for Komoot, an outdoors app.
During the podcast, we talk about bicycle manufacturing and what happens to the bicycle at the end of its life. We discuss land access issues and the availability of mountain bike trails in Ireland. We talk about racing up and down Ireland’s highest mountain peak, Carrauntoohil. We also mention the importance of Recreation Officers in county councils. (Listen to episode 22 where I talk to Brian Fennell, one of the few Recreation Officers in Ireland.) Obviously, we also discuss Komoot and how it can help us experience the outdoors.
My guest today, Bryan Fennell, is the Rural Recreation Officer for County Wicklow Partnership. He loves the adventures, and works to promote activities, in the wilds of Co. Wicklow. In this episode we talk about opportunities to experience the great outdoors in County Wicklow. Of course, I had to touch on the subject of the natural environment and the need to protect it. We also talk about deer stalking in the Wicklow Mountains and, on a separate note, the sometimes difficult relationship between sportsmen and ecologists.
Taking on outdoor activities alone can offer a unique experience. Being able to focus on fishing, hunting, cycling or trail running without distractions provides an opportunity to enter a meditative state of mind and deeply connect with nature For that reason, many sportsmen prefer to spend time outdoors in solitude. But before you go out to hunt in the woods or fly fish from the rocks, all by yourself, you should take some basic safety precautions.
My friends and I spend countless hours in the outdoors, doing our thing, on our own. That often resulted in some hairy situations. This allowed us not only to better understand the dangers, but also to develop some basic practices. They could lower the risk or save our lives if things were to go sideways. In this short article, I would like to discuss some of those practices.
Whenever you are cycling, running or swimming, there is a wide variety of GPS-enabled electronic devices at your disposal. These days, most of them can connect to your phone and transmit your location. Some of them even offer functions like crash-detection or fall-detection. In theory, they will trigger a notification to the phone number of your choice, about the emergency that has likely just occurred.
It might be a good idea to use this this type of technology. However, I would advise you to keep in mind a few things. These are usually simple consumer electronic devices, so they are not built or tested to be trusted with your life. They should be considered as bonus gizmos and not as the primary means of ensuring your safety. You will quickly find evidence of that while examining the user’s manuals. Nothing beats the old and still best method: tell someone trustworthy, a family member or a true friend, where you are going and what time you intend to come back. Make sure to inform them if you decide to change your plans. You can also agree up-front to an action they should take in case you do not make contact by the agreed time. Trust is a key factor here.
Another good practice is to wear a bracelet or a tag with your name, blood type and emergency contact number. This simple item might be invaluable, in the event that something bad happens to you while you are with your friends. The likelihood that they will know your blood type is slim. Remember that having an ID with you is not the same. Reaching into your pockets might not be your friend’s first instinct while dealing with a likely stressful situation. Also, make sure that the information is well protected from the elements, eg. engraved or written with a waterproof pen.
I hope these simple tips will make you think about safety. I also hope you will never be in the situation that someone will have to make use of your tag or trigger an emergency procedure. Stay safe and I will see you in the outdoors!
In this episode, I visited sunny Waterford to meet Bernadette Phillips, sociologist, motivational speaker, radio broadcaster and the founder of New Insights For Change, to talk about Waterford Greenway. As it turned out, the greenway was only a background to a great conversation about the profound importance of the outdoors and connecting with nature.
In this episode of the podcast my guest is Susan Baughman, walking and photography guide, author, speaker and blogger. We are discussing beauty of County Kerry and some activities one can enjoy while staying in the area. After listening to the podcast, go and visit Susan’s blog at http://www.todayinireland.com