Hill walking and orienteering are activities that are physically and mentally demanding as well as incredibly fulfilling. They can also lead to lifelong participation and keep individuals keep fit throughout their lives. Those keen to learn often acquire a host of new life skills and quickly develop a sense of personal responsibility that can stand them in good stead throughout their lives.
Some local schools and youth organisations engage young people in activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh, John Muir and Presidents Award. Typically, they use the Mourne Mountains for all their training, even if they are based in the Belfast Hills area. Lack of awareness as to what the Belfast Hills has to offer is a barrier to groups using them. Furthermore, many local schools and youth groups do not currently offer any kind of hill walking or outdoor adventure learning experiences.
A basic guide to hill walking, orienteering and survival skills that assumes no previous knowledge or experience would therefore be a great opportunity to introduce local young people to the Belfast Hills. It would also encourage and give confidence to those young people who may not have had any previous opportunities to engage in any upland exploration activities as well as create hills ambassadors for the future.
We aim to:
- Encourage young people to explore and discover the Belfast Hills habitats right on their doorstep.
- Empower young people to gain new skills and knowledge that may contribute to their future employability
- Encourage young people and local communities to value and protect their natural, built heritage and cultural environment.
- Create new audiences and ambassadors for future protection and management of the hills