The cold doesn’t stop me from going on long walks on the beach - it’s my head-clearer, my brain cleanser, so to speak - so we asked Gym + Coffee for some of their top tips for hiking in Ireland so that you can get there and get that blood pumping… Wrapped up warm in your gear, of course.
Why Hiking Is Good For Your Skin
Cardio and any exercise is fantastic for your skin. Increased blood circulation means that your skin is getting nutrients and oxygen faster, because your blood is the delivery system. Exercise speeds up the delivery, like if your Deliveroo is coming on a motorbike versus a push bike.
What To Be Careful Of
Going from very cold temperatures to very warm temperatures is not great for your skin at all, at all. The extreme rises and drops can lead to skin dehydration and flushing - so you’ll be all red, flaky and your lines may be more noticeable. We’re never keen on that
Combat this by keeping your scarf up as high as you can and your hat down over your forehead and ears, and try not to BLAST the in-car heating when you’re heading home after a long trek!
Gym+Coffee’s Top Tips For Hiking In Ireland
Gym+Coffee are Ireland’s own athleisure brand, founded by three hoomans who wanted to create comfy, high-quality and cool workout gear for the type of person who prefers an early hike to a late pub night, who follows their gym session with a coffee. Do you get the name now?!
This year, they won the IMAGE X Samsung The Pitch competition and their range of hoodies, tops, leggings, beanies and merch can always be spotted at Glendalough!
We asked their team of hike-lovers to give us their best tips so that come January, you’re ready to “new decade, new you” all over the shop.
Where are some of your fave hiking spots?
We are definitely a little bit biased here and we absolutely love our annual pilgrimage to Sugarloaf Mountain in Co. Wicklow. We’ve been coming here to celebrate our birthday milestones each year and we’re really looking forward to going back this January for our 3rd Birthday celebrations! The hike itself is a bit rocky and scrambly in places but all-in-all it’s a pleasant trek!
If you’re looking to tackle a bit more of a monster, we loved climbing Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains this year on our second Adventure Weekend. It’s Northern Ireland’s highest peak so it’s definitely one to once you’ve got a bit of knowledge behind you (or a good guide!). The hike is tough and the weather can change pretty quickly, but the views are spectacular and the sense of achievement is truly worth it!
There’s loads more (we could honestly spend all day) but if you’re keen to see a few more of our top spots, check out our Make Life Richer Map for some suggestions - we’ve highlighted 11 different regions in Ireland with 2 activities and an awesome cafe to visit while you’re getting to know our island!
Where are the best spots to get a coffee or a cheeky cake after your hike in these destinations?
We loved our pit stop at Railway Street Cafe after our Mourne Mountains (County Down) excursion (make sure you add a chocolate brownie to your coffee order while you’re there) and we’ve had the pleasure of sampling some awesome cafes along our travels. For a few more of our favourites, definitely check out the Make Life RIcher Map or our Blog!
What are the best trekking spots for getting public transport to?
Our HQ is in Dublin so one of the loveliest options is definitely the Bray to Greystones cliff walk in Wicklow. It’s a brilliant (and not too hilly!) trek and you can get the DART there and back again. Give yourself around 2 hours to complete the walk and then tack on at least another hour to enjoy the food, hospitality and beauty that is The Happy Pear! If you’re closer to the northside, the Howth Cliff Walk is another super accessible option and the Wicklow Way + Ticknock in the Dublin Mountains are all definitely hikable without a car!
If someone is just getting started, what gear do they need?
This really depends on how serious you want to get into your hiking! If you’ve never done any kind of hiking, trekking or hill walking then we definitely suggest having a chat to a professional or getting on board with an organised hike. A community like Galz Gone Wild is a great way to ease yourself into hiking, safe in the knowledge that you’re backed by experienced hikers!
That said, having good hiking boots, warm layers, a durable jacket that will keep the wind and rain out and always bringing plenty of water and snacks with you is a great start! We’d definitely always check weather conditions before we go anywhere too - Ireland weather can be so changeable and if you’re not careful, you can get caught out.
The Gym+Coffee Community at the Mourne Mountains
What is your mission to “Make Life Richer” about?
For us, it’s all about facilitating awesome things to do, with an incredible crew of people and creating quality gear to do all of those things in! We believe in encouraging our community to get out there and experience things, socialise around exercise and we hope we’re helping to break down some of the barriers to involvement.
And Make Life Richer really is all about getting involved - whether you’re starting something new, going back to something you used to do or trying to improve on your current activities. In our experience, these things are made so much richer when you’re out there doing them with a community of supportive, motivated, generally awesome folks!
You’ve done a big long hike and now your feet are achy - what do you do?!
Put those feet UP! Our favourite things to do is set aside some time for a bit of feet-up banter with the crew after an awesome day out. There’s nothing better than supping on a piping hot cuppa after a day spent out in the wild - when you’re absolutely bone-tired but in the best way possible!
Obviously, if it’s more than just a bit of hiking foot-ache, then get thee to doctor, STAT!
Looking after your skin post-hike
After a hike, your skin is usually perhaps mildly stripped of its oils, feeling a bit redder and more tender so what it needs is soothing and hydration.
What you’re looking for is a product with fatty and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Often, you’ll find these in thicker moisturisers, night creams and masks.
When it comes to soothing masks, there are tonnes of options:
Don’t forget to bring a hand cream - your hands have skin too but we often forget! If your hands are still peely and tender post-hike, use gloves to occlude (lock) the hand cream onto your hands for increased moisture - but set time aside, you don’t want to be unable to go to the bathroom due to your glovehands. Don’t learn that lesson the hard way…
*The fabulous hiking images featured are courtesy of the talented Gym+Coffee gang - we'll get one of Team Nerd hiking in 2020*