At NICSSA HQ we love to hear all about the activities that our workplace clubs get up to, just like RCJ Sport and Social Club, who recently organised a hike up the Mourne Mountains!

Gordan Buckley gives us a rundown of all the hiking antics….

‘After two long years of deliberation, the PPS finally managed to get a group together for a ‘taster’ hike in the Mournes on Sunday 11th January. Our NICSSA RCJ Club used to be pretty active with its mountain hikes, having tackled Slieves Binnion and Donard in recent years, but all manner of excuses seemed to bring things to an abrupt halt. But no more – we finally made it happen!

As the day approached, our large group reduced to a smaller but hugely enthusiastic group of walkers, including three four-legged ones. Meeting at Trassey Car Park with a strong icy wind blowing, we were soon on our way to Hare’s Gap chattering and laughing and catching up on what everyone had been up to, something we never seem to get time to do at work. The craic was, as they say, mighty.

On the way we came across the Mountain Rescue team in the course of a mock exercise to recover a ‘casualty’ from the mountain in a stretcher sled. Very impressive skills indeed and truly reassuring to have volunteers such as these doing such vital work.  Breathing heavily on the final ascent to the top of the Gap, I was secretly glad to know there was a defibrillator nearby, should I need to call upon it.

After a quick bite, we headed back down, all but two humans and two dogs who, remarkably, conquered Bernagh, Meelmore and one more peak before dark.

So, four lessons learned:  1.Don’t leave it so long between outings – just put a date in the diary, 2. The mountains are fantastic, 3. The exercise makes you feel good and (for a while) conscience-free, and 4. It is the cheapest form of entertainment out there. So, wrap up warm and make it a late Resolution to get out there and have some fun, all free of charge’ 

Keep your NICSSA stories and photos coming and we will share these on our facebook page and indeed here on our new website.  If you need any advice or support in organising workplace club events or activities please get in touch.