Does your walking club have what it takes to become an Irish hillwalking team champion? If so, we are delighted to offer you that chance. The All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship is the ultimate outdoor sports competition contested in the Irish uplands. It is free to enter and is open to all experienced hillwalkers.
For a chance to become a member of your walking club's Sport Hillwalking team, you must compete in the All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships as an individual (click here for participation instructions).
To represent a walking club in the All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship, it must have a complete profile page on The Ireland Walking Guide website. If your club does not currently have a complete profile page, you should contact the relevant member of the club's committee to provide any missing information via our online form.
Find out when the current or upcoming championships are taking place by visiting our sports competition status page. The Sport Hillwalking season is scheduled to start on 1st March and end on 31st October each year.
The following process is used to decide all club team placings in the All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship:
- All submitted Sport Hillwalking Entry Forms are checked as we receive them between 1st February and 30th June.
- Based on the forms we receive, participants are sorted into the clubs they are representing.
- Each club represented by 2 or more of its members qualifies as a team in the All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship.
- Each competitor's overall individual score is tallied in early November (i.e. Rounds 1 - 8 combined).
- The 5 highest individual scores from each club are added together to become that club's official team score. If your club finishes the season in one of the top-3 placings, we will contact the club to confirm that the individuals representing the club are current club members. Failure to confirm this will disqualify the club for that season.
- If a club team has 2 - 4 members, each of the 1 - 3 empty slots equates to an individual score of zero.
- Clubs are placed in order according to their overall team score, from the highest-scoring club to the lowest.
- The highest-scoring club team is the Champion.
- We aim to announce a full set of results across all categories by mid-November.
- The 2023 All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship is scheduled to start on 1st March 2023.
- Click here for participation instructions.
- Results will be announced in November 2023.
|1st||PEAKS MOUNTAINEERING CLUB||2,654 pts||GOLD|
|-||No clubs were sufficiently represented in 2021 to qualify as teams||-||-|
|-||No clubs were sufficiently represented in 2020 to qualify as teams||-||-|
That other "All-Ireland" Hillwalking Clubs "Championship"
(or whatever they are calling it today)
Please note that there is an annual three-day challenge hillwalking festival in east Munster through which the organiser offers his own informal version of an "All-Ireland Hillwalking Club Champions" title. It was purely by chance that we became aware of this other title in 2021 which isn't surprising as it doesn't appear to have been publicised beyond the festival's attendees. The title has been presented each year since 2015 to the walking club whose members collectively attend most days of the walking festival.
In post-event reports published on the festival's official website each year between 2015 and 2020, the title has consistently been referred to as the "[All-Ireland] Club Challenge". Having looked back through the festival's social media posts, the title was first referred to in August 2018 as the "All-Ireland Challenge Hillwalking Club Champions". Since 2019, the festival organiser appears to have dropped the word 'Challenge' from the title when referring to it on social media.
The geographical spread of walks on the festival's programme is limited to just three mountain ranges within the three eastern counties in the province of Munster. There is very little evidence of clubs from outside Munster being represented at the festival. The competition's attendance-based scoring system strongly favours local walking clubs and the organiser can easily identify who the winning club will be when the festival's registration window closes, months before the participants set foot on the hill. It is highly unlikely that a club from the northern half of Ireland could send the required numbers to win. In addition, the festival has limited spaces available and these appear to be snapped up very quickly by past participants. This further reduces the chances for clubs who have not taken part before.
On 9th August 2022, the festivals organiser responded to a comment on Twitter in which the commenter questioned hillwalking's status as a competitive sport and stated that he didn't "get" it (in specific reference to the festival's "club challenge" competition). Here is the festival organiser's response.
"There are no competitions in hillwalking other than the ones going on in the hillwalkers own head. I introduced this challenge to the event 6/7 years ago as I knew there were some progressive clubs with a strong challenge hillwalking members that could rally others to get involved. It's a numbers thing (a point for each day that a walker completes) not a time thing. It's a bit of fun and banter..."
On one hand, the festival organiser publicly refers to the event's club challenge as a "championship" and the winning club as the "champions". Yet, in the Twitter response above, he publicly says "there are no competitions in hillwalking". From the conflicting and inconsistent information being provided by the festival organiser, it is our deduction that he only refers to the club challenge as a championship in a joking way. This deduction is further backed up by a YouTube video which the festival organiser uses to promote his event. This video was uploaded to Mountaineering Ireland's YouTube channel on 11th June 2021. About 18 minutes into the video, he mentions the "All-Ireland Hillwalking Club Championship" while giggling and clearly embarrassed to be referring to it as such. From this, it is very obvious that he regards the festival's attendance-based competition as a bad joke that he would like to undo. Unfortunately, some clubs have fallen for his joke, blinded by a shiny little trophy. For this reason, he is now trapped into running the competition each year.
In the February 2023 edition of a particular hillwalking website's monthly newsletter, it was revealed that a walking club (also set up and run by the festival's organiser) had taken over the running of the festival. One of the club's members had written and submitted an article in the newsletter about the festival which mentions its "All Ireland club competition". This is yet another name for their attendance-based contest further highlighting the inconsistency in how the organisers themselves refer to it. The fact that their competition is only given two consecutive sentences (one ending with a question mark, the other with an exclamation mark) in a 4-page article says a lot about how seriously the organisers are treating it (or maybe the newsletter's editor chose to play it down).
Based on the limited geographical scope of the festival's walks programme and participation catchment, we see little justification for giving formal recognition to the All-Ireland Hillwalking Club Champions title associated with the festival. Regardless of how the festival organiser views his club challenge, there may be enough justification to give it formal recognition if the title was consistently referred to as either the "Club Challenge" (within the context of the festival itself) or the "East Munster Hillwalking Champions" (in its widest possible context). The latter title could even work as a possible template for other walking festivals in Ireland to introduce their own local / regional Sport Hillwalking competitions.
The annual 8-month-long "All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship" managed through the High Point Ireland project is a true All-Ireland Sport Hillwalking competition spread across all 32 counties and 125 upland areas in Ireland (including each of the 31 mountain ranges). All of Ireland's 209 mountain summits and 187 major geographical High Point locations are in play, each of which can be counted up to 4 times during the season. Plus, our competitors can gain valuable bonus points if they complete any of our 25 mountain challenges and 8 High Point challenges (all of which are entirely optional). Due to the fact that our competition is not a mass start event, we are not required to limit the number of participants, thereby giving ALL walking clubs in Ireland a fair and equal chance.
In addition, the size of each team in our official All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship is limited to a maximum of 5 people, so the final placings won't be based on attendance numbers. Again, this gives EVERY walking club in Ireland a fair and equal chance.
Based on our official Championship's wider geographical scope, 8-month duration, greater requirement for all-round hillwalking competency, we see no reason to ever rename our "All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship" to anything else. In addition, our Clubs Championship is part of the broader All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships which also includes the following three competitions:
- All-Ireland Hillwalking Individuals Championship
- All-Ireland Hillwalking Counties Championship
- All-Ireland Hillwalking Provinces Championship
Please note that we are not attempting to discredit this challenge hillwalking festival or its organiser in any way. In fact we would be more than happy to help promote the festival if requested to by the organiser and on the condition that the festival's club competition is appropriately and consistently named in order to avoid unnecessary confusion. The sole purpose of this note is to clarify any confusion between two similarly named, but very different, hillwalking club competitions.