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.
To take part, hillwalkers must participate as individuals in both the All-Ireland Mountain Race and All-Ireland Highpointeering League competitions. Both of these initiatives require participants to visit specified upland locations throughout Ireland, log them using the Peakhunter smartphone app, and register them with us via the online forms hosted on our website.
During the sport hillwalking season, the Mountain Race and Highpointeering League competitions are run as two separate initiatives, each with its own winners. The sport hillwalking season starts on the day of the Spring Equinox in late March and finishes six months later on the Autumn Equinox in late September.
For full details of our club team competitions, please follow the links below.
Every individual hillwalker who takes part in BOTH the Mountain Race AND Highpointeering Leagues (and submits the relevant online forms for each) during the same sport hillwalking season is automatically entered into the All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships for that year. Hillwalkers who only take part in one of the two competitions will not qualify for that year's Individuals Championship but their efforts can still help to boost their club's, county's and province's chances in the team championships.
One walking club will be selected as the All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Champion each year. The selection process is as follows:
- Each walking club can be represented by up to five of its members in the Clubs Race and Clubs League. Clubs not represented in both initiatives will not qualify for that year's championship. Each initiative can have its own specialist sub-team. This means that a club team can comprise up to ten individuals in total if five members represent it in the Clubs Race and a different five represent it in the Clubs League.
- The top ten walking clubs represented in BOTH the Clubs Race AND Clubs League during the same year will be shortlisted. They will be ranked from 10 to 1 in each of the two competitions based on their overall places (10 being the highest placing and 1 being the lowest placing among the shortlisted ten).
- Each shortlisted club's final score will be the sum of its two rankings.
- The club with the highest final score will be announced as the Champion for that year.
- In the event of a draw, the Champion will be the club whose team members counted most Peakhunter logs towards that year's Clubs Race and Clubs League combined.
- If there is still a draw for first place, the Champion will be the club whose Peakhunter logs for that year's Clubs Race and Clubs League were all recorded within the shortest time period.
- The 2021 All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship was scheduled to start on 20th March but has been postponed due to the travel restrictions which are in place to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
- Click here to find out how you can take part.
- Result will be announced in October 2021.
- CHAMPION - No clubs qualified
The All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship
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. It is highly unlikely that a club from the northern half of Ireland could send the required numbers to win.
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. We would, however, see enough justification to give it formal recognition if the title were renamed 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 works as a possible template for other walking festival's in Ireland to introduce their own local / regional hillwalking sports competitions.
The annual six-month-long "All-Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Championship" managed through the High Point Ireland project is a true All-Ireland hillwalking sports competition spread across all 32 counties. It features 187 major geographical High Point locations and 24 timed single-day mountain challenges (including at least 3 challenges in each of the 4 provinces). It also features 190 of Ireland's 221 mountain summits. All-Ireland hillwalking sports competitions don't come any bigger or fairer than this!
In addition, the size of each team in our clubs championship is limited to a maximum of 10 people (5 Highpointeers and 5 mountain race participants) so the winner won't be based on attendance numbers. This gives every walking club in Ireland an equal chance.
Based on our competition's wider geographical scope, six-month duration, greater requirement for all-round hillwalking competency, and its consistent title, 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 the 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 renamed 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.