Monday, July 8, 2019

Castlebar 4 days Walking Festival 2019

Steve EI5DD, and Tom EI2GP, assisted with the communications for the 30 km rambles during the Castlbar International 4 Days walking Festival from the 4th to the 7th of July. We have been assisting with this event since 1992. There were over 260 international ramblers participating. There were twice that number participating in the Road Walks but we were not involved in that section.

The Marshals Organisers and Medical personnel were issued with PMR 446 radio equipment. The PMR 446 radio equipment allowed the Marshals, Walk Leaders, Medical and First Aid personnel to communicate with each other throughout the 30 Km Rambles over boggy terrain and in the hills. Steve, EI5DD, "Ground Control", was also in touch via the same system and also with Tom EI2GP who was using 2 metre Equipment which had wider coverage to the ground station. It was via the 2 metre system that any additional assistance could be summoned as this would be free of any other traffic. 

There were four different routes:

Day 1 - Letterkeen Loop
Day 2 - Achill Island 
Day 3 - Mulranny
Day 4 - A Scenic "Roady" walk through the Castlbar Countryside

As can be seen, the weather conditions were variable but never severe and any rain was only a light and misty. The conditions for walking were perfect and it was not too hot. There were many different walking terrains making it an interesting walk and provided many challenges walking across bog and hill. .

The APRS map of the 4 days is shown below. The Letterkeen Loop did not show up too well as it was situated well behind hills and out of range of almost everything. Our Communications worked well but there was a contingency plan if additional help were required.

The map below shows the entire travels of EI5DD for the 4 days plus travel to and from the event.

In conclusion, the event was very enjoyable from both our perspective and that of the walkers. Our radio equipment functioned perfectly. The Marshals, First Aid and Medical personnel learned radio procedure very quickly and were really proficient throughout the event. They would put some radio amateurs to shame! The liaison between the two systems was excellent and all equipment worked perfectly. We always try to introduce something new to events in which we participate but this particular event cannot be improved beyond its current format.