Abseiling in Cork

Descend down a 100ft with the Wild Atlantic Ocean crashing below.

Of all the abseiling locations where a complete beginner can challenge their fear of heights, I think it’s fair to say that we have one of the best.

for more on abseiling in Cork visit www.willandaway.ie

Abseiling at Robert's Cove

Abseiling at Robert’s Cove

Rock Climbing in Cork

Well the answer is yes! There is some great places to rock climb in Cork. Most of the locations are an adventure in themselves to get to, but there really is some excellent quality sea cliff routes for every level of climber.

I myself am a native of Cork and have climbed extensively all over the world. I first got into climbing while living on Ireland’s West coast and it took me a few years before I discovered what’s on offer in Cork. A lot of the locations are somewhat secretive but are well worth a trip, especially if you want to escape from the city and immerse yourself in nature for a while.

If you’d like to find out more check out about our rock climbing and abseiling courses on www.willandaway.ie

On the walk to climbing with Will and Away at Robert's Cove

On the walk to climbing with Will and Away at Robert’s Cove


Climb Carrauntoohil on our Mountain Quest

There’s no better way to explore Carrauntoohil than to pack up an expedition bag with all the necessary kit for a night out on the mountain, get some friends together and set off under foot for the adventure of a lifetime. Adventure expeditions in the mountains of Ireland are something that many of us fail to think of when planning our next activity break. With some really remote areas to be found a midst spectacular settings there’s a mountain style expedition for people of all abilities Whether your a sports team looking for a really tough challenge like our mountain quest,  or a family, group of tourists, or youth group who’d prefer something a little easier along one of Ireland many mountainous waymarked ways. Will and Away tailor make adventure expeditions to suit everyone.However, If your looking to climb Carrauntoohil in a way that you’ll never forget, then you have to check out our mountain quest.

Heading towards Carrauntoohill in the Hags Glen, kerry

Heading towards Carrauntoohill in the Hags Glen, kerry

Stranded on a Remote Island… Could you Survive?

I’d rather be trying to live off the land close to the sea more than anywhere else, especially if I were to find myself in a survival situation.
One of the reasons why much of the remains left behind by our ancient hunter gatherer ancestors are found today along coastlines and esturaries, is that survival for hunter gatherers was far easier by the coast due to the greater amount of resources available. Typically, where the land meets the sea we will find the best of both worlds. In an ideal situation, I’d be hoping to be stranded in an area by the coast that had access to fresh drinking water, preferably by an estuary and with easy access to grassland and mature ancient woodland. As we all know, if you get landed in a survival situation you’ll just have to make do with what’s available.

In Ireland there’s hundreds of kilometres of spectacular coastline waiting for you to discover. If you’d like to discover more about surviving by the sea, why not try out one of our “Seaside Survival Walks“.

If you learn the skills and gain the knowledge required to survive and live off the land along the Irish Coastline, then I’d fancy your chances of surviving being stranded on a remote Island.

The nicer side of seaside survival

The nicer side of seaside survival

Tailor Made Adventures for You

The best outdoor activity sessions are the ones which are tailored to suit the client group, as opposed to being tailored to suit the busy schedule of the adventure centre.

Normally, adventure experiences are provided in a way which accomodates quantity, as opposed to quality. In Ireland, outdoor activity providers tend to focus on how many different activities they can offer you over the course of a day. In many ways this is not a good thing, because nobody really gets the chance to truly experience an activity with everything being too rushed. In the outdoor industry, these rushed activity sessions are sometimes called “Splash and Dash” activities.

What Will and Away strives to do, is to encourage people to experience far more fulfilling outdoor activities by combing our expertise and knowledge with our clients desires.
We can give you whatever your looking for, whether that’s a half day of family fun activity with 3 activities built in, or a 7 day bushcraft camping course for a gang of friends, or a climbing course that teaches you all about the world of rock climbing.
If you’d like more info, please contact us about a tailor made course, tailored for you!

Enjoying a group adventure

Enjoying a group adventure

The Nature Programme

Over the years, we have come up with a creative way of teaching people about nature, biodiversity and the environment. Too often, environmental education is focused on the issues and challenges we must tackle in order to save our planet. In today’s world, learning about nature involves discovering the horrors which we humans are inflicting on the natural world. Typically, learning about the environment is about saving polar bears, stopping the destruction of the rain forests, combating climate change and so on.
These environmental issues absolutely need to be confronted and solved and of course we do need to save our planet. However, drawing on our experience of teaching people through nature and the inspirational work, research and publications of many other environmental and outdoor educators, the most important thing to remember about nature and the environment, is that we are part of it and we need to feel connected to it. We need to develop a love of , understanding and appreciation of the environment. This is important on a global scale, but even more important on a local scale. Children especially, need to discover the wonder of nature from a young age and should not have the responsibility of saving the planet placed upon their shoulders while learning about the environment. If we can harness a love, awareness, understanding and appreciation of the natural world within people, then this positive approach to environmental education will indeed become a massive factor in saving our planet. Research shows that today’s heroes of the environment are fighting the cause for the planet as a result of the love and appreciation of nature they developed in their childhood.
The Will and Away nature programme teaches people about nature in a positive way. The learning is a journey and involves playing nature awareness games which are structured to teach people in a natural way. Fun is (and should always be!) an integral part to the learning experience.

To find out more about where we have drawn inspiration in developing the nature programme, I would suggest reading a few books which are truly inspirational. These are; “Last Child in the Woods“, by Richard Louv, “Beyond Ecophobia“, by David Sobel and “Sharing Nature With Children 1 and 2“, by Joseph Cornell.

Fire Knowledge

The forest floor is always littered with dead sticks, old leaves and fallen trees. During hot dry summers this stuff is so dry that as much as a falling spark may set it alight. As you well know, this is seldom the case in Ireland as most of the litter we find on the forest floor is continually damp, especially this summer. If we were to gather these old leaves and damp twigs and set them alight, we will get a fire that burns initially but quickly dies to a smoky mess. Usually, this is the result of our first time attempting to light a fire in the outdoors.
One glance at a campers fire will tell a lot about their knowledge of how to live in the woods. In order to live comfortably in the woods, one should be able to have a quick hot fire that can boil water in a jiffy, produce embers for cooking and baking, then throw out heat efficiently to those needing it. You should also easily be able to manage a fire that will keep you warm for hours without needing too much attention, so you can enjoy a nice nights sleep.
If fire is a skill that you would like to master then come along on our upcoming “All About Fire” course. We’ll teach you all you need to know and a little bit more.

Mastering the bow and drill

Mastering the bow and drill

Tree Climbing School… Why should kids play with nature?

Why should your kids play with nature? I can think of many benefits in terms of your childs well being and healthy development. Think of a really simple nature experience like building tree houses as an example. If you’ve ever built a tree house when you were younger, you should be able to remember many important lessons that you learned from the experience. Besides becoming acquainted with all of the other forms of life in the forest, you may also have learned about the most common sizes of wood, how to use a hammer, the difference between screws and nails, how to erect a pulley system,why a roof needs a slope, how to cut with a saw, how to climb, from how high you can jump safely, how to work as part of a team and so on.
Today many kids aren’t even allowed to play in trees. As society has become over safety conscious in it’s thinking, we have replaced outdoor playing experiences with indoor ones and many of our children never really play much with nature.

Kids enjoying tree climbing

Kids enjoying tree climbing

“Our Children no longer learn how to read the great book of nature from their own direct experience, or how to interact creatively with the seasonal changes of the planet. They seldom learn where there water comes from or where it goes.”
- Wendell Berry

So why not give your children the chance to experience nature with Will and Away this summer. Our summer camp focuses on bringing children closer to nature and on teaching them how to enjoy all that nature has to offer. One of the highlights of our camp is the tree climbing, where your kid can soar into the canopy in safety with the use of ropes, helmets and harnesses. The lessons your kid will learn at our camp should come in handy, especially if they’re involved with any tree house building projects in the near future.

My Favourite Bushcraft and Survival TV Guru’s

Ok everyone, time for me to let you know of the guys I think we can all learn something from…. All of the people mentioned in this blog post can be found on youtube.

1. First on the list is the one and only Les Hiddins or “Bushtucker Man”.  In 1987 he was awarded a Defence Fellowship to research survival in northern Australia. This research turned into the TV series The Bush Tucker Man. The series involves Hiddins driving around, finding and describing native Australian bush food or “bush tucker”.

2. Then we have Ray Mears, who teaches the skills of bushcraft in a sensible way and in a way that you can apply to wilderness situations. I particularly like the series he has done about aboriginal Britain.

3. Best known as the creator, writer, producer, director, cameraman and host of the television series Survivorman”, Les Stroud has put himself into real life survival situations and tested his own personal limits both physically and psychologically. His TV shows were filmed by himself and are very real, unlike other so called survival experts you may see on television.

4.  Cody Lundin, a minimalist and primitive skills expert, and Dave Canterbury, a military-style survival expert and professional hunting guide and tracker give us a very entertaining and educational show with “Dual Survival”. The conflict that often arises due to the differences in Cody’s and Dave’s survival methods provide the audience with an interesting view on survival.

5. If you want the chance to explore how to survive in the wild and discover how to use bushcraft techniques in beautiful settings in Ireland, then you gotta check out William O Halloran of Will and Away… yep that’s me! To see a clip of Will teaching survival skills visit www.willandaway.ie or follow the Will and Away channel on youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/willandaway

Nature Education for Schools

In the spring of 2011, William O Halloran from Will and Away delivered a six day nature awareness and survival skill module to the students of Scoil Phadraig Naofa in Bandon Co. Cork. Here’s what William had to say about his experience with the school.

“I was very impressed at the excellent behaviour of every one of the boys and would like to thank them for being so eager to learn about nature and indeed to have taught me a few things also!

Over the six sessions I got to work with each class in the school on two occasions. The first lesson involved learning all about the wonder of nature in the Irish Landscape. The second lesson involved the boys having to figure out how they would work as a team in order to survive being stranded on a remote Island off the west coast of Ireland. We learned about animal behaviour, finding food and water, making fire, finding shelter, camp craft and how to get rescued by a helicopter!

I was hoping to figure out which class in the school was the best, in terms of behaviour, good team work, knowledge of nature, ability to survive the wilderness and being able to leave no trace. It was something which I just couldn’t figure out, as each class left a great impression with me. I’m sure the nuns also, were very impressed with how the boys all respected their beautiful garden, which they were so kind to let us use.”

Following on from the six week programme in the school, the 3rd and 4th classes came on their school tour with Will and Away to Ballinreeshig Nature Farm in Ballygarvan, Co. Cork.  The boys had a great day out at the farm, getting the chance to go well and truly wild! They took part in the “Nature Programme” which is a special package Will and Away has to offer for schools and youth organisations. The Nature Programme lasts 3-4 hours and involves going on an adventurous walk around the beautiful Balllinreeshig Nature Farm while playing fun nature awareness games, immersing the senses in nature in the sensory tent, discovering the “Green Schools Woodland”, taking part in survival team challenges, finding wild animals and becoming aware about leave no trace outdoor ethics

It is a really fun learning experience for students and a great idea for a school tour.

For Gaelscoileanna Will and Away also offer their activities through Irish.

If you would like more information on Will and Away’s Nature Programme follow this link http://www.willandaway.ie/courses-and-programmes/the-nature-programme