Tuesday, September 26, 2017

12 Participants trained as Walking Guides for the North West

‘The participants of the Walking Guide Leader Training Course with their certificates’

Training has just concluded on a Walking Guide Leader course; the aim of the project was to train twelve individuals as Local Walking Guides, who would then be available to the tourism industry and the local community. The course combined a recognised qualification from Mountaineering Ireland, with local/regional knowledge on flora, fauna, folklore, heritage and other specific tourism related information.

The bespoke training course was funded through the Rural Development Programme as an Inter Territorial project between the three LEADER companies Sligo LEADER Partnership, Roscommon Integrated Development Company and Leitrim Development Company.

The training was designed to address the need for qualified guides with local specific knowledge, as the current lack of walking guides is limiting the number of people accessing our regions trails. If we are to market walking in the area as a viable tourism amenity and generate the level of footfall required, the availability of qualified walking guides is crucial.

With our stunning coastline, mountains, rivers and lakes, the development of the North West as an adventure hub is key to the future expansion of tourism in the region. The further development of the walking product in the area is a key objective for the LEADER Groups in advancing our reputation as an adventure hub. In order to derive maximum benefit from the infrastructural improvements and development of the walking product, the need for qualified walking guides with local knowledge is essential. Sile Haran of Marketing Sligo Forum said ‘this course addressed the need for qualified guides and is hugely beneficial in terms of the further development of the walking product in the region.’

Of particular importance was the need for guides with local knowledge specific to the Miners Way and Historical Trail; as this Way Marked Way has been identified as having potential to be upgraded to international standard. The Miners Way and Historical Trail traverses three counties; Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon. The three aforementioned Local Development Companies share a common interest in the development, maintenance and marketing of the trail.

The training addressed the identified shortage of qualified available guides in the region by equipping the participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake guiding work. On completion of the final assessment, there will be a pool of qualified walking guides available with specific local knowledge about the heritage, flora and fauna of the area and the technical skills and qualifications to guide tourists and members of the local community on the wide range of walks available in the region. The availability of qualified local guides will result in increased numbers visiting the region to explore our trails, this in turn will mean an increase in business for the local hospitality sector.

Co. Sligo LEADER Partnership is committed to the continued development of rural tourism in the region and recognises the value of tourism in terms of providing sustainable regional development and job creation. Sligo LEADER Partnership through the auspices of the Rural Development Programme has supported a number of tourism related projects, including the Walking Guide Leader training course.

For further details on this and other programmes contact County Sligo LEADER Partnership, Cleveragh Road, Sligo 071 9141138 or visit www.sligoleader.com.