ONE of the few, if only positives of the recession has been the increasing number of people engaging in outdoor pursuits in the Wicklow Mountains.
While this is to be welcomed, the rise in people using the mountains also means an increase in the amount of call outs received by the Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue service.
Last year the team, which is staffed completely by trained volunteers, received 66 call outs from people in need of aid after injuring themselves while walking in the Wicklow Mountains.
To combat this increase in call outs the Glen of Imaal team has organised the 'Moonlight Challenge' series of fundraisers.
Hugh McLindon of Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue, explains, 'it's great to see people staying choosing to get or stay fit by walking in the Wicklow Mountains.
'However, more people out on the hills also means more people getting into difficulty and consequently more call outs for the Rescue Team.
'We're delighted to be able to help and our fundraising ' Moonlight Challenges' greatly enable us to continue doing so.'
This year's challenge takes place on Saturday November 17.
The 2012 route starts from the Rescue Base at Trooperstown, Laragh, and mostly follows the Wicklow Way to Glenmalure, a total of 23km. All the funds raised will go toward the purchase and kitting out of two new Rescue vehicles, upgrading the Team's communications equipment and further development of the Team.
The registration fee is €25 per person, and participants are asked to raise €75 sponsorship (€100 total). Each year the Moonlight Challenge has been fully subscribed before the closing date for registration, so early registration is encouraged.
Teams must register in advance at www.wicklowmountainrescue.ie or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning (087) 1798404.