Over the last 2 years, a huge number of people have discovered the benefits the great British countryside can bring to their mental and physical well-being and the numbers walking in the countryside have increased dramatically. Unfortunately this has resulted in an increase in the numbers of people getting into difficulties.
Despite this country’s obsession with our weather, many have simply been poorly prepared for a sudden change in weather conditions; they weren’t actually sure where they were going or they were simply badly prepared!
Walking during the winter months can be particularly challenging, but the trick for anyone undertaking any lengthy walks is to give some thought to what conditions you might meet and making sure you are covered for all eventualities.
The Adventure Smart UK website has some excellent tips and advice and as they say ‘the right gear is a good idea’ and we couldn’t agree more!
Here are some hints and tips to make sure you get it right and have an enjoyable day out:
Know where you are going:
- Carry a map and or compass and know how to use them! We rely on our mobiles so much these days but they easily run out of charge or are not able to pick up signal especially in remote areas
- Make sure you tell someone where you are going, your intended route and an estimate of how long you will be out
- Carry a small first aid kit
Say warm and dry:
- Wear comfortable, well-fitting boots suitable for the terrain you are walking on. Nobody wants blisters to ruin their day!
- Wear breathable walking socks – ideally NOT cotton
- Wear a waterproof jacket – it doesn’t have to be expensive it just needs to keep you dry!
- Wear insulating mid layers
- Wear a breathable base layer
- Wear walking trousers – avoid denim jeans
- Take a hat and gloves
- Make sure you have a well-fitting rucksack
- Make sure your mobile phone is charged and if you have one take a portable charger kept in a dry bag
- Carry a torch and a whistle – just in case you run out of battery/can’t get signal
- Download ‘what3words’ app onto your phone – if you have a signal this will help others find your location if needed
- Carry emergency contact details
Keep your energy levels up:
- Carry high energy snacks
- Carry drinking water
- Take a flask with a hot drink
If you are thinking of taking your dog with you, it’s just as important to make sure you have everything they will need as well!
- Keep your dog’s energy levels up throughout the walk – so make sure you have plenty of dog friendly snacks with you
- Make sure you have enough fresh water for your dog and yourself – foldable dog bowls are light and easy to carry
- Know your dog’s limits and make sure you walk at speed they can match. They won’t stop unless you do, so if they are struggling either head back or make sure they can have a long rest
- They will need to kept warm and dry too so take a warm/waterproof jacket for them
- Your dog should be well-mannered with other people and other dogs. If you are walking where there is livestock follow the Countryside Code
- Clean up after them! Take a doggy bag and dispose of them appropriately
And most importantly – enjoy!
For more hints and tips visit:
The Countryside Code
Council for the Protection of Rural England ( CPRE)