Highlander's Top Tips for Walking
• Check the weather forecast – If walking in wet and windy conditions isn’t your thing you may want to wait until the sun is almost guaranteed to shine! Keep an eye on the weather forecast and go when you feel comfortable as terrain is dramatically different depending on the weather before and during your walk.
• “Break in” your walking boots – Nothing will ruin your walk faster than sore feet and blisters. Once you have bought your walking boots (arguably the only essential piece of kit for walking) make sure you start breaking them in a few weeks before your planned walk. An hour or two a day is enough to help reduce the chances of chaffing and rubbing when it is time for your walk. It’s also important to pair your boots with the right socks to help reduce friction.
• Dress for success – The Great British weather can change in seconds. By preparing for all reasonable eventualities you can ensure you stay comfortable throughout the duration of your walk. Wear several thin layers of clothing instead of one thick layer as thin layers have better insulating properties than one big layer. It is also easier to regulate your body temperature with several layers as you can add or remove layers as necessary. Also remember a waterproof jacket and/or trousers just in case the weather turns on you. Even a lightweight, pack away jacket with a hood is enough to keep the rain at bay.
• Know your route - Try to plan your route and how long you think it will take to complete your walk before you go. Bring a map of the area and a compass and familiarise yourself with how to use both before your walk. Although most smartphones now have GPS it is not a good idea to solely rely on technology. Also remember to bring a headlamp or light source of some kind as walkers can sometimes have the day turn dark on them quite quickly, and being able to see proficiently is crucial for your safety.
• Be prepared – Emergencies and adverse situations can arise during your walk. Be prepared for them for both your comfort and your safety. Bring a first aid kit with you; even the most basic will do, as well as high sugar and energy foods and lots of water. Other items to consider include small change for a phone box (as many places might not have good phone reception) gloves and a hat or sunglasses (depending on the weather) and perhaps most importantly: tell someone where you plan to be and how long for. If something goes wrong and you are unable to get help, simply alerting someone to your plans could save your life if an emergency strikes.