Our self-guided walks are relatively short and usually close to towns and villages. Nearly always they follow clear paths and there are often signposts along the way. However, you should always be aware that things can go wrong, and you should be adequately prepared. Even short walks can have considerable ascents and descents. Check out the information we provide about a walk and always consider your fitness level and experience of countryside walking/hiking, and make decisions accordingly. The following list of safety tips is not exhaustive. Think ahead and always take responsibility for your own safety.
- Weather: Always consider the weather forecast and conditions. Take special care if the weather is unsettled and unpredictable. Always be prepared to delay your walk to another day or choose another more suitable route. Do not walks in the hills in winter unless you have the proper equipment and experience. [* See links to weather forecasts below]
- Fluid and Food: Always take plenty of fluid with you – at least 1 litre per person if the weather is very warm. Consider taking an easily put together home-made sports drink with some water, fruit juice, salt and sugar/honey in it. Re-hydration is absolutely essential for your comfort and safety. Don’t skimp on the quantity of fluid you will need. Although not essential, some food will help keep up energy and morale if the walk takes longer or is more arduous than you anticipated.
- Appropriate Footwear: Paths can be rough or have very rough sections. Even if a walk is described as “easy”, always make sure you wear trail shoes, strong shoes or boots.
- Waypoint Guide/GPS/Phone/Map/Compass: Study our PDF Route Guide (with illustrated waypoints and maps) before you go, and take a copy with you. If you have a good map of the area take it with you, and if you know how to use a map and compass together, take a compass. Think, in advance, about finding an emergency exit route in case of problems, and about re-tracing your steps if needs be. Take a fully charged mobile phone with you. If you have a GPS unit, download the GPX file we provide for guidance, but always use your judgement if the route you are taking looks wrong or out-with your comfort zone. Use your common sense at all times!
- Clothing and Skin Care: Dressing in layers allows you to adjust to changing weather and activity levels. Quick drying synthetic clothing is best. If the weather is sunny, always carry a hat and consider wearing it at all times. Take sun screen and lip balm with you and always apply when the weather requires it.
- Walking Support: Consider wearing knee or other leg supports and consider using walking poles. Based on your experience and individual needs, consider your comfort, safety, and protection from injury.
- Safety Items: On any walking expedition it is always best to have a source of light, a whistle, a knife/multi-purpose tool, a small first-aid kit, and paper tissues with you.
- Daypack/Backpack: Always use a comfortable pack that will carry all you need.
- Alert Others: It is always best to tell someone about your walking plans. It is strongly advised not to walk alone.
- And, finally: Our self-guided walks are for your enjoyment, but never be complacent about them. Typically, they are not a “stroll in the park”! Always make your own judgement, on the ground, at that moment in time, as to what is safe and appropriate for you.
Happy trails …!
Useful Link: Mountain Skills and Safety – WalkHighlands