Taking a break from the rat race to escape to the hills for a spot of fresh air is an increasingly popular hobby that sees hundreds of people leave built up areas each weekend to enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors in the miles and miles of Great British countryside. Whether you are walking on a regular basis or are more of a sporadic adventurer, it is important to be aware of risks and take measures to protect your safety from any potential mishaps.
Watch the weather and bring appropriate clothing
Anyone who has spent time outdoors will know how unpredictable the UK weather can be; one moment the sun will be shining only for rain clouds to quickly gather and give everything a good soaking. It is also important to bear in mind that many popular hill walking locations can create their own mini micro climates, just because the weather forecast looks good for your immediate area doesn’t mean that it will be the same in your walking spot.
Wet and windy weather can quickly and dangerously sap the heat from your body if you are not dressed appropriately. Jeans are the number one piece of clothing to avoid while out hiking. Once jeans get wet they take a long time to dry out and not only do they not provide any warmth but they will actively suck it out of your body. Cotton based clothing should also be avoided for the same reason, instead look for breathable material that wick moisture away from your body. A water proof shell is one of the most important things you can take with you, not only will it keep you dry but a waterproof layer can be surprisingly effective at cutting down wind chill too. For windswept locations it is a great idea to also tuck a pair of waterproof trousers into your pack to protect yourself against sudden rain storms. Layer your clothing so you can add or take away layers of clothing depending on the weather you encounter. Sturdy shoes will help protect you from sprained ankles or worse, if you are planning on walking regularly invest in a good pair walking shoes or boots.
Know your route
This may sound silly but it is amazing how many people get lost in the British countryside each year. Plan out where you are going and take a map so you can always find your way home should you decide to do some exploring. Learning how to read a compass isn’t a bad idea either!
Know your limits
Don’t bite off more than you can chew! If you are just starting out making your maiden voyage a trip to the Inaccessible Pinnacle is probably not going to end well, start small and work at it so you don’t get discouraged or stuck in a dangerous situation.