Particularly applies to high level walking and / or remote areas: Lake District, Scotland. Let someone know your route and approximate return time.
In cold weather conditions and / or in remote areas it is not advisable to walk on your own, plus if you get stuck then you can get cold very quickly once you stop.
Plan your outing
- Don't plan too long a walk - ie given the experience and fitness of the party, the amount of daylight, the terrain and the weather conditions.
- Carry a map and compass and study the route carefully beforehand. (i.e. except when on a led walk.) Come properly equipped (see Gear above).
- Check the weather forecast before you set out. Always take a waterproof. Rain, mist or fog and cold are obvious hazards, but strong winds can be a problem too, especially on exposed hillsides or coastal cliffs. Heat can also be a problem on longer walks in the summer, so don't risk dehydration - take plenty of water.
- Carry some emergency food / snacks.
- Pack a basic first aid kit, or have one among your group.
- For more remote and /or hill walking always pack a survival bag.
If you are new to walking
- Select a short walk with easy drop out points.
- Select considerate companions who will be happy to cut the walk short should you feel tired.
Roads / Railways
- Walking on roads. If there is no grass verge on either side of the road, keep to the right-hand side* of the road so that you may clearly see oncoming vehicles on your side of the road. On approaching a right-hand blind bend, cross over to the other side of the road to go round the blind bend. If in a group keep to a single file.
- Crossing railway tracks. If there is no barrier or lights for the footpath crossing, look both ways and listen carefully before crossing. Beware the second train! Having waited for a train to pass on one track, check again on the other track to ensure that there is no train approaching, (the sound of which can be masked by the departing first train).
- Crossing roads. Take care not to just follow the person in front, without carefully checking in both directions that it is safe to cross. On a busy road, the leader of a walking group should be the last to cross, so that those walkers still to cross do not feel under any pressure through fear of delaying the group. Those who have safely crossed should wait until all the group has crossed before continuing the walk.
*UK and other left-hand traffic countries.
Dealing with foot and insect problems
If new to walking the chances are that you may experience blisters. They are natures way of providing padding to sensitive skin. Do not burst! Over time the skin in the sensitive area will harden. That said, there are various measures that you may take to help prevent / lessen the severity of blisters:
- Comfortable well fitting walking boots and socks. (Before coming on a walk, ensure that your boots are broken in! If your boots have been bought recently, bring along a pair of trainers that you are used to and at the first sign of discomfort, stop and change your shoes.)
- Compeed (or similar) blister plasters can cushion and lessen the impact of a developing blister.
- Insect repellent – especially useful during the mid to late summer months.1
- Ticks. Tiny insects often found in moist vegetation in heathlands and wooded areas. Some do carry infections which may be passed on if the tick is left attached for more than 24 hours. Effective removal can be made using fine tipped tweezers or a Tick Removal Tool1, which can be bought in good chemists and outdoor shops.
- BADA-UK is an independent organisation, with no affiliations to any tick removal tool manufacturer and have reviewed various devices that are available in the UK. Through their studies and own experience, they consider The O'Tom Tick Twister to be the best removal tool currently available.
- BADA-UK - Correct Tick Removal procedure.