With a huge growth in the number of people hiking and hill walking in the UK, we decided to put together a short (and sweet) blog about how to plan your hike to keep you safe when you're out on your walks...
Tell people where you are going
It's always good to tell people where you're going hiking or walking! Even if you're only walking in your local trails it's always a good idea just to let people know where you're heading. Another great thing to do is to leave a map and highlight the route that you want to walk. This means if you do get lost and you can communicate with anyone, the emergency services has a starting point to help track you.
Respect Mother Nature
Before you head off to the hills or the coast, check the weather reports from several sources; Met Office, BBC Weather, and for winter walking; SAIS. This will give you a clearer picture about what the weather could possibly have in store for you that day. Then plan your hike around that forecast. Also, consider what the weather has been doing over the past week as this can show you a typical weather pattern.
Carry the right gear
When walking the hills and the coast in the UK you never know what is going to be thrown at you, so carrying the right gear is essential. Make sure you have the right sized daypack for your walk, even in the summer you should always carry your waterproof clothing as the weather can change very drastically in the mountains and the coastline in the UK. You should also be carrying the following kit as standard:
First Aid Kit
Water bottle / Hydration bladder
Waterproof: jacket and trousers
Stick to the plan
So you've told someone where you are going, you've left a detailed note and highlighted route map, you've double checked all your equipment you're taking and you've researched the trail you're walking. Now try and stick to your plan! Of course you might have to tweak your journey due to unforeseen circumstances but even if you do go off-trail a bit always try to find your way back to the main trail, because if you don't and you get lost, people might be looking for you in a different place!
A simple trick is to wear brightly coloured clothing. You will see lots of MLs (mountain leaders) wearing bright blue, red, green and even orange on the hills of the UK and although they might look cool, they wear the bright colours to be seen. This also means if you get lost when there's low viz it will be easier to point you out and find you.
Think clearly it’s not just about you
When hiking in a group remember to think about what other people's needs are. Think about the trail ahead and if they can manage it. Remember a problem shared is a problem halved so if you do get lost; stop, think and discuss.
Do you have any other top tips for staying safe in the great outdoors?