10 TIPS ON STAYING SAFE WHEN HIKING
1. Plan your route. Know where you are going, and how long it will take. Always have a backup route in case things turn bad.
2. Share your plan with at least one person (preferably more). Leave a detailed description of your departure time, expected route, possible back up route, and expected time to finish. This way if anything happens, at least one person knows where you are.
3. Always carry a map and compass and KNOW how to use them. When your planned route disappears in the fog, or you unconsciously stray off the path, these will be a game changer. Always bring a phone with you, have digital mapping and GPS. Always have the local mountain rescue emergency number. If you need assistance call 999 or 112 and ask for mountain rescue. Keep your phone in a waterproof case.
4. Bring clothes for all weather. Even if it’s a beautiful sunny day, bring lots of extra layers and of course waterproofs. It’s better to carry them and not have to use them, then not carry them and getting caught in a shower risking hypothermia.
5. Always wear appropriate hiking boots with ankle support. Wellies or runners are uncomfortable, slippy and slow you down on a hike.
6. Always check the weather forecast. Just because it’s sunny in the morning, doesn’t mean it won’t be rainy and stormy in the afternoon.
7. Bring the appropriate food and drinks. As with clothes, it’s better to have too much than too little. High energy and slow release foods are best such as nuts and dried fruit. The more energy you have, the happier and focused you will be in the hills.
8. Always bring a first aid kit with you. Even something as small as a blister can slow you down, let alone a more serious injury. There are specific ones designed for mountain adventure, which are small and light. If you take any particular medication, always bring it with you.
9. A survival bag is always a good option. You can buy them in all good outdoor shops and are light. If anything does happen, getting into one of these waterproof bags can be a game changer.
10. Most of all, always expect the unexpected. Enjoy your time in the hills, they are an amazing place to be but always be prepared for every circumstance. if you think you have enough spare clothes and food, pack a little bit more. Even if you are hiking during the day, bring a head torch. Even if it’s sunny, prepare for rain. You never know what might happen!
Be safe, and most importantly, have fun!