Whatever the weather, there is something magical about getting outside in the fresh air! So, without any further doubt, grab your leather walking boots and the rest of your kit and simply get out and about. Enjoy!
Know where you’re going
Have a clear plan of where you’re going and how long it will take you to get to your planned destination and then get home again afterwards. Some things to consider:
- Will you travel to your destination by car, train or bus? (or if you’re very lucky your walking circuit may be close to home anyway)
- What would you like to explore (scenery, mountains, historical buildings?)
- Are you seeking an active hike or a leisurely stroll?
- Are there cafes, pubs, shops or restaurants en-route, for refreshments? If doggy is with you is he/she welcome too?
- Make sure you tell someone where you’re intending to go, just for peace of mind
- If you’re on medication, or have been feeling unwell, check with your GP first
Know what to take with you
Well, you’re going to need the obvious leather walking boots and appropriate clothing, plus be prepared for quick changes in the weather. Largely what you need to take with you depends upon where you intend to go and how long you’ll be out and about for. Some items to think about are:
- Snacks, water, a flask and maybe a small picnic. Don’t forget something for the pooch too – especially water and pooh bags!
- A good quality rucksack
- A quality windproof and waterproof jacket
- Fleece layers
- Appropriate walking socks
- Your phone or, if local, leave technology at home and take a watch with you to keep time
- Binoculars to fully enjoy the view
- A good pair of gloves
- Depending upon the weather, a quality pair of sunglasses
- Sunscreen (remember even when the sun is not shining, its rays are there anyway!)
- Walking sticks, poles and seats. Consider a folding stick or seat so that they can slip into your rucksack easily
- A torch – and remember to test the batteries before you go!
- A comfy hat or cap – it can get windy on those hills!
- Possibly leg gaiters – but this depends upon the terrain you’re going to explore
- A map and possibly a compass
Know how much time you can allocate
If possible, try to alleviate the risk of stress by preparing well before going on your walking trip. Plan carefully and “clear the decks” before you go, so that there’s less to do to get ready for work, when you get back home again!
Your trip out is time for you, so try to be as relaxed as possible by knowing there is very little to do when you return home. You can even pull out your leather walking boots and the rest of your kit sometime the week before, so there’s less of a panic when you’re about to start your weekend. Be stress free and enjoy your time!
Know how to get back there again
So hopefully you’ve enjoyed your walking trip and would love to do it again. But how many times have we all said “Where was that lovely place….. you know, where we had a really relaxing walk and called in that cute little pub afterwards…..”?
Have a small note book and pen in your rucksack and jot down a few key points (or pin it on your phone) to remind you of the area and what you saw/where you visited and so on. If you have a map you can highlight or circle the location on the map too, and then cross reference it to your notebook. Also, make a note of any websites that you can visit once back home and remember where you parked your car or where the nearest train station is.
Know how to avoid danger
We all know of the many dangers that can be lurking out there in the countryside. It’s always best to be cautious and safe – but let’s not spoil our enjoyment too much, as long as we are as safe as possible. However, do consider the following:
- Be careful when walking through fields of cows especially when the cows are with their new calves (they can get quite protective)
- Always carefully read any ‘warning’ notices and take appropriate action
- Carry a whistle with you, just in case
- Be careful on slippery surfaces and slopes (which is why appropriate leather walking boots are crucial)
- Don’t go too near to cliff edges to admire the view
- Be careful about where you let doggy off the lead
- Keep your pooch on a lead around sheep and cattle. Make sure you stay within the laws!
- Be careful when approaching Golf Clubs or Shoots, in case of any stray missiles
Know what to wear
Below are some hints and tips of what you can wear to make your walks as enjoyable as possible:
- Comfortable leather walking boots or shoes
- Temperature controlled walking socks to prevent friction and over-heating (e.g. 1000 Mile Socks)
- Lightweight walking trousers that will dry quickly if you get caught out in a shower
- Technical base-layers to draw moisture away from the skin to prevent ‘catching a chill’
- Microfleece layers
- Waterproof and breathable mac in a sac to have in your rucksack – just in case!
- Warm hat and gloves
And finally…..know that it genuinely is a great feeling to simply put on your leather walking boots and get out and about. Make the most of the countryside – and enjoy!