Today I chatted to BETH PIPE, better known on social media as the CUMBRIAN RAMBLER, she’s an avid hiker and has written 10 books about hiking and the outdoors and the fabulous history and wildlife you can discover on your travels, and she had some great tips for people venturing out for a walk in an unfamiliar area.
“There’s something rather wonderful about discovering a new area and you always see so much more when you’re on foot. It can also be rather daunting too, and very easy to get lost, so here are some of the things we do when we’re exploring somewhere new to make sure we always arrive home in one piece.
- Check out the area before you go. I am a self confessed map nerd but, when it comes to exploring outdoors, maps are your best friend, even on a low level walk. These days it’s easy to plan and explore before you set foot outdoors – take a look at local visitors pages, check out local walks and landmarks on Tripadvisor and see what social media has to say. You should soon be able to figure out whether the ‘nice Sunday afternoon stroll’ you had planned is, in fact, a bit of a beast only to be tackled by experienced hikers.
- Know your limits – it’s always good to push yourself but not too far, it sounds silly to say but do remember that if you’ve walked 5 miles out, you need to walk 5 miles back again to get home!
- Know where you are. If you’re planning a big hike and you think your map reading skills are not quite up to scratch, then brush up before you leave. You can find a great online tutorial here.
- Download a navigational app – we use ViewRanger which has a range of free, basic, maps, and the added benefit of GPRS so you’ll always know precisely where you are.
- If you are going to be using your phone then, please, make sure it is fully charged and take a backup power pack along too, just in case. No one ever sets out with the intention of getting horribly lost, or having an accident, but these things happen. Be prepared.
- It’s also worth downloading the What3Words app which will allow rescue teams to locate you swiftly and accurately in the event of an emergency.
- If you’re walking alone, make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to be back – it is always better to be safe than sorry.
- Check the weather before you set off, it will help with the next point. And if you’re heading up into the hills, check the local hill top forecasts or take a look at the Mountain Weather Information Service pages – the weather on the hill tops can be hugely different to that in the valleys.
- Dress for your route – make sure you have decent walking shoes – trainers are unsuitable for high level hiking but may be fine for a dry, low level stroll. Think about your trousers too, denim gets very cold and heavy when it’s wet, so if rain is forecast make sure you have waterproofs or lighter walking trousers that will dry quickly.
- Pop some extras in your rucksack. Surely one of the joys of a good long walk is the excuse to scoff chocolate and cake, but always take more than you need just in case. I find malt loaf is a very handy addition to my provisions as it’s crammed with calories, is always nice and moist and doesn’t melt on a hot day.
- Always take an extra layer of clothing and not just if you’re planning on heading up high (although you definitely need to do it then!). A coastal walk, a river or even an exposed area of flat land can often be a lot cooler then a sheltered car park or cottage and, even if there is only the tiniest hint of rain, pop a waterproof in too as they make great windbreaks if you get a bit chilly.
- Last, but not least, get yourself a good local guidebook – they will give you lot of ideas for places to visit and things to look out for when you’re there. If you’re visiting Cumbria or Morecambe Bay then take a look at our books here – they are crammed with interesting facts and hidden away places to explore. Happy hiking!”
Thank you to Beth who contributed to our blog today. Beth has given you and your guests some amazing advice on walking when staying in holiday homes. As a keen walker myself I have had a good refresher too and learnt something new.
We always take it for granted that if it goes wrong, we are only a phone call away from some help. Think about the rescue team and the challenges they face especially at this time during Covid-19 as it may not be a straight forward process to rescue you!