Tips for Walking and Climbing

Article courtesy of Hi-Tec Sports

Whilst most of us associate walking and climbing in spring and summer with warmer temperatures and sunny skies, those who head to one of the 283 iconic munros should be aware of the risk of snowy ground. In fact, it’s a safety concern to be aware of all year round if you’re heading out into the great outdoors. With this in mind, we’ve put together some top tips to help you stay safe and well when climbing those beautiful munros.

Stay warm and dry

Layering your clothing is key, as it means you can start your walk fully layered-up and take off items as and when, in order to maintain a comfortable temperature. You’ll warm up quite quickly if you’re walking briskly, so if you’re leaving the house toasty warm, you’ve probably got too much on – it’s best to start off feeling slightly chilly, believe it or not!

A long-sleeved top and some cosy trousers topped off with a wind-proof jacket, hat and gloves make for a good winter walking wardrobe. In summer, you should opt for light-weight, breathable, windproof and waterproof fabrics that wick moisture away from your body and keep you from getting too sweaty, whilst also keeping you dry in any pesky showers. However, be prepared for cold weather harsh winds and rain in the Scottish mountains. It is not uncommon to encounter snow on the mountain tops in June. A pair of gloves, a hat and warm, waterproof layers are always essential rucksac companions at any time of the year.

Support your ankles

As a walker, you’ll be well aware that your ankles need looking after. We’re all prone to slipping and tripping on uneven ground and nasty sprains and even breakages are common, particularly in the winter months. So investing in a decent pair of walking boots, which fully support your ankles as opposed to even walking shoes or but particularly trainers, is a must.

Love your feet

As well as support, your feet will need a bit of TLC, especially in colder weather. When there’s extra water on the ground it’s vital that your shoes are properly waterproofed. We all hate soggy feet and as temperatures drop, cold feet is not only uncomfortable but it can lower your core body temperature and speed heat loss, which can be particularly dangerous in remote areas or when high in the mountains.

Get a Grip

Of course, supporting your ankles in case you slip is important - but so is making sure that your boots save you from slipping as best as they can. For this, you’ll need some serious grip. Vibram soles are famed in the outdoors industry for providing the very best stability and grip so look out for this feature when you select you walking boots.

Buddy Up

It’s common sense, but when tackling unknown terrain you should ensure that you always have company - preferably a friend or family member, and at worst, if you are an experienced walker, a canine companion. It is important that either you or your companion is totally comfortable with the use of a map and a compass for navigation. As the weather can often close in, you need to know you can navigate your way off the hill quickly in thick fog where visibility is down to a few feet. If you can’t do that, find a companion who can take you up the mountains and teach you mountain skills.

Get the Gear

Take a mobile phone with you when out, but navigational knowledge is paramount. Also take sufficient water and food; sustenance is essential to keep your energy levels up and don’t forget to pack additional supplies in case you are delayed or become stuck. It’s better bring it back down the mountain than not to have it. And one extra essential addition has to be Midge Repellent - if you encounter a swarm or if the midgies "like" you, it's not that effective but always good to have

And once you have all that sorted out, enjoy your walks and the beautiful scenery of Scotland.


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