Getting Started – If You’re New To Walking
Despite the weather in Scotland, it’s easy to see why so many people enjoy walking holidays here.
Walking holidays provide the opportunities to explore, exercise, take in beautiful scenery and of course, breathe some fresh, country air.
As well as this, walking releases endorphins to the brain which trigger feelings of pleasure!
With these feelings of happiness and wellness, many walkers feel that they want to challenge themselves to more intense adventures. Rather than a simple afternoon stroll, they choose to go on hikes.
An involved hike off the main trails is much more challenging than a Sunday saunter on a well-marked path so beginners should ensure they are adequately prepared!
With walking season soon upon us, many people are preparing for the West Highland Way, here in Scotland.. Some people do this year in, year out and some are novices. If you’re new to walking, we have some advice to get you started!
Dress for the occasion
When taking on long hikes, it’s vital that you are wearing the right gear. Not just so that you’re warm and comfortable but also so that you’re safe on the more difficult trails.
Arguably the most important thing is footwear. Hiking boots aren’t cheap or particularly fashionable but they do offer the best protection. Ankle support, heel moulding, toe protection, excellent grip, strong laces and waterproof… they’re easily the best option! However, they do usually need to be ‘worn in’ so make a point of breaking them in before your hike. The last thing you need to add onto your list of problems is blistered feet while you hike!
As well as this, warm and waterproof coats should be worn as well as thermal t-shirts and wind-resistant trousers. This is especially important in mountain areas as the weather conditions can and do change drastically so multiple layers allow you to keep warm and comfortable, whatever the weather.
These features should also be taken into consideration when buying a tent! As well as the total weight so that you can limit how much you’re going to be carrying. Supermarkets and discount stores do have great deals but you’re always better going to an outdoor specialist store that will have tents and airbeds that are suited to your set of needs.
Ensure there are at least two of you
Walking alone can be liberating, especially for extremely sociable people. Being miles away from civilisation can be exhilarating, especially in today’s world where we are in almost constant connection with each other. As well as this, lone hikers don’t have to take other members of their party into consideration when deciding routes.
However, if you’re just starting out, hiking alone should be a goal to work towards. Two heads really are better than one especially when it comes to map reading, encouragement and if necessary, first aid. If possible, your first hiking partner should be more experienced so that they can pass on tips and knowledge whilst also ensuring that the party doesn’t lose their way.
Make sure your body is prepared!
Walking is enjoyable, enriching and extremely beneficial to your health. It can also be difficult, depending on your route so effective training is necessary. Luckily, this training can be done in the great outdoors!
Heading to the hills – or even a local park for a training walk is a great place to start. While only short to begin with, you can increase your distances steadily – just like any other physical training! It also gives you a chance to get used to and test your equipment in safe and comfortable conditions.
Make sure your bag is prepared!
Before heading out on any hike – regardless of how short or long – it is imperative that everything is prepared before stepping out the door. This includes ensuring everything is packed (maybe even ticking items off a list to guarantee nothing is forgotten), testing batteries for power levels, checking the weather and getting up to speed with keys on a map.
Before heading out on a hike, regardless of how long it is, it’s vital that everything is prepared before you start. This includes ensuring everything is packed, testing batteries for power levels, checking the weather and familiarising yourself with your map!
However, be careful that you don’t over-pack. Remember this will all be carried on your back!
Food and drink
Another item to pack with careful consideration are the food supplies. Walking is physically demanding at the best of times, even more if you are going overnight and laden with a heavy bag.
Another thing to take into consideration, especially in terms of weight, are food supplies. Walking is physically demanding and especially so if you’re going overnight and are carrying a heavy bag.
For beginners, though, it’s best to over-estimate the amount needed than to under-estimate as exhaustion can set in quicker for novices. If weight is a concern, get some high-carb, high-energy bars from outdoor retailers.
Now it’s time to get out and about!
Now that you’ve accounted for everything, it’s time to take on the great outdoors. Now all you need to ensure is that you’re out early enough so you can maximise on daylight hours. As well, remember to leave the countryside as you find it. You don’t want to have a poor impact on the environment or other people’s enjoyment of it!
Book your West Highland Way trip with EasyWays
If you’re looking to take on Scotland’s West Highland Way, Great Glen Way or one of the many other beautiful walks, EasyWays can help you! We offer walking holidays to everyone from beginners to seasoned hikers! Find out more about EasyWays and what we can do for you by getting in touch today.