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.
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
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.