Whether you’re bumbling along the South Downs or setting yourself a challenge with Ben Nevis in Scotland, here’s a few, somewhat obvious but nonetheless important, things I’ve learnt:
- You might see people doing stupid things
I saw a group attempting Snowdon in sandals; people like this aren’t to be trusted. They make poor life decisions.
2. You might see people doing incredible things
Up Ben Nevis I saw a group of people walking up with fridges on their backs for charity. these aren’t the mini fridges that one of your really cool friends had in their rooms in your teens. These were large household, family chest freezers – the type that no-one in their right mind would attempt to lift on their own, let alone carry it up a mountain.
3. You can never take too much water
Two hours into a hike you will be grateful you packed the extra bottle. I’ve made this mistake far too many times
4. You can take too many snacks
Be reasonable. A sandwich will suffice and a whole packet of chocolate digestives is unnecessary if you’ve already got a “sharing bag” of malteasers packed m. Even so, make sure to pack some extra energy. Even if you don’t get hungry specifically, lets say you get stuck in some serious fog; a snickers will do wonders for energy and enthusiasm levels.
Personal favourite forms of energy boosting include: jelly beans, Kendal mint cake and licqorice allsorts in particular, the bobbly ones (obv) and that little elusive blue man.
5. Socks are just as important as boots
They really are. Even the comfiest boots in the world will be no use if you’re wearing trainer socks or those super-cute ones with the frills on – no matter how adorable they look with your Chelsea boots. Blisters are hell. They are painful, urgly and take forever to go. So you’ll be grateful you invested in some thick walking socks.
- ALWAYS take a spare jumper/rain jacket
Wise, and obvious words I know but the UK is predictable in its unpredictable weather. As donkey told Shrek, the key is in the layers. You can take layers off but if you haven’t got them there in the first place you may regret it.
- Don’t wear make up
Don’t do it. The chance of Brad Pitt being at the peak of Scafell Pike are so minimal it’s not worth the panda eyes that follow after even a little mist, let alone actual rain.
- Choose your rambling companions wisely
Obviously this is dependent on the length of walk. But I can assure you there’s nothing worse than the pal who just loves meaningless talk with incessant questions while you’re tackling the steepest slopes of the Brecon Beacons, or the relative who insists you take a selfie every 10 metres.