Here at Anevay we’re big believers in getting outdoors all year round. While it’s tempting to let miserable winter weather banish you to the sofa, the best way to beat the blues when the sun only seems to peek out around lunchtime is to embrace the winter, get out there and celebrate it. We believe that you’ll always feel better for it if you turn off the TV and get out there for a red-nosed winter walk instead.
In light of the recent wintry weather we’ve been blessed with here in the UK in the last couple of days, we thought it’d be a good idea to talk about staying safe when you’re out on a winter’s ramble. Good planning and making sure you’ve got the right kit will mean you can have the most fun possible without all the chilly fingers and toes. While there’s not much chance of any snow or even ice down here in Cornwall (sob), other parts of the UK and Europe will be getting pretty frosty, and the best way to ensure you don’t spend Christmas Day with your leg in plaster is to arm yourself with all the safety knowledge you can before you head out.
Get the right gear
Good sturdy footwear is always a must when you’re off on a ramble, but it’s especially important when you’re heading out in winter conditions. Wear some good, thick socks and make sure your laces are tied properly – taking a tumble on to a rugged hillside is a lot more painful when it’s covered in ice or snow!
While wellies are great for preventing slushy socks, they’re not so hot at providing support and gripping the ground, so go for a good, waterproofed pair of hiking boots instead.
Waterproof jackets (and trousers if it’s really snowy) make the world of difference if it turns wet and cold, and will stop melting snow soaking into your warm clothes underneath. Make sure you’ve got spares of easy-to-lose items like gloves and hats so no one spends their wintertime adventure complaining that they’re cold.
You might have seen the family in the news recently who got caught out in the Lake District after dark with just a phone for light. Thankfully everything all turned out fine in the end but to avoid mishaps like this make sure you’ve got a torch with you whenever you go walking in winter as the early dark can really creep up on you.
Plan your route
With the hours of daylight growing fewer and fewer as the winter solstice approaches, planning your route and setting off early is crucial to ensure you don’t get caught out in the dark.
While heading off on an impromptu wander is always exciting when you’re out for a walk, if it’s a long one it’s best to stick to a route you know or have planned beforehand. Sometimes snow and ice can make routes take longer than you think, and it’s no fun getting stuck in an unfamiliar place when it starts getting dark and chilly.
Let someone know your route before you go so that if you do get lost they can raise the alarm. Take a mobile phone with you, and arrange to call a friend once you’ve finished your walk to let them know that you’re back safely.
There are lots of great hill walks that you can do over the winter period – check the internet for good routes near you. The British Mountaineering Council’s website is great for loads of different winter hill walks that range in difficulty from easy to expert, covering lowland, moorland and mountains.
If you’ve got little ones with you, keep it easy. Walking through the snow can be tiring, and with so much lovely winter flora and fauna to see, you can keep everyone engaged without attempting anything too difficult.
While a cosy lie-in is more tempting than ever when it’s cold outside, setting off early will mean you can get a good adventure in before the sun starts setting, so stay away from that snooze button!
Keep warm from the inside!
There’s nothing like reaching the top of a big hill, cheeks red and breath condensing in the chilly air, and wrapping your hands around a steaming flask of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Make sure you take lots of snacks to keep everyone’s energy up – mince pies, anyone?