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Category: Safe walking

Keeping safe while out walking.

Preparing for adverse weather whilst walking

Preparing for adverse weather whilst walking

Walking in Britain can be immensely rewarding, but it is not without danger. The changing weather in this country can be a serious hazard for people who are not prepared. Whenever you set out on a walk over open ground, you should consider how to minimise the potential risks to you and your companions.


You should always take a torch with you when you go out on a walk in an uninhabited area. Bad weather can actually reduce visibility to the extent that you will be put at risk if you continue walking without additional light. A torch can help you to continue walking back to safety, rather than being forced to stay put in low light conditions.

If you are buying a new torch for walking, you should consider buying a head torch. These torches are held around the head by elastic cords meaning that the hands can be kept free for other important tasks.

Waterproof gear

Waterproof gear is essential if you plan on going walking in Britain. The weather can change in a few moments, especially on higher ground. It can be very uncomfortable to get caught out in a rain storm. In addition to this discomfort, wearing wet clothes for long periods of time can reduce your body temperature which leaves you more vulnerable. People who are stuck in wet clothes are particularly vulnerable to hypothermia.

Waterproof clothing helps to reduce the amount of water that is able to penetrate the outer layers of clothing. Good waterproofs will help to keep you dry in even the heaviest rainstorms. Some waterproof clothing also helps to reduce the effects of wind.

Warm clothing

Warm clothing should be taken on most high ground walks, even if the weather forecast is showing high temperatures throughout the day. The temperature on higher ground is usually much

Adverse weather
Adverse weather

lower than the temperature at sea level, so you may need to put on extra layers as you move higher. If the wind picks up, it will also make it feel much colder. Keeping body heat up during any walk is essential because the body works most efficiently whilst it is at the optimum temperature.

Layering is the best way to keep the body at the optimum temperature because air gets trapped between layers and stays warm. It also makes it easier to control temperature than it would be if you were to only wear one thick item of clothing. Carrying warm clothing will help to prevent you from being caught out if the temperature suddenly drops.

Hat and gloves

Hats and gloves are important for keeping your extremities warm if the weather starts to turn cold. Once the temperature starts to drop, it is important to do everything that you can to maintain body heat, because your energy levels will start to decline as you begin to get colder.

Camping and outdoor stores often sell lightweight hats and gloves which are easy to carry but act as effective barriers against the cold. It is important that you choose gloves which allow you to maintain dexterity, so that you can continue to use your hands properly.

Emergency rations

Bad weather can force you to make camp in an area that you are not expecting to have to stay in. Alternatively, it could force you to take a route which may take longer than planned. It is important that you have a few emergency rations to help you to keep fed and hydrated if your walk takes longer than expected. High energy foods are a great choice for emergency rations, because they can help to give you a big energy boost whilst adding very little extra weight to your rucksack. Adequate water is essential if you plan on walking in high temperatures, because dehydration can be fatal.

Mobile phone

You should always take a mobile phone with you when you go out walking, even if you do not expect to have full phone signal for parts of your walk. If you are in signal range, a mobile phone can be used to get up-to-date information about the changing weather conditions, so that you can base your choices on the most relevant information. Alternatively, a mobile phone can be used to summon assistance if you do find that you need help.

All mobile phones in Britain can be used to phone the emergency services using any available network. This means that your phone may be able to be used to call 999 even if you cannot connect to your standard mobile phone network. If you cannot find phone signal in the area where you are, moving towards higher ground can help. You may also be able to find your location using the GPS on the phone.

Safety when walking with young children

Safety when walking with young children

Walking with your children is an amazing way to keep them active and to allow them to explore the wonderful things that they see around them. To make the most out of walking with your young children, you should take the time to plan family friendly routes. You should also follow a few additional safety tips to make sure that you do not put young children at risk whilst you are out and about.

Choosing a route

Start by working out how far you would like to walk with your child. Many young children can walk a surprising distance, but if your child gets tired before the end then you might find yourself having to carry them a long way. Parents are likely to be the best judge of their own children’s ability to cover longer distances or difficult terrain, so use your own discretion if someone else suggests a route to you.

Plan your route so that you can avoid or minimise time spent close to busy roads or crossing over road junctions. It is also a good idea to avoid walking on canal towpaths or riverbanks with younger children. OS maps also show some potentially dangerous features, such as mine shafts. These areas are best avoided if your children are liable to run around and play away from the footpath.

First aid kit

Make sure that you take a portable First aid kit with you whenever you go out on walks with your children. A basic First aid kit should include plasters, antihistamines, antiseptic wipes, bandages, scissors, tweezers, safety pins, and blister treatments. You should also include pain relief medication in case any of the adults in the group are injured.

Children are unlikely to get badly hurt whilst they are out walking, but the first aid kit will allow you to provide low-level treatment to any cuts, bruises, grazes or sprains that can occur during physical activities.

Hot weather

You should think carefully about the weather before setting out on a walk with your children. In the summer it is important that you take sun cream with you so that they will be protected from the sun whilst you are out on your walk. A wide brimmed hat with a neck flap will help to keep the sun off of their head and face. The sun can also be quite bright if you are walking in the hills, so you should take a pair of sunglasses for them.

Make sure that you have enough water with you to keep the whole party adequately hydrated. Stop regularly to drink water and have trail mix to keep their energy levels up. If they start to get thirsty, then they are not drinking regularly enough.

Cold weather

If the weather could get cold or wet, make sure that they all have their own hats and gloves with them. Mittens and gloves on strings are great choices for younger children who are likely to lose their own.

If you are travelling with any infants or toddlers who are in a baby carrier, you will need to take extra precautions to make sure that they are warm enough. They may need an extra layer of clothing, because they will not be working up a sweat in the same way that you are. Regularly stop to check their temperature to make sure that they are OK.


When you are walking, you should try to maintain the pace of the slowest member of the group. Walking too fast will deplete energy levels quickly and can leave people struggling to complete the walk.

Allow plenty of time to complete the route, so that you are not forced to rush the final sections if the beginning parts took longer than expected. Participants are unlikely to enjoy a walk properly if they feel as though they are being rushed around a route. Give each participant the chance to rest when you stop, rather than waiting for them to catch up and then continuing straight away.

Walk with friends

Children are more likely to enjoy their walk if they are allowed to walk with friends or other young family members. A walk is also the perfect opportunity for you to enjoy social interaction with other parents. You can all watch the children whilst continuing to enjoy each other’s company.

Organised walks

There are plenty of organisations, including the National Trust and English Heritage, who organise special walks for family groups. Although some of these organised walks are just straight-forward rambles, other organised walks may include additional fun elements that are specifically aimed at helping to keep children entertained. Examples of these walks include Beatrix Potter trails in the Lake District, which offer children the opportunity to spot their favourite characters as they continue to walk around the set route.