Equipment for Summer Hillwalking
What to take with you
From this point on I will assume that the trip is in "summer" - you should still try to get a weather/snow report before going, though...
You will need to take the following items (per person). This list is in no particular order.
- Warm Clothing
Even if it is warm in the Glen it is likely to be significantly cooler on the summit. It is also likely to be quite windy so warm clothing is essential.
- Good Boots
This should go without saying: trainers/gym shoes are not an option. Good, sturdy hillwalking boots are essential and anyone trying ascents in flip-flops deserves to break their ankles - unkind this may sound but the local Mountain Rescue Team will have spent a great deal of time attending this type of accident...
- Waterproof Jacket/Overtrousers
Isn't Scotland one of the wetest places in the Northern hemisphere - need I say more? - these items also keep the wind out quite well.
This might sound stupid but it is vital that you take sufficient water (juice/whatever) with you - if you are only going up and then back down the tourist path you are still going to sweat - a lot. Three litres of fluid is probably not a bad idea - this could be in the form of 2L juice/water and the rest made up from fruit (oranges?) Remember - dehydration can kill, too... (and it gives you a serious headache!)
Have a good meal the evening before (carbohydrate rich - pizza/beer?) and a good hearty breakfast before you set out... when you're actually walking you will need to consume both starchy foods (sandwiches?) and sugars (chocolate, kendal mint cake, fruit?) as well as all that fluid... eating a little and often (i.e. as and when you need/want to) is a much better idea than waiting until you're on the summit - you may have collapsed with exhaustion by then.
- Map, Compass & Whistle
These items are essential to everyone who uses our mountains. They are only useful, however, if you know how to use them - otherwise they can actually be dangerous by providing a false sense of security :-(
If you are in a group, the "leader" should have prepared a route card/plan for the day - the "leader" must know how to use the map/compass properly together! - Ideally everyone will have a map/compass and actively use them - this is far preferable than people blindly following each other across the mountain like sheep (have you ever noticed the dangerous little ledges sheep/goats tend to end up on???).
If you can read a map, make your own route card and compare/discuss it with the leader. Remember - anyone can make a mistake. That's when you may want a whistle... the international distress signal is "six sharp blasts on a whistle (or torch flashes) followed by one minutes silence."
We also have some other safety advice for hillwalkers.
- First Aid Kit
Just in case - a qualified First-Aider is also handy - if you are with a qualified Mountain Leader they will be first-aid trained...
- Other Items
You will need,
- determination in varying amounts
- a sense of humour
- camera - to capture the fantastic views and funny moments
- Poly bag - this is for putting all your litter in as you go - you can put the bag in the bin when you get back to the bottom :-)
- O P T I M I S M...
- sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat (?), a scarf, gloves...