At the tender(ish!) age of 27, I’m ready to join a ramblers group!
I just love being outdoors at the moment, and walking is by far the easiest, way to get the fresh air and the clear head that I so often need.
You may have read my blog about why I love long walks (now) and so, to follow on from that, I’ve decided to start a new series of blogs ingeniously titled ‘Rinroad about town (and country)’ – or maybe something shorter for SEO purposes!
Now, I’ve been on many-a-walk in my time and, as a person in their mid (/late – ahem!) twenties, I’ve also many-a-time chosen fashion over function when it comes to a good ol’ countryside hike. Having learned from my mistakes I’m here to share my top walking tips for everyone who’s not used to walking in the big, wide English countryside. Believe me, if you’re thinking about going for a hike in the UK, you’re going to want to follow this advice!
- Pack a picnic that packs a punch. I recently tried a tapas picnic – on top of a hill – between four people sitting in a row on a bench – on a windy, drizzly day. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy (it was tasty though!) Bring your picnics pre-packed and in sandwich form to avoid ‘wishing-you’re-an-octopus’ syndrome!
- Wear a pair of proper walking boots. You might think your battered old brand-name trainers will do. They won’t. You’ll come home after a long walk with more blisters, aches and pains than if you’d just been on a 5K run in your designer flip flops. Walking boots are manufactured for a reason. Invest in a pair and your feet will thank you (although your more fashionable Instagram friends may not!)
- Walk through cows. I should add a disclaimer here because if you follow this advice and get trampled by cows, I absolve all culpability. I am seriously scared of cows (also, sheep are terrifying but I recently learned to be less scared of them on a walk on the Sussex South Downs – it was walk through them or walk 10 miles back the other way!) Anyway… I vaguely remember walking through a herd of cows once when I was young, impressionable and ‘worry free’, and it was fine. I think it’s bulls you have to look out for… let’s just move on because I’m worried I don’t know enough on the subject and am writing myself into some kind of cow/sheep trampling lawsuit!!
- Wear layers. On a long walk you’ll tackle hills, flats and seafronts (depending on where you are!) Layering. is. key. Wear a top that’s too thick and you’ll wish you could strip off and fill spare space in your backpack. Wear too little and you’ll be freezing when you’re high up above sea level and being battered by the wind. See? Layers = Key.
- Use suncream. This really should have been number 1. As a pale-skinned English ‘rose’ I know all too well the consequences of forgetting suncream. Even if it’s three degrees outside, you should wear suncream. You spend so long outdoors on a good country walk that it’s impossible not to get sunburnt without it. Forget your suncream and you’ll be quite literally left red faced. I recently went walking on a cloudy day, stopped halfway for a toilet break and was shocked at the number of freckles that had emerged on my face in the last two hours! Next day, my nose was bright red. I’m not joking, wear suncream – even if you naturally tan. You’ll never regret wearing it, but you will regret not!
- Don’t be afraid of matching rain jackets. Yes, that’s right, my husband and I have matching rain jackets. And yes, that happened on purpose (kind of!) The story is that we went to buy rain jackets after seeing the weather forecast before a walking holiday and he immediately picked up a nice, plain, navy blue rain jacket in his size. But for women, the ‘norm’ is apparently horrendous spotty, flowery pink rain jackets. I had to search and search the rain jacket rails until I found one that I liked. Unfortunately, it was the women’s version of my husband’s rain jacket. He said he didn’t mind at the time. I think he regretted it when I insisted on taking pictures of us wearing them together though…
So, there you have it – Rinroad’s hiking tips! I’m sure if you do a simple Google search you’ll find more practical hiking tips (!) but these are the lessons that have stayed with me after a few years of naive rambling about the British countryside.
Do you love hiking and have some tips to share? Let me know in the comments below!