Lockdowns Fuel A British Passion For Hillwalking
A new report by Sport England has revealed that thousands more people have taken part in hill or mountain walking for the first time over the past year. The British Mountaineering Council (BMC), the national representative body for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, reports that the increase in participation amounts to 20,000 more people than last year.
This is evidence that the spike in activity that was noted during the Covid lockdowns was not just a passing trend, but has led to more people taking up the activity on a regular basis. According to the latest figures, 3.38 million people in the UK now regularly get out and about on hills and mountains, up from 3.39 million last year.
This is remarkable when you consider that when the data was first collected in 2015/16, the number of people who walked in hills and mountains for leisure was just 2.46 million. The year on year increase proves that there is sustained interest rather than a blip caused by the restrictions on travel and other activities.
Paul Davies, Chief Executive of the BMC said: “These figures are proof that thousands more people are discovering the undeniable mental and physical benefits of getting out into our wild spaces and that you don’t have to take part in more traditional ‘sports’ to stay healthy and active.”
He added: “This is just the start – we want to help and inspire anyone, no matter if it’s your first time or your 500th time, with the confidence and knowledge to safely take part in the activities we represent – creating a space where people belong, and where anyone can reap the benefits.”
“Whilst it’s great to see the overall rise in participation of hill walking and climbing, we know there is still much more to do to ensure that our activities are accessible to all groups and communities – and this is an absolute priority for the BMC and our partners.”
Hill walking is a very accessible activity, but it’s still important to plan carefully to make sure that it is a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. It can help to walk with more experienced friends or join a walking club or group if you are not used to venturing out in the great outdoors.
It is not necessary to have a lot of expensive equipment, but there are some basic items that will help you to get the most out of the experience. In terms of clothing, comfortable shoes that are suited to the terrain and weather conditions are important.
You should always look up the weather forecast and be aware that changes in conditions can happen very quickly at higher altitudes, so spare waterproof clothing should be carried in a backpack even if it looks fair.
Ideally, plan your route on an OS map and take a paper copy with you to back up digital navigation devices. This means that you will always have a back up should your device run out of power, or become lost or damaged. If you are going alone, let someone know where you are going and when you will be expected to return.
If you are looking for Torridon mountains guided walks, please get in touch today.