Tips For Mountain Walking In Summer
When it comes to mountain walking in the UK, most of the advice is geared around handling adverse conditions such as fog, rain, ice and snow. However, it’s important to recognise that walking in summer can also present challenges. Here are some tips to make sure that you stay safe and comfortable in warmer weather.
Wear the right gear
Modern sweat-wicking fabrics are the best choice for warm weather, as they will not become damp and uncomfortable as your body sweats to cool off. Light clothing is preferable, as this reflects, rather than soaks up the sun, and is more effective at repelling midges.
It may be tempting to go for T-shirts and shorts, but bear in mind this will mean that you will need to apply extra sunscreen. Long trousers can also offer extra protection from brambles and nettles, as well as insect bites, if you are prone to them.
A wide brimmed hat is also important to shade your face and neck. It will help you to keep cooler in bright sun, reducing the risk of dehydration and sunstroke. Sunglasses are also important to protect your eyes from strain and sun damage.
When it comes to socks, it might seem tempting to wear thin cotton socks instead of thick woollen ones. However, thin socks increase your risk of developing blisters, which can really ruin your walk!
Cotton also absorbs sweat and dries slowly, so you will end up will uncomfortable clammy feet after an hour or two. Instead, go for merino wool socks, which naturally regulate temperature, and don’t hold moisture as easily.
Pack the right kit
The number one item on your kit list should be plenty of water, whether in bottles or pouches. You may also want to consider rehydration solutions which contain electrolytes, which are minerals that we lose through sweat, and help the body with a variety of essential functions, such as muscle contraction, nerve function, pH balance, as well as hydration.
Pack some high energy snacks that won’t be at risk of melting, such as cereal bars, dried fruit, and nuts.
Of course, you will need sunscreen with a high SPF factor, plus insect repellent and the usual first aid kit. Also pack some extra layers and emergency rain gear, because the weather can change quickly at high altitudes.
Plan well ahead
Keep an eye on the weather forecast, and avoid setting off in extreme heatwaves, unless you have experience of walking in these type of conditions. Set off early when the day is at its coolest point, and if possible, plan a route with plenty of shade, such as a forest track. Streams and lochs where you can pause to cool off will also be welcome.
Keep an eye on the whole group, and look out for anyone with signs of heatstroke. These include nausea, dizziness, and a headache. Anyone feeling unwell should rest in a shady spot, and if they still do not recover after 30 minutes, you should turn back with them, or seek assistance.
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