Late spring and early summer are an ideal time to plan a walking trip to the Scottish Highlands. Nature is coming back to life after its long winter hibernation, and the last of the winter snow and ice is melting. The days are already long in this part of the world, with an average of 13 hours of daylight by April.
While some of us actively enjoy the challenges presented by hiking in colder weather, the softer late spring climate is perfect for those who are new to, or just getting back into the swing of mountain walking. Here are some tips to help you get all set and ready for the joys of Scotland at this lovely time of year!
Pick the right level of walk difficulty
You don’t need to be super fit to consider an outdoor walking holiday. The key is to match your ability to the route. There’s plenty of information available both on and offline which will let you plan in advance. Consider the height and strenuousness of the ascent (if any), the quality of the paths, the distance and duration of the route, and how navigable it is.
Even if you are reasonably fit, you might feel apprehensive about venturing out into the unknown if you aren’t an experienced hill walker. Maybe you would simply like to relax and enjoy the surroundings without the added pressures of route-finding. If this is the case, you could consider booking a guided walk.
Take good care of your feet
They say ‘no foot, no horse,’ and on a hiking holiday, you might as well say ‘no foot, no walk.’ Limping for miles in pain is unpleasant, and you may even cause lasting damage to your feet. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that your boots are comfortable, and are preferably worn in advance to make sure they really fit properly.
It is important to wear the right socks to reduce the chance of developing blisters, and to pack some special blister plasters should the worst happen. If you are walking on a reasonably good path in warmer weather, a pair of sturdy-soled sandals may provide some relief from heavier boots.
Eat the right foods
Spending the whole day on your feet can be quite a change, especially if your usual occupation is mostly desk-bound. It can be surprising how hungry a day in the outdoors can make you feel. Therefore, it’s important to eat wisely before the walk, and pack the right meals and snacks to take with you, to make sure you don’t get tired and irritable.
The best meal options before your walk include carbs which will provide slow-release energy throughout the day, rather than a quick blood sugar spike. These are sometimes referred to as low glycaemic-index (GI) foods, and include wholewheat pasta and rice, beans and pulses, and vegetables.
Finally, make yourself a good packed lunch of sandwiches on wholemeal bread, fresh and dried fruit, and a few treat items, such as dark chocolate, malt loaf, or fruit cake.
If you are looking for a Skye Munros guide, talk to us today.