Winter Activities: Winter Walking

I don’t think there is anything better than getting wrapped up and going out for a walk in the wintertime… I love getting out of my centrally heated house and blowing the cobwebs away with a long walk in the fresh air! And the countryside looks just as beautiful in winter as it does in summer… and probably even more so with a covering of snow!

The key thing to remember if you are planning on going out walking in the countryside in winter is to ALWAYS check the weather forecast before you leave the house. If the weather looks too bad, then don’t go out – it’s just not worth it!

If you look out of the window and it looks like this, maybe you should postpone your walk…

And make sure you have good winter walking gear – going out wearing the wrong clothing/with the wrong kit can be dangerous, particularly if you are going walking in the mountains. If you don’t know what you should be wearing or what kit you need for your walk, you probably should wait for the weather to improve before going out!

But if you do decide to head out walking in the winter, make sure that you are prepared for ALL eventualities… the weather in winter can change very rapidly (particularly high up in the mountains) and can make any walk much more tricky if you don’t have the correct experience or kit to deal with it.

There was a whiteout at the top of Ben Nevis… and that was in summer!!

So here are my suggestions for basic winter kit for your backpack:

  • Line your pack with either a dry sack or a bin liner to keep all the contents dry – and particularly any electronic devices!
  • Plenty of food and drink (including lots of snacks and a flask of something hot to warm you up)
  • Spare layers of clothing to put on if the temperature drops
  • Hat and waterproof gloves
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Sunglasses/goggles (bear in mind that googles are more use if it starts snowing heavily)
  • Gaiters
  • Mobile phone (make sure it’s charged, but bear in mind that you may not always have a signal so don’t rely on it too much!)
  • Map, map case and compass (and make sure you know how to use them)
  • Whistle (for attracting attention in an emergency)
  • First aid kit (including plasters in case of blisters)
  • Medication (if required)
  • Survival bag (these are reasonably cheap to buy and take up very little space in your backpack – and they could save your life!)
  • Torch/headtorch (light conditions can change very quickly in winter and you don’t want to be stuck up a mountain in the pitch black! A torch can also be used to attract attention in low/poor light)
  • Crampons, helmet and ice axe (if conditions merit them AND you are experienced in using them)

Whilst you don’t want to be carrying a heavy pack, don’t leave items you may need out just because the weather is good when you set off… you just never know what might happen later on in the day!

Snow looks pretty but can make walking more hazardous

So get out there and enjoy the countryside whatever the weather – but remember to always put the safety of yourself and your party first! I have a blog post coming soon on tips for walking in winter, so make sure you check it out!

Do you like to get out walking in winter or do you try and hibernate for a few months until he weather improves!? Is there anything you always take with you in your backpack that I’ve forgotten? Let me know…

Happy hiking!

Kate 

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22 thoughts on “Winter Activities: Winter Walking

  1. OHHHHHH BEN NEVIS!!! My hubby and I hiked to the top on our honeymoon…in July…and your pic has MUCH better visibility than any we got from the top!!! These tips are spot-on. LAYERS; as long as you’ve got those (and yes, plan ahead and don’t do anything crazy), then you are fine. Especially when talking exposed skin on face, and walking in windchills several tens of degrees below zero, regardless of whether you’re talking degrees F or C (trying to remember, it’s at -20 degrees the two scales briefly converge? – so, less than that.)

    1. It’s a beautiful walk, isn’t it! Shame about the view sometimes though lol! Getting a freezing cold face is the worst – but there is very little you can do about that… you just have to keep the rest of you warm!!

      Kate x

  2. Nope, nope, nope, I hate the winter! I hate the cold. I would never go outside if it looked like that! Then again, I’ve lived in the South my entire life, I don’t have the knowledge, the gear, or the clothing for that. Give me a thunderstorm, heat wave, or even a hurricane coming at us and I know exactly what I’m doing. That’s also why, the few times we do visit places cold enough to look like this, we don’t go off the beaten path and ask locals to make sure we are prepared.

    1. We live in the UK so are used to cold weather lol! Although living somewhere were it’s warm/mild year round might be nice…
      Kate x

  3. Snow looks so pretty but I can’t stand the cold! I love the idea of a winter hike but in reality I am a movies-on-the-couch type of gal haha.

    1. I’m ok if I’m wrapped up warm – I don’t actually like being cold lol! And there is definitely something to be said for movies on the couch on a cold, winter day!
      Kate x

  4. We actually just went for a hike today in the snow. We live in a four seasons mountain town and the trails are covered in snow right now. I always bring a backpack with basic safety gear and your recommendations are right on point!

  5. Although I enjoy reading your post and your adventure. I don’t like anything that has to do with the cold. I left NJ because I could no longer take the winter. It’s the Carribean girl in me.

    1. Ooh, have fun! The track up Ben Nevis is pretty easy to be honest. I think it took us a little over 3 hours to get up and about 1 hour down – we only took about half a day to get up and down… and that included a break on the top for photos and lunch!
      Kate x

  6. I am not sure if I could do winter walking like this. I do not do well in really cold temperatures. This is great advice for those that do it though!

  7. The snow is absolutely beautiful! We live in Southern California so Winter hikes don’t really happen here. I wish I could go on one though 🙂 it sounds delightful.

    1. We don’t get too much snow in England either sadly – I wish we got a bit more! But I like to make the most of it when we do… although living in somewhere warm like California is quite appealing too!
      Kate x

  8. While we don’t have really cold temps in the winter and usually don’t get snow, I do love to walk and hike during the winter months. It’s always refreshing to exercise outside when the temps are cooler.

    1. Absolutely – I like to get outside on a cold, sunny day rather than staying in… there are enough days where we don’t leave the house because of the weather!
      Kate x

  9. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the cold weather… I’ve lived in it longer than I care to remember. I take walks in winter but less so when it’s nasty and wet.

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