Be Prepared

Walking is a low-impact exercise and does not require any specialised training or equipment, and it combines well with many other outdoor pastimes. Partaking in this healthy activity is quite simple – just put one foot in front of the other and keep going!

What to wear and carry with you will depend on the season, the weather and simple common sense. Moreover, provided you have the necessary equipment, your walks will be much safer and more enjoyable.

When selecting equipment, always visit a specialist outdoor shop first and ask for advice. Many of the staff are often enthusiasts them­selves. Try on boots, rucksacks and clothing for size and comfort. Then, if you decide to buy the same brand of items elsewhere or online, the measurements should be correct

Shell clothing is vital to shield you from the elements. The choice is vast; the more expensive breathable garments double as wind­proofs and also help to reduce the condensation problems associated with cheaper nylon garments. Sturdy, comfortable walking boots are essential for ankle support, especially on steep descents and across uneven ground. Always ‘break in’ new boots before undertaking long-distance trails such as the Cleveland Way.

Another essential item is a well-fitting rucksack to hold all of your equipment. Adjust the rucksack straps so that your shoulders carry the load, supported by the back, legs and other muscles, enabling you to maintain an upright posture.

Furthermore, consider using some walking poles, which will help to reduce the compressive force on your joints by up to twenty-five per cent. They will also improve your balance and provide a feeling of security and confidence, particularly during downhill descents and on slippery surfaces such as mud, snow and loose rock.

Meg the Sherpa

The items in the following lists are only suggestions; therefore, consider carefully what your personal needs are. However, due to our unpredictable climate, an extra woollen sweater and waterproofs are always advisable.

Sturdy walking boots or stout shoes
Woollen socks
Cotton shirt or T-Shirt
Walking breeches, trousers or shorts
Woollen hat, balaclava or sun hat

A small rucksack
Anorak or cagoule
Overtrousers, gaiters
Fleece or woollen sweater
Gloves, scarf
Compass, whistle
First aid kit, antiseptic wipes
Tick removal tool
Ordnance Survey maps of the area
Torch, pencil and notepad
Emergency rations, survival bag
Water bottle with water
Food and snacks
High visibility vest (wear in low light or in the shooting season on grouse moors)

Camera, spare films or memory card
Flask with tea, coffee, soup or
other hot beverage
Swiss army knife
Walking poles
Poop scoop and bags – Dog Owners!

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