5 Essential Safety Tips for a UK Winter Walking Holiday

Get ready for a winter walking holiday in the beautiful UK countryside with these five essential tips!

People hiking through rocky countryside, with mountains visible in the distance

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The UK has many stunning places to explore on a walking holiday, from the White Cliffs of Dover to the Highlands of Scotland, the stunning Welsh mountains and the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland. 

It’s a beautiful country to explore at any time of year, but there is something special about a winter hike. I absolutely love a crisp winter morning when the trees are covered with frost and you can see your breath in front of you.

Winter can be a lovely time of year for a walking holiday. Even if it doesn’t snow, you need to bear in mind that the risk of accidents is higher in winter, and safety must be a priority. So, what can you do to make a winter walking holiday safer and more enjoyable?

These five basic safety tips will help you to plan your next walking trip, so that you can go on your winter walking break safely.

Get in Training

Going out walking in the countryside might sound like gentle exercise, but Don’t underestimate how challenging a hike can be. But this is also why it is so rewarding! 

Winter hikes can be even more tiring because the ground is often wet and muddy which makes walking more difficult. And of course, the weather is colder which can make you feel tired as well.

This is why you should get yourself into good physical shape before setting off for a walking holiday. Always research your destination and choose routes that are suitable for the physical abilities of you and your group. Hiking with friends is safer than hiking alone and it also makes the walk more enjoyable!

Close up of a pair of hiking boots, worn by someone standing on a tree stump

Take Appropriate Clothing

Always make sure that you have the right clothing for your trip. You will need to invest in a sturdy pair of walking boots or shoes that support your ankles. Walking sticks will also give you better control even in wet and slippery conditions.

Wearing two pairs of socks on top of each other will help to prevent blisters. So wear a thin pair of socks made from silk, nylon or polyester underneath a thicker pair of wool socks. Make sure that the outer sock isn’t too bulky so that it will fit in your walking boot. If you’re going on an all-day hike, take some spare socks to make sure your feet stay dry. 

Layers of clothes will help you to stay warm and dry so layer up thermals, fleeces and light waterproof clothing. Remember to take gloves and a hat as well, to avoid losing heat through your head.

Safety First

You should also always have a first-aid kit with you and it’s important to make sure you know basic first aid. Be sure to tell someone at home your plans for the day, including your route and approximate return time. That way they can raise the alarm if you’re not back at the time they expect you. 

What3Words is a useful app to have on your phone for a hiking holiday. It allows you to share your exact location with the emergency services, even if you’re in an unfamiliar location.

People hiking through mountains on a grey cloudy day

Be Prepared

You should also always carry enough water and food with you when heading out for a hike. It’s normal to burn more energy when walking in the winter due to the cold temperatures so always take more than you think you need, just in case you need emergency supplies.

As well as plenty of water to keep you hydrated, you will also need food that provides plenty of energy. Don’t take anything that will get squashed easily, needs to be prepared or needs utensils to eat it. You’re looking for a quick energy boost, not a three course meal! 

Always take snacks that you enjoy eating, and a mix of sweet and savoury options is a good idea. Calorie-dense foods like bananas, protein bars, nuts and seeds are all good options but you could also take flapjacks, hummus and veggie sticks or even slices of cold pizza!

Take Your Time

Accidents often happen when people are rushing, so make sure you should take your time on your hike. You’re not in a race, unless your hike actually is a race of course!

So take time to breathe in the fresh air, take breaks when you need them and make the most of your beautiful surroundings. Hiking has so many benefits for both your physical and mental health, and as long as you take sensible precautions, a winter walking holiday can be a very enjoyable break.

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