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Preparation

Preparation is absolutely key to having a good, safe day out in the hills. In fact if you prepare well everything else will follow.

The most common mistakes made in preparation (or through lack of preparation!) are:

  • Underestimating the time a walk will take, either because it turns out to be much longer than originally imagined or the terrain is more difficult.
  • Overestimating the capabilities of the party, so that again the route takes much longer than expected or, worse still, people are not able to complete it at all.
  • Not taking account of variable weather or the terrain, so that you or members of your party are not adequately clothed or equipped for the conditions you encounter.
  • Not having considered suitable 'escape routes' if things don't quite go to plan.

Glencoeinsnow.jpgFortunately all of these potential problems can be avoided with a little bit of forethought. Planning a walk is, in many ways, all part of the fun. It should give you a clear idea of what to expect during the day and thus help to lift your expectations of the pleasures to come!

In this section we cover the main considerations when planning a route in the hills. When you have finished your planning you will also have a pretty good idea of what you and your party will need to wear and what you'll need to take with you, both of which are covered in more detail in the following sections.
 

Useful publications

Hill Walking: The Official Handbook of the Mountain Leader and Walking Group Leader Schemes is a comprehensive guide to planning and leading a walk in the hills. If you intend to do a lot of hill walking it is well worth having a copy, even if you don't intend to qualify officially as a mountain leader.

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