Essential hill walking know-how

Posted by Carey Davies on 07/01/2016
Hill walking on Dale Head in the Lake District

Hill walking is the antidote to a hectic world. Whether a newbie to the hills or a more seasoned walker looking to build on your skills, we’ve got loads of advice and information for you right here on the BMC website.

There are few better ways to recharge batteries than a weekend of wandering on the hills of the Lake District, Snowdonia or the Highlands.

What's more, this balm for the soul is accessible to everyone. But despite its simplicity, there are some things you need to know to go hill walking safely and comfortably. Luckily, on our mountains and moors a little bit of knowledge goes a long way, and the rewards in terms of health, wellbeing and happiness will last a lifetime.

Whether you’re just starting out or are looking to take your skills up a notch into scrambling or winter mountaineering, we’ve put together some of the most useful articles on the BMC website into this handy list.

The basics

Ten reasons why hill walking is better than the gym

Researchers have concluded that walking is better for you than going to the gym. Here's why. 

Five steps to starting hill walking

Five tips to get you started in the hills and mountains.

How to take your dog hill walking

Some tips for taking your four-legged friends with you into the hills and mountains.

Clothing and equipment

What gear do you need to start hill walking?

Your first walk in a hill or mountain area is an experience you will almost certainly remember. But poor planning or bad weather (or even a closed tea shop!) can quickly ruin things. Here are some tips to prevent that happening.

Mountain clothing for climbing and walking

Britain’s mountains may not be the highest or most spectacular, but they do sit in the path of the prevailing Atlantic weather systems. This can result in some seriously hostile weather! So, when venturing into the hills and mountains you should take suitable protective clothing for the conditions, which may change dramatically over the course of the day.

Smartphone apps: handle with care

The increasing number of hill walkers being rescued after relying on smartphone apps for navigation has prompted a rash of negative newspaper headlines. Ed Douglas discovers there’s no substitute for a map and compass.

Using trekking poles

Trekking poles are invaluable to reduce stress on joints and preserve the health of the body over a lifetime. Here are some tips on using them.

Skills and hazards

Basics of map reading

Being able to read a map and find your way around the hills is an essential skill for all mountain users. Here are some pointers to help demystify what all those lines mean.

Friction blisters: prevention and treatment

Most people will experience blisters at some point in their pursuits. Find out what you can do in this short article.

Taking care around cows

Each year there are reports of people who have been attacked by cows whilst out walking.

Aim high: four tips to fight your fear of heights

Are you a hill walker wanting to tackle steeper terrain, but nervous about heights? Don’t panic – there are steps you can take to fight the fear.

How to deal with ticks and midges

A few tips to avoid becoming a midge meal, or worse.

50 shades of grim: how to go hill walking in rubbish weather

Bad weather doesn’t have to mean a bad time. Here are five tips for making the most of awful conditions.

High and dry: six myths about hiking in the heat

Here’s the other end of the weather scale. Heat and sun are unusual hazards in our mountain areas, but it’s worth debunking some of the myths around exercise in hot conditions.

How to protect scrambles

Are you sorted for your scrambles, or do you think a skinny single comes from Starbucks? Time to rope up.

Ten mistakes winter walkers make – and how to avoid them

Only ever hill walked in summer before? Welcome to big school. Here’s your heads-up to some of the most common winter walking mistakes and how to steer clear of them. 

Ten Commandments of winter walking  

A scripture-inspired guide to surviving and thriving in the British hills as a walker in winter. Go forth and play.

Using micro crampons and mini spikes for winter hill walking

Micro crampons or mini spikes have become a popular alternative to walking crampons with many winter hill walkers, but do they offer enough security for the changeable ground conditions found in our winter mountains? Discover what the experts think in our article, and make up your own mind.

Emergency: who to call for help when in the mountains or on the crags

Ideas and inspiration

Top 7 hill walks for beginners

Seven suggestions to help you get started walking in the hills and mountains.

Seven superb summits to climb in spring

Catch a glimpse of the Alps in Wales, see a mysterious double sunset, and climb the Yorkshire summit said to be more impressive than K2.

Hill thrills: Britain’s top 6 scrambling nirvanas

Pointy mountains aren’t just a thing of the Alps – we have plenty of them here in Britain. Here are six of the best places to go for a weekend of nerve-testing scrambling.

Five magical mystery mountains

Mountains have always meant more to humanity than just lumps of rock. We take a look at five summits with mysterious, magical or mythological significance.

Winter Solstice: four of the best night walks

Four of the best night walks to enjoy, particularly at the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year and the astronomical beginning of winter.

5 of the best Snowdonian night walks

In December 2015, Snowdonia was officially crowned the world’s tenth Dark Sky Reserve. In celebration of this event, we go through the best way to experience the national park in all its starry glory.

Blencathra: the perfect hill

From famous mountaineers to mere mortals, everyone seems to have a soft spot for the ‘people’s mountain’. Here are five reasons why you should climb Blencathra.

8 wildlife-spotting walks

A calendar of easy family walks giving you the chance to spot the best British wildlife spectacles year round: breeding puffins to red squirrels, reindeer to sea eagles, otters to dolphins.

One’s company: the joy of solo hill walking

With thousands of miles of solo long distance walking under his belt, no-one is better placed than BMC Hill Walking Ambassador Chris Townsend to outline the attraction of heading out alone.

How to go hill walking at night

The mountains at night can be hazardous, but also wonderful. Carey Davies gives some tips for exploring the dark side. 

The experience of Scottish winter hill walking

What’s it like to experience Scottish winter hill walking for the first time. And how easily could you get up onto the high ground in the snow?

How to get into long-distance walking

Chris Townsend is one of the world’s most respected experts on long-distance walking. In this 'how to' interview, he offers tips for getting started with extended hikes.

Getting into long-distance walks: top tips from Chris Townsend

Three week-long route ideas for beginners, offering a mix of nature, history, solitude and challenge, plus Chris Townsend's top tips on getting the most out of the adventure.

How to go from walking to scrambling

Scrambling is the wobbly grey area that nestles between hiking and climbing. Whether you're hands-on-rock, or prefer to trudge up hands-in-pockets, it's a fun and faff-free way to tick off a summit. Here's how to make the step up, with top tips from instructors and experts.

7 reasons to try scrambling and where to start

Scrambling aficionados offer their top reasons why you should give it a go, plus three favourite routes to whet your appetite.

Scrambling articles on BMC website

Books and publications

New Hill Walker’s booklet

A great 28 page booklet covering essential skills for trips into the hills and mountains. Download it or order it from the BMC shop completely free.

Hill Walking Essentials DVD

Essential skills and techniques for hill walking. Follows two walkers, Fredelina and Ben, on days out in the British mountains. See how they prepare for their walks, the challenges they face and the decisions they make.

Courses

Prefer to be tutored in the skills you need in person? Check out these courses:

BMC Head for the Hills courses

Want to learn all the skills you need to be a confident hill walker at a bargain price? The BMC's courses include 'Head for the Hills' courses, affordable hill walking weekends for beginners at the famous Plas y Brenin mountain centre in Snowdonia, as well as more advanced courses in scrambling and winter skills.

Check out other BMC courses here

Hill and Mountain Skills

The BMC's partner organisation Mountain Training has just launched its new Hill and Mountain Skills Courses. They aim to equip you with the basic knowledge and safety skills required to participate in hill and mountain walking in your own time and are run by providers all over the UK.


JOIN THE BMC: 5 reasons hill walkers should join the BMC

Join online today by Direct Debit and save 50% on your first year's membership.

WATCH: What does the BMC do for hill walkers? on BMC TV

GET THE KNOWLEDGE: BMC resources for hill walkers

  • Hill Walking Essentials DVD: Follow Fredelina and Ben as they learn essential skills and techniques for the British mountains. Buy it now in the BMC shop.

Follow the BMC's hill walking Twitter feed: @BMC_Walk


« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 27554 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

Head for the hills courses
0
Head for the hills courses

Love the idea of walking in the mountains this summer but want to have the right know-how first? Join us in the heart of Snowdonia to learn the skills you need to be a confident hill walker, at a bargain price.
Read more »

Hill walkers: five reasons why you should join the BMC
0
Hill walkers: five reasons why you should join the BMC

Why should hill walkers join the BMC? Here are our top five reasons why BMC membership is a vital bit of kit.
Read more »

Chris Townsend becomes the BMC’s first hill walking ambassador
0
Chris Townsend becomes the BMC’s first hill walking ambassador

One of the world’s most respected experts on long-distance walking and backpacking is to become the BMC’s first hill walking ambassador.
Read more »

Post a Comment
Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
2
1) Anonymous
19/05/2016
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
2) Anonymous
19/05/2016
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed

RELATED ARTICLES

Head for the hills courses
0

Love the idea of walking in the mountains this summer but want to have the right know-how first? Join us in the heart of Snowdonia to learn the skills you need to be a confident hill walker, at a bargain price.
Read more »

Hill walkers: five reasons why you should join the BMC
0

Why should hill walkers join the BMC? Here are our top five reasons why BMC membership is a vital bit of kit.
Read more »

Chris Townsend becomes the BMC’s first hill walking ambassador
0

One of the world’s most respected experts on long-distance walking and backpacking is to become the BMC’s first hill walking ambassador.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £15.72.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »