Firstly and most importantly, ensure that you've had a good breakfast. This is perhaps the most important aspect of a day walk and your leader will want to ensure everyone has eaten before we set off. If the weather is spectacular (it does happen in Britain) we will stop for a short lunch break for a sandwich. But even on a hot day it is alarming how quickly we can get cold if we stop, and it can make getting going again harder. In winter we won't stop for more than a few minutes unless it's exceptional. You will need to have food you can easily eat, stuffed in pockets or easily accessible in your rucksack.
Your leaders will generally have an assortment of Snickers, Mars Bars, Tracker Bars, All day Cereal bars, peanuts and a sandwich. Bananas are good for energy (but easily squished). Some bring ready-made supermarket sandwiches, pies or pasties.
Between 1-2L water can be drunk depending on the nature of the walk and the weather. But these are rough guides. Ultimately you will want food that you can easily and quickly eat if we stop for a short period, that's high in energy, and that you like!
However much we'd love to say yes - to everyone who asks, this is our day (and night) job and it's how we pay the bills. We cannot offer special discounts for charity events no matter how great the cause or how much we might support it.
The rise in GPS technology over the past decade has been phenomenal. However batteries run out (especially when cold), tracking Apps chew up power, and smartphones don't mix well with rain. Every year mountain rescue services across Britain are called out because people are ill equipped for the conditions, the phone has died and they have no back-up navigation to fall back on when the mist comes in. Mountain Leaders, Instructors and Guides will use GPS technologies but generally only as a last resort or to confirm a location in an especially complex terrain where going wrong could lead to serious consequences. Nothing beats a map, compass and confidence using them. In the Highlands of Scotland, many mountains are so remote there are few if any tracks on them and it can be a gruelling slog through bogs and steep heather to get anywhere and wilderness camp-craft is an art in itself - especially working with the environment to minimise impact.
The relative accessibility makes some areas extremely popular - such as the 'tourist track' on Ben Nevis, built for donkeys to take Victorian ladies up to the observatory at the top. However visitors on this route miss absolutely anything of the mountain except a grassy slope and human traffic jams as a result. Mountain Leaders can take you off the beaten track to see some of the most stunning views and places, reduce the collective impact on a particular route, point out interesting features, and help pass on some of the skills needed to experience the mountains more independently.
All Mountain Leaders are required to hold a wilderness first aid certificate to deal with medical emergencies. We are also registered with the police to access 999 in remote areas to call for Mountain Rescue if required. Alerting us to any medical conditions is therefore vital so that we can look out for signs that something may be happening. All such information is kept in strictest confidence and only shared with the leader.
Well behaved dogs are welcome to come on plan your own events. However if you are wanting to go on a wilderness trek it will be your responsibility to bring the supplies your dog will need. Your dog will need to be housed in your tent and you will need to clear up dog mess and dispose of it responsibly once out of the wilderness.
For set, advertised events we do not permit dogs as there may be people coming who have an allergy or fear of dogs.
Dogs must be kept under control on a lead in particular areas and at particular times of year and you must agree not to let your dog off the lead unless the Leader tells you it's OK.
A Munro is a mountain in Scotland which is over 3,000ft high (or rather less romantically, 914.4 metres). There are currently 282 Munros listed by the Scottish Mountaineering Council. Just to add to this there are another whole host of mountain categories - the other most popular lists being the 222 Corbetts (Mountains in Scotland between 2,500ft and 2,999ft), 214 Wainwrights in England's Lake District, and the 14/15 Welsh 3,000's (depending on which ones you include...).
This is a rough colour-coded guide to how difficult or challenging a walk is. It cannot take into account your own personal level of fitness but along with the description given in each of the activities, should provide a snapshot of the likely terrain. If you are still unsure but interested, please get in touch
Many do, we don't. We prefer ensuring that the activity is going to be right for someone before they commit to parting with cash. A brief email exchange or a phonecall can often be enough.
Most of Northern Britain is in some parts hilly and mountainous with deep dales and glens. We don't have the longest river or the highest mountain or the great planes on this small island, but we've got a bit of everything! Our highest mountain (Ben Nevis at 1,345m / 4,411ft) isn't Alpine but is partially snow-covered all year round most years.
We have the Gulf stream hitting us straight off the Atlantic. That means we regularly have all four seasons in one day in the hills. White-out blizzards on the summer solstice are not unheard of. We typically lose a degree celsius every 100m vertically up and despite the lack of glaciers characteristic of the great mountain ranges - some of the best narrow knife edge ridges, scrambles, and big face rock/ice climbing anywhere. The North Face of Ben Nevis is on any serious mountaineer's tick list for winter climbs.
This shouldn't be a problem on day walks. If you need to pee you can usually find a discreet spot. Please avoid having a pee near obvious places where others may sit for a break such as view points, summits and near paths and streams. And definitely not near dwellings and farms.
We do carry a small trowel, some loo role and some sanitising hand gel if you need a poo. On wilderness camping treks you may want to bring your own loo essentials and we will advise on where to go and where not to go to protect the environment (and dignity!) - this is especially important when there is a group of us. But wilderness treks tend to be in really quite remote locations and it's actually rare to encounter another person for several days!
UK Hillwalking offer some good advice about how to deal with such eventualities in the outdoors.
Again, this will come down to personal choice. None of this may seem to be the most appetising when sat at home, but after a day out in the mountains almost anything will seem like 5* restaurant food!
We can provide Wayfayrer meals which are already hydrated, but this will need to be arranged with us beforehand when you make a booking. You can also buy your own from a good outdoor equipment store or from Wayfayrer directly (please see here).
Freeze-dried food is also good in that it is lighter. There are a range of these available from any good outdoor store. A popular range comes from Mountain House (please see here)
There are numerous blogs about food when out backpacking written by some long distance experts. Please note that we'll be out for 1-2 nights. It is always a good idea to bring some spare/emergency food. It's better to have more than you need. In the highlands we tend to refill from higher streams. Your leader will have some chlorine tablets should you want them.
These blogs may have moved or gone as they are external, but for some ideas please see here or simply google search for 'backpacking meals'