Follow these simple steps to stay safe on your next walking holiday.
Buy your boots early. Half a size bigger than normal, your feet will swell (flights, age, heat). Wear them all the time, not just walking, to Zumba, fishing, doing genealogy research, reading, to bed (a change from bedsocks).
If you're planning a full day's walking or more, do make sure you have trained for a month or two before, starting with an hour and building up to the length your anticipated trip.
Consider the terrain you’ll be covering and try to do at least some practise somewhere similar.
3. Check the weather
This is essential for longer walks, especially in the hills or on moorland. Don’t be afraid to cancel if bad conditions are forecast.
Anticipate all possibilities, take a kagoul, hat, large square scarf and spare socks at the very least. And sunscreen and sunglasses if the weather looks kind.
Make sure you're absolutely sure of your route and take a copy of the map with you, noting points of interest and safety, phone boxes for example. There’s no harm in knowing where the nearest A&E department is either.
5. Tell someone
Just before you set off, tell someone when to expect you back and give them your contact number too.
Arrange for them to ring you at a pre-determined time if you haven’t returned. This is absolutely vital if you’re walking alone.
6. First Aid kit
A small, ready made one from pharmacies is great, or make up your own with blister plasters, insect bite cream, micro-pore and lint, antiseptic wipes, painkillers and glucose tablets.
Epi-pens are essential for those with allergies. If any of the group take medication, have some with you just in case. Vaseline is incredibly useful, smear it thinly all over your feet to prevent blisters, and it’s good on the legs to stop chafing.
7. Walking poles
A fantastic help. You become a quadruped and spread the load. It’s not elegant, but great for aching hips and shorter legs.
A few practise runs with these are vital, once you’ve got used to them, they’ll become indispensable.
Drink plenty of water. Even on a chilly day, your body needs to be hydrated, and when it’s warm, you might require 3 litres for a day. A water carrier in a rucksack can be very useful.
In it have additional clothes, water, snacks such as boiled sweets, peanuts and chocolate (all good for energy), tissues, fully charged mobile phone, spare glasses, medication, first aid kit, Vaseline and your contact details.
Watch for signs of dehydration, flushed face and red ears or someone becoming very quiet, even withdrawn. Immediately get into the shade or create some with the square scarf.
Get the walker to drink water, then pour some over their head, neck and face gently and get them to wear a wet neck scarf. Monitor the situation for at least 2 or 3 hours.
For more information take a look at Silver Travel Advisor's walking holidays