I am born and bred in Glasgow – the closest I ever got to any hills was the view of the Campsie Fells from my bedroom window.
The main problem about growing up in the city was that everyone and everything were so close, you got to the ‘town’ via the ‘Clockwork Orange’, Glasgow’s version of the London Underground. Until I moved to the Lake District 18 months ago, my knowledge of hills and walking were fairly limited, with exception of the annual holiday trip to Arran of the west coast of Scotland, as a boy.
You soon realise that in the Lakes you have two options – you either stay in or you don’t. Well I tried the stay in option for a few weeks, got bored and then started moving!
I started with a few low level circuits of Ambleside whilst taking photos – after all you can’t really walk around such a picturesque place and not sneak a few snaps… I then graduated to Loughrigg – that’s the hill for people who don’t usually do hills, eventually building my confidence to try walks like Wansfell, Red Screes, Nab Scar and the Fairfield Horse Shoe.
Living in the Lakes and working for ‘Rohan‘ has helped me understand the concepts of clothing being lightweight, packable and breathable. I can help my customers choose the right items, but it’s also helped me understand what’s best for a day in the Lakeland fells. After a few trips, not to mention slip ups, I have managed to produce an ideal kit list for the novice fell walker:
My Ideal kit list:
- An OS map of the area – with a compass if you need it!
- A phone with GPS, more to track your progress rather than location, you could use tracking software like ‘Endomondo’.
- Plenty of water or drinking fluid.
- Food, fruit and a high energy snack.
- Protective eye wear, Monte Rosa sunglasses are my preferred choice.
- Sunblock and insect repellent, apply prior to your trip to save carrying them.
- A backpack with good support and a vented back such as Stravaig 18 or equivalent.
- Appropriate clothing for the weather, although pack for most eventualities.
- Always take three layers: a base layer, Core T or Merino depending on the weather,
- A mid layer, maybe a Microgrid Fleece and a lightweight waterproof – our Elite Jacket fits the bill!
- Trousers – fast drying, fast wicking and fairly robust, Trailblazers are really comfortable and stretchy or wear waterproofs if necessary.
- Walking poles are great for navigating uneven terrain or just to absorb some shock on the knees on your descent.
- Waterproof, boots or shoes with comfortable support and good grips.
- Ultra Silver boxers and good quality socks – not sports socks!
Tips for the fells:
Research your route - take a printed copy with you. Try this website Walking Englishman
Be prepared for any weather – remember a forecast is just that and conditions can change quickly.
Let someone know – when you are leaving and when to expect you back.
Wear the best kit you can afford – you never know when you will need it or rely on it.
Think weight – only take what you need.
If possible link a pub or tearoom to your day; nothing refreshes you more than a little stop enroute!
Paul – Rohan Ambleside Other Posts by Paul