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Hiking beginner

lolasgettingmarriedlolasgettingmarried Posts: 15Member, Premium Member Posts: 15Member, Premium Member
Hello!

My partner and I are really wanting to get into our hiking. We live in the Scottish Borders and the walking and hiking routes are endless. We’ve been walking our dogs for 45 mins every night, building up our pace as we’re both pretty unfit. (I’m hoping to start jogging and running soon) We’d love to go a big walk or hike on the weekends (spend the entire day outdoors and then have a rest day) but looking for some hints and tips to ensure we don’t knacker ourselves which always puts us off.

Any advise for walking or hiking would be much appreciated!
edited January 10
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Replies

  • Running2FitRunning2Fit Posts: 579Member Member Posts: 579Member Member
    Bringing enough water is probably the most important. I usually take snacks/lunch as well if it’s an all day hike.

    Research your trail. There’s so much information out there for hikers. You’ll be able to find ones that are a more gradual elevation gain and a bit easier. If you just pick at random you run the risk of accidentally ending up on a trail more difficult than you are ready for.

    Take breaks when you need it. It’s not a race, it you need to catch your breath just step off the to side for a few minutes.

    Honestly, I’ve never done much prep for hiking. I just go and have a good time.
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Posts: 1,892Member Member Posts: 1,892Member Member
    Bring a daypack with the 10 Essentials: raingear, flashlight, map, water, food, warm clothes, first aid kit, etc. Don't just rely on your phone's GPS, having a map that shows all the trails in the area you are hiking can be a lifesaver. When I started hiking, I would do the Colin Fletcher hour: 50 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of resting. If that is too much, walk for 25 minutes, then take a short break to drink water and rest your legs. If you're going to be hiking all day, then take your shoes off at longer rest breaks to air them out and dry out your feet (cuts down on blisters).
  • magster4isumagster4isu Posts: 585Member Member Posts: 585Member Member
    I learned the hard way to bring an extra pair of socks when going on a long hike.
  • lalalacroixlalalacroix Posts: 166Member Member Posts: 166Member Member
    Lots of good recommendations. Don't know what the Scottish Borders are like, but where I live new hikers get lost often and many times don't have a good outcome. The 10 essentials are called that for a good reason so check out that list.

    I often see people hiking with nothing, not even water. A little preparation can make your hike more enjoyable and even save your *kitten* if a situation happens.

    Also not a bad idea to learn about weather patterns in that area. You wouldn't want to be caught up on a high ridge during an afternoon thunderstorm, as an example.
  • jjpptt2jjpptt2 Posts: 4,247Member Member Posts: 4,247Member Member
    lorrpb wrote: »
    Of course, even a short hike can be stretched out to last half a day or more with rest stops to take in the view, lunch stop, photography, etc.

    That is a very good point. You can most definitely spend all day outside in the woods without spending the entire day actually hiking.
  • SuzySunshine99SuzySunshine99 Posts: 807Member Member Posts: 807Member Member
    I'd recommend hiking poles. They help with your balance on uneven terrain and save your knees a bit on inclines and declines.
  • 7elizamae7elizamae Posts: 688Member Member Posts: 688Member Member
    Hiking is my very favorite thing to do. I follow a lot of hiking Instagrammers, and Scotland appears to be the most beautiful place in the world! So, I'm kinda jealous of you.

    I agree with previous posters that hiking poles are really helpful. I can go faster with less fatigue when I use poles, and they are super helpful for balance on rocky terrain or when crossing streams.

    Bring rain gear. Bring enough water. Bring a map. Be familiar with the route before you begin.

    The biggest problem I've ever had is getting overheated and worrying about enough water. I've never run out, but it's not fun worrying about it.



    I
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 7,851Member Member Posts: 7,851Member Member
    Water is heavy. If you know there will be water along your route when you do it, you can bring a filter and not have to carry so much.
  • lolasgettingmarriedlolasgettingmarried Posts: 15Member, Premium Member Posts: 15Member, Premium Member
    Wow thank you so much everyone!! So much amazing advice, we’ve read through it all and are feeling really motivated. I think we’ll definitely start small - work our way up to a couple of hours brisk walking before we tackle the hills. We’re really lucky in that there’s loads of trails which are so we’ll sign posted and have downloadable maps online which you can print and bring with you. I think we just need to get a bit braver (and fitter). Thanks so much for all your hints and tips :)
  • yirarayirara Posts: 3,604Member Member Posts: 3,604Member Member
    Water is heavy. If you know there will be water along your route when you do it, you can bring a filter and not have to carry so much.

    I wouldn't do that in the borders, or most other places in Scotland though. There are often cows, sometimes sheep out in the hills, and you don't want to drink that water.
  • yirarayirara Posts: 3,604Member Member Posts: 3,604Member Member
    Another thing comes to mind: Even if it's not cold: a mobile phone's battery can drain very quickly just from windchill. Keep it for emergencies, not for routing if you can. Or have a battery pack with you.
  • ach_75ach_75 Posts: 169Member Member Posts: 169Member Member
    We are blessed in the UK to have access to spectacular countryside and mountains and it is great to hear you are looking forward to getting out and enjoying it.
    Take it slowly....perhaps do a few mini adventures within your comfort zone before embarking on anything more challenging.

    Check the weather in advance and on the morning...The Met Office do a decent job of it but I usually check a few places before I head out. Met Office, MWIS (Mountain Weather Information Service) and YR.no are my usual haunts.
    Being prepared is essential, even more so in the winter. Staying hydrated and well fuelled (from food) is key.
    Take extra warm layers including hat and gloves and keep them inside a waterproof bag which is inside your day pack.
    I always carry a group shelter....even if it is just somewhere pleasant to have lunch in.
    Do some research on any walking routes you intend to do (google is your friend).
    If you have the app 'Map My Walk' or 'Map my fitness' you can record some of your regular walks to get a good idea of your average walking pace on your regular type of terrain before you tackle anything longer/steeper.
    Start early! Give yourself more than enough time to get around your route and include plenty of rest stops.
    It is a good idea to learn how to use a map and compass properly (no batteries required!) if you cannot at the moment, it is a fun skill to learn but also a valuable one. (keep the phone for emergencies and keep it warm and dry to conserve battery life).
    Something to consider is an app called 'OS Locate' (it is made by the Ordnance Survey). It will give you a quick OS grid reference if you ever need it.


    And finally (from my own experience)....try not to get too fixated on 'bagging' a summit or hitting a particular distance; realising that it is time to turn around and head back to the car is also a valuable skill. Sometimes the weather is against us,sometimes we bite off a bit more than we can chew.....the hills and countryside will still be there next week/month/year to enjoy again.

    Stay safe and enjoy your time outdoors!



  • lorrpblorrpb Posts: 9,520Member Member Posts: 9,520Member Member
    ach_75 wrote: »
    We are blessed in the UK to have access to spectacular countryside and mountains and it is great to hear you are looking forward to getting out and enjoying it.
    Take it slowly....perhaps do a few mini adventures within your comfort zone before embarking on anything more challenging.

    Check the weather in advance and on the morning...The Met Office do a decent job of it but I usually check a few places before I head out. Met Office, MWIS (Mountain Weather Information Service) and YR.no are my usual haunts.
    Being prepared is essential, even more so in the winter. Staying hydrated and well fuelled (from food) is key.
    Take extra warm layers including hat and gloves and keep them inside a waterproof bag which is inside your day pack.
    I always carry a group shelter....even if it is just somewhere pleasant to have lunch in.
    Do some research on any walking routes you intend to do (google is your friend).
    If you have the app 'Map My Walk' or 'Map my fitness' you can record some of your regular walks to get a good idea of your average walking pace on your regular type of terrain before you tackle anything longer/steeper.
    Start early! Give yourself more than enough time to get around your route and include plenty of rest stops.
    It is a good idea to learn how to use a map and compass properly (no batteries required!) if you cannot at the moment, it is a fun skill to learn but also a valuable one. (keep the phone for emergencies and keep it warm and dry to conserve battery life).
    Something to consider is an app called 'OS Locate' (it is made by the Ordnance Survey). It will give you a quick OS grid reference if you ever need it.


    And finally (from my own experience)....try not to get too fixated on 'bagging' a summit or hitting a particular distance; realising that it is time to turn around and head back to the car is also a valuable skill. Sometimes the weather is against us,sometimes we bite off a bit more than we can chew.....the hills and countryside will still be there next week/month/year to enjoy again.

    Stay safe and enjoy your time outdoors!



    This (bolded) is wise advice. The reason many people get in trouble. The main reason people die on Mt Everest, although I realize that short local hikes tend to be more forgiving. But in the hills/mountains, anything can happen.
  • dmkoenigdmkoenig Posts: 198Member Member Posts: 198Member Member
    A lot of really good suggestions above. If you are really going to make hiking a big part of your lifestyle I can't recommend enough investing in really good hiking shoes. I mean really good hiking shoes. If your feet are hurting or wet or get blisters it will be a miserable experience and a good pair of shoes will last years. Get something that is not too clunky but has good ankle support, and since you are living in a climate where it rains a lot, Goretex is a wonderful thing to have wrapped around your feet. You can splash through streams and keep bone dry. My absolute favorite shoes are Lowa Renegade GTX. Not cheap but worth their weight in gold. My wife has narrow feet and they come in different widths so they will fit most people. We go to Colorado every year and my wife goes hiking with a gaggle of women daily and most of them continuously complain about their feet. My wife just motors along with a big smile on her face in her Lowa's. https://www.switchbacktravel.com/reviews/lowa-renegade-gtx-mid
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 7,851Member Member Posts: 7,851Member Member
    yirara wrote: »
    Water is heavy. If you know there will be water along your route when you do it, you can bring a filter and not have to carry so much.

    I wouldn't do that in the borders, or most other places in Scotland though. There are often cows, sometimes sheep out in the hills, and you don't want to drink that water.

    I prefer not to drink water cows have walked and pooped in too. I didn't have a choice for the 3 days I spent camped in Horseshoe Basin because it was 10 miles from the nearest road, that's a long way to carry water. I'm just posting this as an FYI, filters and purifiers will make this kind of water safe to drink. If you prefer to carry your own water, then by all means do it. :smile:
  • earlnabbyearlnabby Posts: 6,921Member Member Posts: 6,921Member Member
    Hello!

    My partner and I are really wanting to get into our hiking. We live in the Scottish Borders and the walking and hiking routes are endless. We’ve been walking our dogs for 45 mins every night, building up our pace as we’re both pretty unfit. (I’m hoping to start jogging and running soon) We’d love to go a big walk or hike on the weekends (spend the entire day outdoors and then have a rest day) but looking for some hints and tips to ensure we don’t knacker ourselves which always puts us off.

    Any advise for walking or hiking would be much appreciated!

    The most important thing to me is having appropriate socks. Shoes/boots are important but bad socks can make them useless in preventing foot problems. For general walking on pavement or relatively flat trails I like lightweight cushioned socks. When I do serious hiking (long distances, bushwhacking, or hilly terrain) I typically wear medium hiking socks (heavy if it is really cold). My favorite brands are Smartwool and Wigwam (not sure what would be available to you) which are both Merino wool. They are soft and cushioning but also wick moisture away. Always take a second (or even third) pair and change when they feel sweaty.

    I have never been in the Borders (need to go sometime because my ancestral seat is Ferniehirst Castle) but I have hiked in the western Highlands. I am jealous.
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