Top tips for Autumn hikes
Well, summer came and went in the blink of an eye didn’t it? One moment it was spring, and the next we’re getting the big jumpers out of the wardrobe again…
But let’s not get all doom and gloom about it! There are plenty of reasons why autumn and winter are fantastic seasons in their own right, and some of the best times of the year to head out hiking – there’s the gorgeous colours as the leaves turn, and the unique feeling of heading out on a clear, frosty morning.
However, there are a few things you need to be wary of when hiking in autumn or winter, and the lovely guys from Winfields Outdoors have provided us with their top tips…
Beware the shorter days.
Those shorter days and longer nights just creep up on you, don’t they? Before you know it, you’re leaving the house and coming home from work in the dark, and you’ve started worrying about your lack of vitamin D.
When you go hiking, it’s important that you take the earlier sunsets into account and plan your day accordingly. If you don’t, you run the risk of being caught in the dark, making it much easier to get lost – the perils of which are pretty obvious.
We recommend this handy website for working out when the sun sets around the UK.
Just to be on the safe side make sure you have some form of lighting with you – something like a torch or headlamp is ideal – just in case you do find yourself outside in the dark. If it’s going to be extra cold, consider using lithium batteries - alkaline batteries have liquid inside and don’t perform well in very cold temperatures.
Don’t get chilly.
We do occasionally get some nice, warm weather in autumn, but for the most part, it’s a little on the cool side, and we all know how cold it can get in winter.
With that in mind, whenever you’re outside hiking make sure you have the appropriate clothing to keep you warm. It might look like a nice sunny day outside, but those days are often the coldest in winter.
Make sure you wear plenty of layers - base layers, fleeces, coats, etc. - and if you have a rucksack you can always take a layer off if you get too warm!
Again, plan your day - once the sun goes down, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the temperature drops.
Relish the rain.
We get our fair share of rain all year round here in the United Kingdom, but obviously, when autumn comes we tend to get a little bit more! But that’s no reason to stay inside - you just need the right clothing!
Invest in a good quality waterproof coat and pair of trousers and you’ll soon find that the rain really isn’t that much of a big deal. It’s also a good idea to treat your clothing and walking boots with Grangers’ range of protection products so that you’re sure water won’t get in. It’s particularly important if you’ve had your clothing a while.
Check the quality of the trail.
With a change in weather, it’s important that you keep a close eye on conditions underfoot. A sudden downpour could loosen the ground and make it unstable, while an overnight frost could make for extremely hazardous conditions. A good set of walking poles to help keep you steady could be a wise choice in these cases.
Of course, you should ensure you always have a good quality pair of walking boots or shoes whenever you hike, but if a trail appears dangerous then it’s probably worth taking a rain check.
Be aware of local hunting seasons.
In the UK (and plenty of other countries), autumn marks the start of shooting season. As such, it’s incredibly important you’re aware of where you’re hiking and if there are any shoots in the area, particularly if you have a dog with you.
The permissible dates for shooting vary in different parts of the UK (and for different animals), so make sure you’re fully clued up on where and when you’re going. This list will show you when the shooting season starts around the country.
Let someone know.
It’s always wise to let someone know when you’re going off on a hike. Chances are you’ll be absolutely fine and there won’t be any problems, but if someone knows where and when you’re going then they’re more likely to be able to help if you do find yourself in a spot of bother.
Finally, stay safe and have fun while you’re outside hiking this autumn and winter!