The Down Hill Walkers

Hiking Tips

How to Read a Map

First, you need to determine your bearing (the direction you need to travel). Use the following procedure to obtain an exact travel direction

towards your desired destination. The procedure will work if the magnetic North-South lines are drawn on the map.

 1 a) Place the compass on the map so that the long edge connects the starting point with the desired destination.

b) Make sure that the direction arrows are pointing from the starting point to the place of destination (and not the opposite way).

c) At this point, you may want to use the scales on your compass (if available) to determine the distance you need to travel.

 2 a) Hold the compass firm on the map in order to keep the base plate steady.

b)Turn the rotating capsule until the North-South lines on the bottom of the capsule are parallel with the North-South lines on the map.

c) Be sure that the North-South arrow on the bottom of the capsulepoints to the same direction as North on the map. It is here you will make

adjustments for declination, if necessary.

 3 a) Hold the compass in your hand in front of you. Makesure that the base plate is in horizontal position, and that the direction arrows are

pointing straight ahead.

b) Rotate your body until the North-South arrow on the bottom of the capsule lines up with the magnetic needle, and the red end of the

needle points in the same direction as the arrow.
c) The directional arrows on the baseplate now show your desired travel direction.

Now that you have determined your necessary bearing, you need to make sure you maintain an accurate bearing. First, you should find a

suitable target in the terrain (e.g., a tree, boulder or a bush) towards which the direction arrows point. Walk towards the chosen object

without looking at your compass. When you reach your target, find a new object that is aligned with your bearing, and repeat the process.

Tip 2: Sometimes the compass capsule may get turned accidentally while you are walking. Remember to check from time to time that the

capsule has not deviated from the direction that had been set on the compass.

Tip 3: Remember the difference between the magnetic needle that always points to the magnetic North Pole and the direction arrows the

show the travel direction.


Taking Care With Hiking Boots, Shoes And Hiking Socks

Hiking boots, shoes and hiking socks are all likely to be the biggest cause of blisters when out hiking if you don't choose them wisely. And, with many people now opting to buy hiking boots or shoes via the internet these days, in other words without having tried them on first, this can be one of the main causes of blisters and other foot conditions. The fact is that your footwear is the single most important item of your clothing apparel given that it will be your feet which bear the brunt of the stresses and strains that come with walking as an activity. Therefore, even if it costs a little more, you should really visit an outdoor store where you can seek professional advice from staff who are often outdoor enthusiasts themselves who will be able to answer any questions and also you'll be able to tell them the kind of hiking you will be mostly doing so that they can suggest a selection of hiking boots or shoes as well as hiking socks that are likely to be most suitable for you. Additionally, unlike buying sight unseen from the internet or a catalogue, you'll also be given the opportunity to try on a selection of footwear first before deciding on which ones to buy. The key is that the hiking boots or shoes should feel completely comfortable worn with the correct hiking socks whose material should be thick to avoid blisters. Because of that, you'll probably find that you may need to buy a hiking boot or shoe size which could be half a size to a size greater than what your everyday shoe size would be. Thick hiking socks are important for a number of reasons:

They provide extra padding for your feet
They reduce the friction between your feet and the boots themselves
They wick away the sweat

And it's all three factors here that are crucial when it comes to the prevention of blisters.

Breaking Your Hiking Boots In First Before Hiking

One you've decided on a combination of hiking boots and hiking socks, you need to break them in first. Don't simply assume that because they felt comfortable when you tried them on in the store that you're now prepared to tackle a 10 mile hike straight away in new boots. Break them in on shorter walks, even if that's initially just a 5 minute walk each day to the shops. You'll soon get to know what combination of socks and the way you lace up your boots feels most comfortable and it's only by knowing this that you'll be prepared for when you actually venture out on a proper hike. Additionally, the more you wear them for everyday use initially, the quicker the boots will mould to accommodate the shape of your feet.

The Importance Of Keeping Your Feet Aired And Dry When Hiking

No matter what hiking boots you buy, it's inevitable that with the walking you're doing as well as the thick hiking socks which are designed to protect your feet, they will get sweaty and hot so whenever you take a rest during your walk, it's important to remove your boots and socks and give your feet a chance to dry off and cool down, which helps prevent blisters. In fact, carrying a small flannel or hand towel or some wet wipes will help with this and, ideally, you should bring at least one additional pair of hiking socks with you. It shouldn't be too heavy a burden on what you're carrying to pack 3 or 4 pairs of thick hiking socks which you can use throughout the day's hike and it's the changing out of sweaty socks and putting fresh dry ones on as well as airing your feet that is one of the best methods of preventing blisters from occurring.

Recognise Foot Irritation At The Earliest Opportunity To Avoid Blisters

Before blisters even get a chance to form, you'll almost certainly recognise some kind of minor irritation that your feet are experiencing when hiking. As soon as you feel that, stop and remove your hiking boots and socks. It may well be that a piece of grit has got into your boot or sock or your feet are sweating that much that you need to dry them off and change into a fresh pair of hiking socks. Many hikers suffer from blisters because of their sheer determination to cover a certain amount of ground before their next rest stop. However, they're not doing themselves any favours by adopting that mentality as by the time they reach their next scheduled rest stop, it may be too late and the blisters will have formed already.

Therefore, by using your own common sense when it comes to buying hiking boots and hiking socks that feel comfortable as opposed to choosing them solely on the basis of style as well as understanding how and why blisters form and by taking preventative action first, you should always be able to enjoy your hikes without suffering from the discomfort of blisters.

( Article from -

Hiking Tips

The thing to remember about wild camping is that in England, apart from Dartmoor and Scotland you have no legal right to set up camp anywhere you wish, but providing you respect the land and follow the following guidelines you should be ok.

1. Pitch camp at dusk and leave by dawn or as early as you can. Don't even in remote area's stay longer than you need to.

2. Camp high, try and set camp away from major path's. The more remote the better.

3. Don't set up your toilet arrangements within 50 meters of running water, streams etc. Remember to pack a small shovel to bury your waste!

4. Leave no trace of your being there, take all rubbish with you.

Wild Camp

Wild Camping

Hill Walking Essentials by Cotswolds

Backpacking Kit Video

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