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  1. Careful Preparation Encouraged To Enjoy Walking In Snowdonia

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    Walkers in Snowdonia are being encouraged by the MountainSafe Partnership to take advantage of the large number of walking trails as an alternative to the summits. However, with the unsettled weather, preparation is essential.

    Mair Huws, Head of Wardens and Access at Snowdonia National Park Authority explains, “Walking on mountains can be very difficult if the weather’s hot, especially when you can’t shelter from the sun. Also, taking tired young children to a mountain summit isn’t fun and it can result in children having very negative attitudes towards walking for the rest of their lives! Please remember that you don’t have to venture to the high summits to enjoy the beauty of Snowdonia. What about taking one of the lowland routes or some of the forest trails – Coed y Brenin near Dolgellau or the Fisherman’s Path near Beddgelert or the Aber Falls path near Abergwyngregyn?”

    There are plenty of suggestions for family walks on the Snowdonia National Park website, www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/visiting/walking/family-walks

    Once you decide where you’re going, remember that you need to prepare for your journey to be safe, even in summer:

    • Prepare beforehand – take a map, compass and make sure that you take plenty of water
    • Dress suitably – sun hat, sun cream, waterproofs and thermal baelayers – just in case!
    • Weather – take a look at the Met Office’s forecast for Snowdonia and don’t be afraid to cancel your walk if conditions are unsuitable
    • Respect the mountain and local communities, follow the Countryside Code and remember to take rubbish home.

  2. Safety Kit To Carry In Your Rucksack

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    In your rucksack, a hot drink, food, snacks, basic first aid kit, survival bag and a head torch (check the batteries) are the bare essentials. A map and compass or GPS should be handy and in use whilst a safety whistle should be easy to reach not buried in a rucksack pocket. It’s worth giving your footwear and clothing a good check – clean, reproof and treat as needed. Plan a walk based on your fitness, realistic speed over the ground, daylight available and, of course, the weather. Let somebody know where you are going and head off for the fun.

     

  3. Map And Compass Navigation For Walkers

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    Competent use of a map and compass, even in fine weather on a waymarked route, adds a positive dimension to the landscape beyond knowing where you are and identifying features around you. In more demanding country and deteriorating weather conditions, basic navigation skills are more than just useful, they’re essential.

    At best, good navigation skills avoid spoiling a day’s hillwalking by getting lost and tired. At worst, they avoid getting into more serious trouble as the causes of so many mountain rescue incidents can be traced back to poor navigation. There is no substitute to spending time on mastering map and compass in practice rather than theory.

    Happily, there are plenty of courses available as well as books to set you on the right track. The National Navigation Award Scheme has info on training courses at approved outdoor centres throughout the country and offers tests of navigational skills – bronze, silver and gold. Contact: www.nnas.org.uk. Who knows? You might get hooked and take up competitive orienteering – where brains and navigation skills matter as much as fitness.

    A simple navigation checklist includes:

    • appropriate scale map – waterproofed or carried in a map case folded to the right place.
    • compass kept to hand and used with the map for reliable route-finding including diversions from the plan you made at home.
    • wearing a watch helps you to judge your pace and progress allowing an opportunity to adjust plans in good time.
    • if you are relying on a GPS unit which uses satellite signals to pinpoint your position and route, then make sure it’s powered up to last the whole of your route and carry a map as well. A traditional compass comes into its own in case of GPS problems and weighs next to nothing in your rucksack.
    • pen or pencil to make notes; a waterproof notebook means you don’t have to rely on your memory. It’s really useful to avoid that when you’re tired!

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