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  1. Everything you need to know about staying sun safe

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    Make sure you stay sun safe this summer

    With summer in full swing, no doubt you have lots of fun, adventurous plans in the pipeline.

    Whether it’s hiking, camping, cycling, hitting the beach or planning a picnic in the park, there’s no better time to be outside, filling your lungs with fresh air and getting some much-needed vitamin D!

    And while it’s great to enjoy the warmer weather, it’s also important that you’re up to scratch on staying sun safe.

    No one wants to spend their leisure time burned or with sunstroke, or worse. So, to ensure that you and your family can have fun in the sun without worry, we’ve put together a handy guide for everything you need to know about sun safety.

    Cream Up

    Sun exposure can happen even on a cloudy British day, so if you’re out and about this summer, the number one rule is to slap on the sun cream regularly!

    Harmful UV rays are responsible for a number of ailments, from sunburn and premature ageing to more serious conditions such as skin cancer. That’s not to say you can’t safely enjoy the sun. Opting for a sun lotion of at least SPF30 and applying it every two to three hours if you’re outside for long periods of time can help protect you from sun damage.

    When buying sun cream, you should look for one that has at least a four-star UVA protection to ensure that it meets EU standards. You should also make sure it hasn’t past its expiry date. Most have a shelflife of two to three years.

    Sun protection factor (SPF) is a measure of the amount of ultraviolet B radiation (UBV) protection in the cream. This is rated on a scale of 2-50+, with 50+ offering the strongest protection and 2 offering the least. Sun creams that offer both UVA and UVB protection, sometimes referred to as ‘Broad Spectrum’, are the ones you should ideally opt for as they give you the best protection.

    So, how much sun cream should you apply for the best coverage, to stay sun safe?

    If you’re an adult, the equivalent of two tablespoons should do it. Although a good rule of thumb is the more the merrier, so don’t be afraid to apply it in excess!

    Applying plenty is particularly important for children and babies, whose skin is much more sensitive and vulnerable to sun damage. Babies under six months old should always be kept out of direct sunlight, and all children should be covered up with protective clothing, as well as being coated in a strong lotion with a high SPF.

    Whatever age you are, don’t forget to reapply lotion once you’ve been in water, even if your cream claims to be ‘water resistant’. The fact is, water washes it off, and when you’re in the ocean or a cool pool, you might not feel yourself getting burnt. Topping up your cream as soon as you’re out of water can reduce your chance of sun damage and keep the burn at bay.

    Seek the shade

    If you’re planning on spending the whole day outdoors, so to stay sun safe, make sure to hit the shade between 11am and 3pm, as this is when the sun is at its strongest. Even if you can’t avoid it completely, finding shady spots or shelters where you can eat lunch or take a break can help you escape the effects of sunstroke and keep you feeling cool and refreshed.

    Protect your eyes

    It’s super important to keep your eyes covered when you’re out in the sun. Being at the beach or anywhere that you’re exposed to bright sunshine can cause temporary burn to the eye’s surface, resulting in a painful sensation similar to sunburn of the skin.

    Reflected light from water, sand or concrete is also tough on the eyes, so it helps to have a good pair of sunglasses on hand to keep your peepers protected. Opt for styles with UVA/UVB protection and make sure they cover the whole of your eyes, so there’s no room for sunlight to creep in behind them.

    Know your limits

    While no one is exempt from the dangers of the sun, there are some people who are more at risk than others and they may need to take more precautions to stay sun safe.

    If you have pale skin, freckles, or red or fair hair, you should always wear a high factor sun cream and cover your skin with protective clothing and a hat. This is because pale skin is more prone to burning than darker skin tones.

    That’s not to say that those with darker skin are out of the woods. If you have any moles, you should regularly keep a close eye on them, and always cover them in the sun. If you notice any changes such as the appearance of a new mole, or a mole that has changed in size, shape or colour, it’s always best to check in with a doctor, just to be safe.

    Anyone with a family history of skin cancer should take extra care in the sun, as should anyone exposed to intense sun that their skin isn’t used to, such as when you’re on holiday.

    The better you know your skin and your limits regarding sun exposure, the easier it will be to protect yourself during summer expeditions.

    Stay hydrated

    Sun safety and keeping hydrated come hand in hand. Dehydration and heat exhaustion can lead to a multitude of issues, including dizziness, headaches and vomiting. The key is to stay hydrated, more so if you’re out in the sun for long periods of time.

    If you’re planning a hike or any similar outdoor activities, make sure to take along a reliable water bottle and keep it topped up regularly. Just make sure to steer clear of sugary drinks, caffeine or alcohol as these can lead to dehydration, as opposed to keeping it at bay.

    Sunburn SOS

    If you do happen to get burnt after a day in the sun, the first thing you should do is sponge the sore skin with cool water, before applying a soothing after-sun lotion, Aloe Vera cream or calamine lotion.

    If you’re suffering from a bad dose of sunstroke to go alongside your sunburn, make sure to drink plenty of water, and take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help reduce the inflammation and ease the pain.

    If at any point your skin starts to blister or swell, or you feel unwell with chills, high temperature, headaches, sickness or dizziness, go visit your doctor.

    No matter what summer adventures you’re planning, staying sun safe is essential. If you want to know more about how we can help keep your whole family healthy and happy in the sun, get in touch with our team or check out what’s on offer in our sunshine-friendly range.

  2. The difference between walking boots and trekking shoes

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    It’s incredibly important to have a pair of comfortable footwear when you are walking or trekking.

    With footwear, you need to pick the right choice for your feet, activity and terrain. Without them, it can lead to bruised, sore feet that could end your walk or trek earlier than expected.

    As similar activities, it can be confusing to understand the difference between walking and trekking, and why they may use different footwear.

    That’s why we’ve put together this guide so you can tell the difference between the two and pick your perfect footwear.

    Walking boots

    Walking, or hiking, is a leisurely activity of walking long routes or nature trails. Walking is generally completed in a day, but can involve overnight stays in camping sites, hostels or huts along the way.

    Walking boots are sturdy, thick boots that provide protection for your feet. With a tough sole and high ankles, walking boots help provide support for your foot and prevent you from spraining or rolling your ankles.

    The thick protective material will also limit your range of movement, which can feel too restrictive for some walkers. The material will also need breaking in before big walks, otherwise, the shoes can be uncomfortable and cause rubbing or blisters.

    Walking boots are also made with waterproof materials to keep your feet dry in wet conditions.

    However, the waterproofing and thick material mean that water vapour can’t escape easily.

    So, if you need to cross rivers or your feet are fully submerged in water, your shoes will take a long time to dry out. If you wear them in the summer months, your feet will sweat more easily and can cause blisters.

    Overall, walking boots are strong, sturdy waterproof boots perfect for the colder months. They are also durable and can last you up to 1,000 miles when looked after.

    Trekking shoes

    Trekking is a multi-day long distance walk, where you will carry all your luggage and essential items with you. In general, trekking is a more challenging activity than walking and takes places in areas where other means of transport can’t access.

    Trekking shoes, such as trail runners, are made from lightweight and more flexible materials than walking boots. The lightweight material offers more flexibility, giving you a better range of movement in your feet.

    Trekking shoes are perfect for those who prefer lightweight footwear and are the ideal choice to get an overall lightweight kit. The shoes also need no breaking in and are ready for action right away.

    Designed with a low-cut ankle and multiple mesh patches, trekking shoes give you maximum breathability. As they are fast-drying, they are great for crossing rivers or through the summer months.

    However, trekking shoes aren’t as waterproof as walking boots and can’t offer the same amount of warmth through the winter.

    The lightweight material also doesn’t offer the same amount of protection as walking boots. With narrow soles, you can feel bumps and rocks under your feet which can be uncomfortable on the long days.

    Overall, trekking shoes are a lightweight, breathable and fast-drying shoe. However, they don’t offer the same protection, warmth or durability as walking boots.

    On average, trekking shoes should be replaced every 500 miles to prevent potential damage to your feet.

    Conclusion

    Overall, walking boots are tough, durable and waterproof boots that protect your feet. Trekking shoes don’t offer the same protection or durability but are more lightweight, breathable and flexible.

    When choosing between walking boots and trekking shoes, it’s important to bear in mind the weather and type of terrain you are going to face.

    During the summer months, or places where you are likely to cross a river you may prefer the fast-drying trekking booths. However, in wet, and colder months the waterproof walking boots may be the better fit.

  3. What are gaiters and when should you wear them?

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    Many backpackers and hikers swear by gaiters and use them year-round.

    Despite offering essential protection, gaiters are often overlooked and get confused in a long list of outdoor equipment.

    That’s why we’ve put together this guide so you know what exactly gaiters are and when you should be wearing them.

    What are Gaiters?

    Gaiters are lightweight, breathable and waterproof pieces of fabric that cover the upper boot and lower part of your legs.

    Working with your boots, gaiters protect all the tiny nooks and crannies that are vulnerable in certain weather or environment conditions, such as the top of the boot.

    In wet, muddy or snowy conditions, gaiters are essential for keeping your feet dry and can also provide an extra layer of insulation.

    In drier weather, gaiters will also protect you from debris such as rocks and sand that can uncomfortably lodge themselves inside your footwear.

    Gaiters provide great protection across a diverse range of conditions. Whether you are facing thorny bushes, marsh land or even snake bites, the gaiters will provide you an extra layer of defence to stop anything from getting into your boots or trouser legs.

    Made from mostly synthetic materials, gaiters are breathable, lightweight and quick drying. Gaiters are designed to be comfortable for walking and hiking long distances in a variety of conditions, making them an essential item for your pack.

    From puddles to thunderstorms, gaiters will keep you waterproof, insulated and protected.

    Generally, gaiters come in one of two heights: ankle-height and full-length.

    Full-length gaiters

    Full-length gaiters are a perfect fit for extreme weather conditions such as deep snow or heavy rain.

    Covering the tops of your boots and most of your lower leg, full-length gaiters offer the most protection.

    If you’re in terrains covered in snow, long wet grass, thick bush or you need to cross streams, full-length gaiters are essential for you.

    Ankle-height gaiters

    Ankle-height gaiters are made to simply cover the top of your footwear and bottom of your trousers.

    They don’t have the same level of protection as the full-length ones, and are best used for less extreme conditions.

    This type of gaiter is ideal for outdoor wear, with a good chance of rain and mud. It’s also perfect for offering protection from bits of debris such as stones, sand or bits of twig entering your footwear.

    This type of gaiter can also be a great fit for off-road and fell runners to provide protection from debris.

    For runners that want a more lightweight and fuller protection, our padded running gaiters may be the perfect fit for you.

    Conclusion

    Snow, water and debris can find a way into the most waterproof of boots and trousers. Gaiters are lightweight, waterproof and breathable, covering the ends of your boots and trousers, providing you with extra protection from the elements.

    Gaiters protect you from a range of outdoor conditions, including muddy puddles, debris, deep snow, streams and thick bush. Small and lightweight enough to stash in your pack, gaiters can be used year-round for almost every condition.

    Ready to unlock the benefits of gaiters? Browse our range today.

  4. New Base Layer Zip Turtle Design By Sub Zero

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    Sub Zero Factor 1 Plus Long Sleeve Zip Turtle Thermal Base Layer Aqua

     

    Sub Zero Factor 1 Plus Long Sleeve Zip Turtle Thermal Base Layer is a new addition to the award winning range.

    New developments in seamless knitting technology have enable Sub Zero to add a lightweight 18cm (7″) long zip to a garment based on the ever popular Factor 1 Plus Long Sleeve top design.  This new base layer top features an innovative seamless body construction that incorporates stretch rib zones for enhanced support and waffle zones for increased thermal efficiency. During the dyeing process, a hydrophilic treatment is pressure injected in to the yarn, increasing the wicking rate of the fabric, allowing much greater control of perspiration. The stand-up double thickness turtle will protect your neck during outer activities – an area of the body that is often left exposed when wearing other base layers. The zip used in the turtle is lightweight to prevent ‘zip ripple’ when done up, and the fabric chin guard will protect your face from zip puller rub. If you do get too hot when wearing the base layer then lowering the zip will give extra aeration (t also helps the wearer to get the garment over the head) . Integrated thumb holes in the cuff of the sleeves protect your hands on cooler days and allows you to wear snug outer jackets without your sleeves riding up.

    These new Sub Zero thermal zip turtle base layers are ideal for outdoor activities in the autumn and winter where extra protection of the neck is required, such as when winter walking, cycling, hiking and climbing. For greater insulation in the depths of winter, why not try this Zip Turtle base layer with the Sub Zero Factor 2 mid layer range. Used in combination, this layering system will keep you snug, dry and ready for your winter adventure.

    The new Factor 1 Plus Zip Turtle range currently comes in two colours, black and aqua blue, and in sizes XSmall -XXLarge.

     

  5. Lifesystems Micro LED Head Torch – New Arrival

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    Lifesystems Intensity 24 Micro Head LED Torch is so small and lightweight that it can easily fit in to your trouser pocket or your survival kit bag. The 24 lumen bright LED light can be switched on and off with the easy access rubberised switch on top of the main light casing. The front light can also be angled to focus exactly where you need it and includes five light settings: white LED high, low and flashing; red LEDs constant and SOS to help being seen at night. The rear red light has two settings – fixed and flashing for extra safety and visibility. The reinforced elasticated head strap can be adjusted to custom fit your dimensions or used to fix on to an item.

    This Lifesystems Micro LED head torch is ideal when hiking and trekking, or for general use around the camp site when it starts to get dark. It is an essential piece of survival and emergency equipment that should be carried by every outdoors person.

  6. Terra Nova Adventure Tarps Back In Stock

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    If  you fancy doing some ultra lightweight camping and hiking before the summer ends then Terra Novas Adventure Tarps are an essential piece of kit. There low weight and pack size means you have an almost instant shelter without having to lug around poles and pegs – Just use your walking poles and stones. These tarps are available in two sizes.

  7. Thwaites Free Walking App Helps Thirsty Hikers

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    Northern brewer Thwaites has launched a free to download Wainwright App that brings together two of the UK’s favourite pastimes – walking and visiting the pub.

    Tapping into the 30,000 plus Google searches for pub walks, the new Wainwright App will bring together Thwaites’ own database of Wainwright stockists with Cask Marque’s 8,000 pubs and 6,000 walks from Walking World to deliver searchable pub walks.

    Wainwright, the 4.1% ABV golden ale, is now the UK’s fastest growing cask ale in the Top 25 beer brands and the App mirrors Thwaites’ Wainwright brand imagery and the strapline ‘A Breath of Fresh Ale’. It was named after Alfred Wainwright, author of the famous Lake District walking guidebooks, who was born in the brewer’s home town.

    The App uses the latest GPRS technology and comprehensive data resources and is able to locate pubs within half a mile of a recognised walk from the Walking World list of recommended walks. Walks can be selected based on walk type, length and current proximity.  The App also displays two levels of pub information as part of its functionality – basic and enhanced. Basic shows just the pub name, location and telephone number. Enhanced displays more information to the walker such as opening times, pub description, pub images and a website link. Only pubs stocking Wainwright are eligible to gain enhanced status on the App.

    Lee Williams, marketing manager at Thwaites, said, “The Wainwright Pub Walking App successfully combines two British loves – walking and pubs. It’s a useful tool designed to find either a walk or a pub or both, wherever you are in the UK. By accessing masses of accurate walking data from Walking World and pubs serving quality cask ales from Cask Marque combined with our own data on pubs serving Wainwright, this is a very comprehensive list of walks and pubs. It’s also fully interactive and supportive of the pub trade so landlords and stockists of Wainwright can upload their details via the Add Your Pub section on the App.

    The Wainwright Pub Walking App is available free to download via the Apple Store.

    Being Drinkaware is an obvious consideration. Not so obvious is the need to be well-prepared for what might appear to be easy country walks. Bad weather, short daylight hours and treacherous ground underfoot can all offer challenges to walkers’ comfort and safety even when they’re not exploring hills and mountains. Keep your map and compass handy and to make sure your rucksack is packed with:

    1. Extra warm clothing such as a fleece jacket
    2. Spare pair of walking socks
    3. Thermal gloves or mittens
    4. Thermal hat or balaclava
    5. Hand or head torch

  8. Extremities Storm Gore-Tex Gloves And Mittens Now In Stock

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    Extremities Storm Gore-Tex Gloves And Mittens by Terra Nova combines quality, performance and design at an affordable price. Utilising the best in high tech fabrics, these gloves and mitts contain GORE-TEX® waterproof lining technology, keeping out water whilst allowing the hands to breath. The PVC palm provides a firm grip, whilst the drawcord cuff prevents the snow and rain from getting inside the mitt. The elasticated wrist keeps the gloves and mittens in place and also further protects from drafts getting in. The soft brushed liner offers a comfortable feel making this glove an all-rounder for general winter use, walking, hiking or skiing.

     

  9. Help To Create Inspiring Walking Routes And Build Your Skills With The Ramblers

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    Britain’s Ramblers are looking for walkers with a keen eye for detail to help quality-check its growing library of walking routes for independent walkers.

    Ramblers volunteers across Britain have been developing walking routes as part of a new project – Ramblers Routes – which will offer walkers access to hundreds of inspiring self-led routes to enjoy with family and friends.

    But a great walking route takes more than just one walker, so Ramblers are looking for regular walkers to help check routes on the ground to ensure they are interesting, easy to follow, safe and graded to the right walking ability.

    Route checkers road-test the route description and map for each walk, ensure the route matches any special features – like being child or dog friendly or having easy access – and carry out a simple risk assessment.

    You can check routes in your local area or in your favourite walking destinations and there are free route checking and development workshops and online training available for Ramblers members and walkers keen to get involved.

    “Route checkers are a really important part of creating quality walking routes” said Ramblers Routes Project Manager Justin Bend. “Even if they have been checked by the person who developed them, routes also need to be checked thoroughly and risk-assessed by a different person.”

    “All our routes will have the Ramblers quality stamp, meaning walkers can enjoy them with confidence” adds Justin. “We also want to make sure the routes are appealing and attractive, so it’s always good to have a fresh eye on something.”

    Find out more about checking or developing routes by watching the Ramblers Routes video or register as a route checker for the opportunity to improve and expand your existing walking skills.

    Ramblers have also proposed a fantastic future for England’s National Trails with its new vision document National Trails: a fantastic future. Creating a charitable National Trails Trust is the best way to support, develop and promote the 13 National Trails in England and ensure they reach their full potential, with Local Trail Trusts to help manage the trails on the ground. The government currently plans to hand over responsibility for the trails to hard-pressed local authorities and voluntary groups, but without a national champion there is a real threat the quality of these long-distance walking routes could seriously decline. You can show your support by donating to our National Trails Appeal to help continue campaigning to secure the long-term future of Britain’s most treasured walking routes for generations of walkers to come.

  10. Suffolk Walking Festival Features New 70 Mile Challenge

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    Taking place between Saturday 19th May and Sunday 10th June, the Suffolk Walking Festival will feature around 30 guided outings including the new Flatford to the Fens five day, 70 mile challenge. Covering much of inland Suffolk, the festival will take in areas around Stowmarket, Lavenham, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Mildenhall and Ipswich. Graded according to their level of difficulty, the walks range from gentle 2-3 mile country rambles and meanders through ancient villages and towns, to longer and more energetic outings of up to 14 miles through Suffolk’s beautiful countryside.

    The Flatford to the Fens Suffolk Challenge Walk can be joined for the entire 70 miles, or for as many days as walkers wish but there will be a prize for those who complete the route. The walks will be led by countryside experts from the Dedham Vale AONB, Brecks Partnership and The Ramblers with distances ranging from 10 to 14 miles each day. The Challenge starts in Flatford on Sunday, 20th May following the Stour Valley Path long distance route through picturesque Constable Country and the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It reaches the market town of Sudbury, where it picks up the St Edmund Way to Lavenham, England’s finest medieval village, then continues to Bury St Edmunds, with its magnificent cathedral. The route then joins the Lark Valley Path and follows this gently flowing river finishing in Mildenhall on Thursday, 24th May.

    Other highlights include a seven mile, morning walk on Tuesday, 29th May around the historic Helmingham Hall estate, near Stowmarket with the head forester, who has a vast knowledge about local wildlife as well as the ancient trees. The price of £20 per person includes lunch in the Coach House Tea Rooms and a chance to explore the stunning Grade 1 listed gardens during the afternoon. Special interest walks include the 6.5 mile Medieval Marvels outing on Friday, 8th June strolling through fields and country lanes to visit the three fascinating churches of Woolpit St Mary; Drinkstone All Saints and Rattlesden St Nicholas, which has a beautiful angel roof. A short talk will be given at each church included in the £4 per person price. Nature lovers can also join a 4-5 mile walk starting at 8.30pm on Saturday evening, 9th June in search of the elusive nightjar in Brandon Country Park; adults £4, children free. There are several walks with activities to attract a younger audience such as The Story of St Edmund on Thursday, 7th June. The 45 minute amble around the medieval abbey grounds will help answer some questions about England’s former patron saint such as how he lost his head. Starting at 11am the walk is £3 per child but free for accompanying adults.

     

    Pre-booking is essential for all walks by calling the Tourist Information Centre in Bury St Edmunds on 01284 764667; they would also be able to advise on places to stay and post a free printed programme. Some of the walks are free while for others the prices range from £2 up to £20 per person (latter includes lunch); dogs are allowed on some outings but must be kept on a lead at all times. The programme is downloadable at www.discoversuffolk.org.uk.

     

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