Whether you are an accomplished explorer or a weekend walker, camping and outdoor activities can be a great way to spend your leisure time. There’s nothing like sitting in a magical trance with family and friends, letting a dancing campfire entertain you whilst toasting one more marshmallow or the enticing smell of a summery BBQ.
However, experience aside, it is important to stay safe, especially if you are out in more rural areas.
How it all began
A tragedy in southwest Cornwall gave rise to what is currently one of the fastest growing members of the UK Search and Rescue (SAR) organisation.
Many lovers of the great outdoors spend more time learning survival tips they’re very unlikely to need than they do learning simple, essential first aid practices. While these tips might not seem as glamorous, you’ll be happy you know them when you’re out amongst nature with no phone signal.
Of course, first aid isn’t something you can teach in a blog – it requires full training and practical experience. In this article, we’ll be going over some useful beginner’s knowledge and must-have items to get you started on outdoor first aid.
Ordnance Survey maps use contour lines to join points of equal height together. Understanding contours is a very useful navigation skill because you can identify the lay of the land and landscape features as they appear on the ground. They tell you whether the ground is flat, hilly, undulating, or steep, and whether a route will be a gentle easy walk or a hard uphill slog, so you can plan your route more easily.
Contours are shown on Ordnance Survey maps as thin orange or brown lines with numbers on them that show you the height above sea level of any point on the line. The closer the contour lines are together, the steeper the slope. Contour lines very close together indicate a steep slope and contours further apart show a gentle slope.
Building a raft can be a challenging, fun and rewarding activity, whether you’re creating one as part of a team-building activity or just simply want one to trek down a local river in. You can either create one with your mates or ask your family to lend a hand.
We’ve all heard of the Countryside Code and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which give a set of rules for anyone using the countryside, to safeguard it for everyone. However, what are the real rules of walking? All those little things everyone should do?
We asked our Facebook fans and got a huge response, so here are their suggestions – some rather tongue in cheek – along with a few of our own…
I’m sure you’ve heard of the countryside code – you’ll see frequent reminders to ‘Follow the Countryside Code’ in National Parks, on footpaths and near popular walking areas.
It was originally developed in the 1950’s as the Country Code, which became the Countryside Code in 2004 with some subsequent updates. It’s a series of rules and suggestions to help everyone enjoy the countryside while causing minimum disruption to wildlife, the environment and agriculture.
Here’s the Countryside Code summary:
- Be considerate of others
- Leave gates as you find them and follow paths where possible
- Keep it tidy – ‘leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories’
- Keep dogs under control
- Plan ahead and be prepared
- Follow advice and local signs
Guest post by Andrew of Outdoor Look.
For hundreds, if not thousands of years man has explored his surroundings with a compass and maps. Now we see GPS units and apps for smart phones available a plenty, so has the humble compass had its day? Both have their fans with some seeing the GPS as just the latest ‘boys toy’ with lots of buttons and flashing lights and those who see it as a valuable aid to navigating your route that anyone who is serious about walking and hiking must have with them at all times. I lean towards the compass and map, simply because that is how I was taught, but I can see how technology changes and obviously a GPS unit doesn’t take up as much space, but is one better than the other? Let’s see.
Many of us have fond memories of exciting treasure hunts as children, with Easter eggs and other small treats often the subjects of our searches. These days, though, it’s much more normal to find youngsters glued to their television screens, completing quests of a more virtual nature. Technology has certainly affected the ways in which people explore the world and enjoy themselves, but it’d be wrong to assume that old and new can’t be combined to great effect. Geocaching is a fantastic example of this.
This week I’ve asked Gareth from Webtogs the outdoor retailer to guest post his best tips on gear for heading outside.
One of the questions we most get asked at Webtogs is just what sort of clothing you need to stay comfortable outside so today I am looking at the layering system, what it is, and why its important when you are heading out to do any kind of outdoor activity. Now you may have heard about the layering system before and are wondering just what the devil is it? Simply put, the layering system is a system that enables your clothing to help you remain comfy with whatever variety of conditions that Mother Nature might throw at you. It does this by utilising multiple layers that manage sweat, trap air to keep you warm or protect you from the elements. You can then shed or put on layers based on how hot or cold you are – many thinner layers being better at doing this job than just one thick layer. These layers can be broken down in to three distinct categories to do three very different jobs.
1) Base Layer – Not a position in a choir but the bottom of our layering system that goes next to your skin. It’s job is to get rid of the sweat you produce.
2) Mid layer – This is the bit that delivers the warmth, trapping air and keeping you snug.
3) Shell Layer – The protection from the elements, wind, rain and snow.