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The Great Outdoors...

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On 3/20/2022 at 2:29 PM, Grim Jim said:

Brilliant!   I should give you my stuff as I've done nothing for two years and can hardly climb the stairs now!

As a beginner, I recommend you start on popular hills with good paths and in good weather, so avoid winter conditions and low cloud.   Mist can be seriously disorienting.   Try something like Cairngorm, Ben Lomond, Ben Lawers or The Cobbler.   (Some have pay car parks though.)

Equipment:   Boots obviously.   If you get into this, you will get very mucky on some hills, so I prefer ones that are easy to clean.   I'm most comfortable with 2-layer socks, for reducing blisters.

Even in summer in Scotland you should always carry a lightweight waterproof, even if it's just to keep the wind off you.   Wear lightweight layers below that including a fleece, which can be pulled on/off.   Temperature drops about 3°/1000ft I think, and wind/rain will feel much colder.   That sounds obvious, but it will still surprise you some day how cold and scary things can get.

You'll need a small rucksack to shove all those layers in when the sun comes out, plus room for lunch and lots of water (though free refills are available from mountain streams on many hills ...but not all).   Some salted crisps can help fend off cramp on long days, of if you start with a hangover (as I learned to my cost 🙄 ).

With luck you'll need sunglasses, sun cream and maybe a hat for your baldy bits.   I'd pick shorts/trousers that don't soak in water too easily or at least blow dry quickly... the opposite of denim for instance which is terrible in sun or rain.

A pair of walking poles will save wear and tear on your knees coming downhill, can help push you up loose scree and help balance wading through streams.   (Avoid fast or deep water!)   Try to find a rucksack that can carry the poles when not in use such that they are not in the way, and poles that can be instantly adjusted for length are good, so not faffing around all the time.

Luxury items?   A pair of flip flops for keeping your boots dry in streams.   A small folding pad to sit on to keep your arse dry/warm having lunch.   Isotonic Lucozade.

Navigation?   O.S. 1:50,000 map & compass.   We had a fancy GPS that got dropped in a burn, so best to have backup.   Even on easy, busy paths you should practice using the map+compass, then when the day comes that you are lost in the mist you will be better prepared.

Speaking of busy paths, Ben Nevis 'tourist route' crowds might drive you nuts.   Off the busy paths people regularly get into trouble there.   I would save that hill for when you've built up some fitness/experience and make a long day of it via the Carn Mor Dearg Arrette.

What did I forget?   I dunno, get out and enjoy!

Right, where are my boots?

Starting next month so just revisting this. Thanks again.


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I am sitting in the garden and someone or something is whistling. Its the most tuneless whistling I have heard in my entire life. I don’t know if its a neighbour or a bird. Its constant so I think it must be a bird.

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