If you’re looking to keep yourself active this winter (as everyone reading this should), then going for a long walk through the countryside might be just the way to do it.Walking is cheap, exhilarating, good for you – and almost everyone already knows how to do it.
That said, in order to get the best from this pastime, it’s important to follow a few key guidelines.Let’s examine some of the most important.
Even if you’re going to be walking during winter, when you’ll lose far less water through sweat, it’s essential to take a ready supply of water with you.The last thing you’ll want to happen is for you to be stranded in the wilderness without it – as having to walk miles while dehydrated is not much fun.
Plan for rain
Almost as bad as running out of water is running into an abundance of it.During winter, the heavens are a great deal more likely to open without warning – so plan accordingly and pack a waterproof coat for the journey.
The nation’s green and famously pleasant land would be a great deal less so if everyone walking through it were to deposit a crisp packet or cigarette butt along the way.Take a bag with you and collect all of the rubbish you generate during your walk.Even if an item you’ve taken with you seems ‘biodegradable’, like a banana peel or an apple core, that’s no reason to simply deposit it on the side of the footpath, where it’s likely to be a magnet for disease and generate an awful stench.
Take a map
The little map you have on your phone simply won’t cut it when you’re out in the middle of the countryside.For one thing, there won’t be signal for you to download and update the thing.What’s more, looking at the tiny screen every few moments will prove incredibly annoying, and your gloved hands will struggle to operate the touchscreen.
Better instead to invest in an OS map.These laminated devices will provide you with a detailed picture of your surroundings, and allow you to navigate and plan routes much more effectively than any other sort of map.In order to make things even easier, you’ll also want to pack a compass.
Take a first-aid kit
While the likelihood of you suffering and injury is very remote, it’s worth taking precautionary measures to ensure you’re protected in such an event.That means packing a first aid kit equipped with plasters, bandages and other on-the-spot treatments.During summer, you might also want to pack antihistamine and sun-cream – but during winter you might happily go without.
Respect the livestock
If you’re travelling through the country, you might find yourself occasionally stranded in the middle of a field with cattle, sheep or horses.Such a situation is no big concern – just be sure that you aren’t disturbing the animals.If you’re walking a dog, however, matters are considerably complicated.Keep them on a tight lead as they move through areas where livestock are grazing, as failing to do so can disturb the animals.Farmers are legally entitled to shoot your dog if they decide to chase after their livestock, so don’t take the risk!
Invest in a boot liner
If you’re going to be walking through the countryside – particularly during winter – then you’ll want to ensure your vehicle is adequately protected against dirt and muddy paw prints when you come back.That’s where car boot mats come in.They consist of a large sheet of fabric designed to sit snugly within the contours of your car boot.That way you can transport muddy boots, bicycles and dogs without worrying about the damage they’ll inflict on your interior.Then, when it comes to washing the boot, you’ll be able to simply remove the liner and launder it.
Boot liners tend to vary in terms of cost.The cheapest will offer minimal protection, and take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.The more expensive, on the other hand, are often designed to fit a specific model of car.BMW, Audi and Ford boot liners are all available online, so select one which will fit your vehicle.When you consider the time and money that you’ll save through having to constantly valet your interior, and the effect that such things will have on the value of your car, the expense of a superior boot liner seems more than justified!