What to expect
Hillwalking is as simple as it sounds – it’s the term used to describe when you hike around hilly or mountainous regions. Hillwalking has been around as long as there’s been hills. The main changes have been the equipment we take out and about with us and how many more marked, documented and maintained trails exist all over the world.
What you’ll learn
Hillwalking is a great way to increase your stamina, endurance and route planning skills. First, you’ll need to be patient and careful, as you plan the trip with your group. Then, when it’s time to get out there, and if you’ve prepared properly, you’ll be able to reap the rewards as you take in some beautiful views.
Did you know that almost 60% of Scotland’s land mass can be classed as hills or mountains? That’s a lot of space for hillwalkers to explore!
- Layer up. The weather conditions can vary greatly when you’re in the hills. One leg could see you walking through the shady meadows of a valley and the next could have you walking along a winding ridge. Prepare for this by bringing plenty of lightweight clothing that can be layered up.
- Wear in your boots first. Be sure to wear your hiking boots plenty of times before heading out hillwalking. If you’re wearing your boots from straight off the shelf then you could experience some nasty rubbing, as the boots can feel pretty stiff.
- Don’t rely on your apps. It’s great to make the most of some of the amazing phone apps out there to help aid your outdoor experience. But be wary: there has been an increase in incidents related to hillwalkers who’ve been let down by their technology. Make sure to bring a paper map and compass too and be sure that you know how to use them!
- Hiking and walking
You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
- Check the weather forecast
Joint activities with other organisations:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
The activity leader must have an adventurous activities permit with the right level and permissions for your group.
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
- The centre/instructor should hold one of these: (If the provider is AALA exempt)
- Mountain Training - Walking Group Leader (WGL)
- Mountain Training - Mountain Leader (ML)
The provider must have public liability insurance.
Hillwalking is an amazing opportunity to get outdoors, get up high and experience some breathtaking views. However, it’s not always easy for everyone to get to the top. Have a chat as a group about what can help keep everyone motivated along the way. Share some morale-boosting tips with one another to help you persevere on your long journeys.
When it’s all over, think back and reflect on how many of you listened to your own advice and which techniques in particular helped you to reach the finishing line. They’ll come in handy on the next big hill!
- Hillwalking can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Many outdoor centres have facilities that cater for people with additional needs and experienced instructors to help everyone achieve their goals.
- Hillwalking can be experienced in all sorts of locations, but sometimes these can be pretty remote and hard to get to for your group. Be sure to find out how you’re going to reach the beginning of your walk before you start route planning. A quick search online should be able to tell you whether the trail is accessible via public transport or whether there’s parking nearby.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.
A big part of a successful hillwalking trip is thorough route planning. Everyone can further develop these skills by taking part in more expeditions. How about mixing it up and using a different kind of map as you head out on a cycle as part of the Scouts Cyclist Activity Badge?