Staying safe can seem boring but it is something you should think about, especially if you are new to going on long walks or being in remote locations. Be adventurous but do the daring things without asking for trouble. If you loose all your confidence now because you don't play it safely and get hurt, it might hinder your plans for future adventures, so just keep that in mind.
Before you go
It's important to plan ahead when going on a self led holiday. As well as making sure you have all the equipment you will need and have planned out transport links make sure you also consider who you are going with, where you are going and what activities you will be involved in.
Going on an adventure is always best with company, and it’s also a lot safer. We would not recommend that you go along long sections of the route alone, particularly not the more remote areas in the Dales or Moors. It’s also a good idea to let someone at home know where you are going and how long you expect to be just in case something goes wrong. Remember to let this person know when you do finish your walk or bike ride safely so there are no false alarms. Bear in mind that reception or WiFi might not be available at all campsites so try to find out in advance or prepare people that you may not be able to get in touch every night.
Before you head out on your route it is a good idea to look ahead so you know where the nearest roads, bus routes, train stations and hospitals or doctors are located so if there is an emergency during your trip you know how to get the help you need.
Don’t be too ambitious when planning a walk, it is much better to complete an easier walk than to get half way round a tricky one. Do not just look at the distance either, steep hills or sections that are not on paths also contribute to making the walk much more difficult. Be aware of your own fitness and how much walking you can realistically do. Take as many breaks as you need when on the walk, especially during long uphill sections.
First aid and Emergencies
Even if no on in your group is first aid trained it is still important to have a rough idea of what you should do in an emergency.
You can also download the British Red Cross app which will give guidance on what to do in various first aid situations. The most important principle of first aid is that you don’t put yourself at risk to help someone else, so always think about this before you go wading in to help someone, if you become a second casualty it will make the situation worse.
It is always important to have a first aid kit when you are out on an active holiday or a walk. You can buy small first aid kits in many places or you can build up your own. If you do buy one make sure you check what is in there and add or take away as needed to make it relevant to the trip you are going on. As a basis you should have plasters and bandages of various shapes and sizes, antiseptic wipes, eye wash and pads, medical tape, scissors, latex gloves and an emergency foil blanket. It’s also important that you know how to use the stuff that is in your first aid kit. If you buy a made up first aid pack it should come with a first aid manual, if you are making up your own remember to find a manual to include in the kit.
first aid kit
If you do find yourself in an emergency you can call 999. You can call this number with 'emergency only' signal but remember that the emergency services will not be able to call you back. You can then choose between ambulance, police, fire brigade, mountain rescue or coastal rescue. In some cases there may not be enough signal to call but you may be able to send a text. You can text 112 with the words REGISTER which will then send a reply with further instructions for you to follow. If there is no signal at all then you may have to move somewhere else to contact the emergency but always try not to have any one person separated from the rest of the group. If you are in a busy area then there may well be people who can stop and help so you do not have to separate.
There are a number of hazards that you may encounter whilst out on the Adventure All Ways route. In most cases all that is needed is common sense and to take care, for example putting suncream on or walking carefully over rough terrain or boggy ground. However there are a few things that you might want to take extra care with.
On the coastal section of our route some of the route follows the beach, which may be inaccessible when the tide is in. You can check out the tide times but it is also a good idea to have a back-up plan ready in case you don’t make it. The more dangerous problem is getting cut off, so again make sure you have checked the tides to know if it is on its way in or out, where you can next safely get off the beach and check on the map the shape of the coastline so you are aware of potential bays that you could get stuck in.
It can be a bit daunting if you have to walk through a field of cows, particularly if it is not something you have done before. Whilst in general cows do not pose a big threat to walkers, it is important to be aware, particularly if you have a dog or if there are calves in the herd. Find out more and top tips on how to stay safe below.
It sounds obvious how to be safe on roads but it is important to remember. If you have been on paths for a few miles and then come out onto a small country road it is easy to forget that this is a place where cars may be driving and walk all in a line along the road. Also bear in mind if you are walking through a caravan park that there will be cars about. If you are especially keen check out the governments rules for pedestrians in the highway code!
You can also stay safe by packing the right equipment and being prepared for the adventure ahead of you.
Make sure you come fully prepared for the activity you are going to undertake. Although most of the Adventure All Ways route follows well-made paths, they can still be pretty uneven so having shoes with ankle support is a good idea. Shoes are also the most important item that needs to fit properly. Unsuitable shoes will lead to painful blisters which will make the walk much more difficult than it needs to be. Getting too cold or too warm can also cause problems so make sure you have lots of layers to adjust to the temperature accordingly. It is much easier to stay at the right temperature than warm up or cool down so don’t wait until it is too late to take off or put on another layer. Remember that the weather forecast is not always right so don’t rely on it too heavily, come prepared for anything.Getting wet is a sure fire way to get cold quickly so always have your waterproof in your rucksack in case it is needed.
Clothes & Shoes
Staying hydrated is the most important thing so whatever you do, do not forget to bring water. As a normal rule 2 litres is a good amount to bring for a day of walking. . If it is a hot day you will need more water, but don’t forget to drink when it is cold as dehydration can cause hypothermia.
As a rough guide walking one mile will use up 100 calories so plan accordingly when thinking about how much food you will want to take with you. If it is a cold day you will want to have more food to help you keep warm.
A good rule is to eat little and often rather than have one big meal in the middle of the day. Sometimes on a horrible day the last thing you want to do is sit still and eat food so having a storm shelter with you to sit in and eat can be good.
Good food to take on a walk includes sandwiches, oatcakes, dried fruit, fresh fruit and jelly sweets. Make sure you also have some ‘emergency food’ which is extra to what you think you will need and saved for if an emergency occurs.
Food & Drink
Make sure you a pick a rucksack that is right for you and do not over fill it. As a guide your full backpack should not weigh more than about 20% of your body weight.
If you haven’t carried big packs before it might be worth doing some short practise routes with it on beforehand so you know how much you can safely carry.
If you don’t think you can fit in everything that you need within a reasonable weight then you may need to consider doing fewer nights or going in a bigger group so you can share the weight of group equipment such as a stove. Don’t get rid of an essential big of equipment because it is too heavy to carry and look ahead to see where you can stock up on food or water to reduce the amount you have to carry.
Sometimes the trickiest bit about having a big rucksack is getting it on an off, you may need to help each other with this bit!
It goes without saying but make sure to bring a map or guidebook for the area you will be walking (if you are going a long way you may need more than one). Getting lost is never fun, particularly if it means getting back after dark. It is also important to know where you are so that if an emergency does occur you know where you are so people can find you. Even though the Adventure All Ways route follows well known existing trails it is still a good idea to have a compass in case you loose the path. They often come with whistles which can be very useful for drawing attention to yourselves or raising an alarm. The international distress signal is six blasts of a whistle. If you hear a distress call you can reply with three blasts of your own whistle.
Map, Compass & Whistle
Don't forget to pack according to the weather, for example sun hats, sun glasses, sun cream and insect repellent may be useful in the summer whilst a woolly hat, gloves and a scarf are great in the colder months. When you are outside all day there a couple of key things first aid issues that need to be thought about. Hypothermia is one of the biggest risks on a cold day and so it is good to know some of the signs to looks out for which can be found, along with how to help prevent and alleviate symptoms, here. It is important to remember that heat stroke can also be a major risk. You can find out more about heat stroke here.
Ready for the Weather
Bring a head torch which is great on a campsite but also a good back up in case something goes wrong on the walk and you end up getting back after dark.
A watch is also useful so you can keep an eye on the time so you know if you are on track and can adjust plans accordingly if necessary.
If you are thinking that you can probably get most of these things on your phone then you are right, however phones can lose battery, especially if it is also being used for a camera and whilst camping you may not be able to charge it up so it is a great idea to have a proper torch and watch handy in case they are needed. They don’t have to be anything fancy they just need to get the job done.
If you are relying on your phone then bringing a portable charger is really useful to avoid getting cut off from people.