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Outdoor Health and Safety Handy hints and tips

Handy hints and tips to help you prepare for visit to the countryside.

Hiking is an enjoyable outdoor activity that can give a hiker lots of exercise while taking in beautiful views. Most hikers agree they are less stressed after a hike through nature, where they can unplug from the fast moving world.

If you are just getting started or a seasoned veteran, here are some safety tips that you should follow:

Basic Gear
Always dress appropriate for the route, weather and conditions, wear layers of clothing including a waterproof jacket, only wear this when you need it to avoid sweating, hat, strong comfortable footwear such as waterproof boots with a good grip and ankle support, thick socks help cushion the feet and avoid blisters. Avoid denim jeans, they get cold and heavy when wet and take a long time to dry.
Even if it is warm and dry when you start it may get cold and wet. Some basic items to take, even on a short walk, map of the route and surroundings,a first aid kit, sun block, insect repellent a small torch and a whistle.

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Food and Drink
Take enough food and drink for you planned walk. Always carry drinking water, in a plastic bottle, snacks, such as chocolate and biscuits. If walking in cold weather take a warm drink.

Walking Alone
Even in today's day and age of constant contact, you should avoid walking alone. If you slip or a fall, when out hiking you could find yourself stranded, phone reception in many rural areas can be poor. If you do plan to walk alone in remote areas, let someone know your planned route, time of start and expected time of return. If you should ever get lost or hurt while walking at least there is an idea of where help can find you.

Know Where You Are Going
 It is important to take the time to map out your plans and know where you intend to go. Make sure you have an up to date route plan with you, this can be very useful if you need to cut short or divert from the planned route.

Charge the Phone
Although you may not be able to get service everywhere you walk, always fully charge your phone just in case you need it in an emergency.

Skipton Cow Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window Stay Away from the Animals
Many footpaths and rights of way cross agricultural land where animals will be grazing, avoid contact with animals and try not to disturb them. Always leave gates the way you find them. Make sure you take all your litter home with you, a discarded plastic bag can be a choking hazard for an animal broken bottles can injure or cause fires in dry spells.