Mountain walking is the easiest way to get into the mountains: you don't need to learn a whole new sport. All you have to do is adapt the skill you learnt when you were knee high: walking.
To work out how long it will take you to do a certain walk allow 20 minutes for each mile (1.7km) and 15 minutes for every 500ft (150m) of ascent. This is known as Naismith's Rule. However, these times do not include rests or time taken to take pictures. For this reason is is usually a good idea to round up to the next hour to get a maximum time. These times apply to an average, fit and healthy walker, if you are not as fit as an average walker add an extra few minutes per mile and 500ft of ascent. If you are walking in a group of varying fitness levels use the fitness level of the slowest person.
Lets face it we all prefer the ascent to the decent. Yet descending is often the main cause of aches the day after your hike so you need to be extra careful and follow these tips...
Many of our popular summits (Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike in particular) can look more like a rubbish tip than an amazing summit of an amazing mountain (which is what they all should be). But there are some people who (after the have finished their lunch) just leave crisp packets and orange peels on the summit rather than putting them in their rucksack and carrying a tiny bit of extra weight home. Orange peels (and banana skins alike) can take up to 10 years to biodegrade as they are not native to the UK and plastic will stay there for 100 years since there are no dedicated litter pickers. So PLEASE take your rubbish home so that others can enjoy the mountain for what it should be. Also a special thanks to all of you who pick up other people's rubbish even though you don't have to: we salute you. But could you and a group of friends go and pick up rubbish on your local mountain too?
You will need:
Remember: If conditions deteriorate: head back. The mountain will always be there so make sure you are too!
If you are experienced you will probably have a good idea of what kit is essential and what you could leave behind. So why don't you? Take a look down the above list, see what you (personally) don't use much and leave it at home the next time you go on a hike. (Be sure not to leave kit that is essential in emergency situations behind.) If you are not experienced you will just have to stick with the above list until you know what you actually use. Sorry!
Mountain walking is a safe way to ascend and descend a mountain. It is usually suitable for all ages and is basicaly walking uphill. However you may occasionally need to do grade 1 scrambling. Walking on different surfaces and gradients will help you prepare. (You will not need any extra equipment other than your walking kit for grade 1 scrambling.)