For the past week heavy rain and high winds have been hitting the UK and it looks like its set to continue. Many weather warnings for heavy rain and flooding have been issued. Lots of homes have been flooded and there have already been fatalities.
If you are planning to go out onto the hills this week here are some tips to ensure you do not become another number on the list of fatalities...
Deal with Bogs
The ground was already saturated before most of the heavy rain started to fall so the heavy rain we have been receiving will make bogs twice as boggy this makes gaiters (love them or not) a must. A good way to see if ground is boggy before walking straight into it is to look for cotton grasses and other bog loving plants. If they are there then the chances are the ground will be boggy.
If you do have to cross bogs keep moving: don't do what I end up doing which is stopping to take a picture then realising you are knee deep in mud. Trekking poles will also help you to keep your balance so you don't fall face first into sludge.
Read on for more
Cloud and Fog
Navigation will also be hard in low cloud and fog so be sure that you know how to use your map and compass as well as how to use pacing and other navigational skills using the landscape. If you are unsure on any of there techniques please visit our navigation section.
If you expect breathtaking views and amazing pictures think again: come back next summer.
Certain rocks, once wet become very slippery so if your intended route encompasses scrambles maybe look to take a different route and be sure to use boots with a good grip.
Where water has collected in shaded areas and the temperature has fallen there may be ice (I spotted some sub 2000 ft in Snowdonia last week). There shouldn't be too much unless you are climbing a high mountain (around the 4000 ft mark) so you don't really need to pack anything extra (unless snow is on the ground: in which case ice axes and crampons are a must).
Is your path going to be a river?
Check on your map: if your trail falls in between 2 mountains/hills then it will most likely be more like a waterfall than a path. Give it a miss unless you like gorge walking and don't mind getting soaked through. Similarly if your route passes near a lake consider the fact that the lake may have overflowed and flooded the flat areas around it.
Check your waterproofs
Spray your waterproofs with water: if it does not 'bead up' and instead it soaks in then it will need treating with a waterproofing product such as Nikwax
. Also if you have washed them in a washing machine give them a rinse to make sure all of the soap suds are out so you do not start foaming once the rain becomes heavy: its embarrassing and annoying: trust me.
If the mountain you are going to attempt is high and exposed and high winds are in the forecast do not go climbing. If you really want to go for a walk go for a lower, less exposed hills or go for a valley walk: give yourself a rest.
We hope these tips help you stay safe!