With the promise of warmer weather and sunnier days arriving in spring, it’s time to rediscover your love of walking in Scotland’s countryside. Here's our guide to help you explore more this year.
There are outdoors fans who hike hills and mountains all year round. But it’s not for everyone, especially those who prefer fairer weather and less daunting conditions.
With more suitable weather just around the corner, many more people, across all ages and fitness levels, will be inspired to get outdoors and enjoy walking in Scotland’s varied landscapes. But if you have had the winter off you might need some fresh pointers about clothing, kit, safety and where to walk before tackling your first challenge this spring.
What Kit Do I Need?
Scotland’s weather is fickle whatever the time of year. In spring and summer the temperatures are generally higher but it can still be wet, windy and chilly. Remember that the higher you climb, the more likely you are to be met with colder temperatures, wind and cloud. It's always a good idea to think about layering up your outdoor clothing, with enough extra layers for when conditions change.
If you prefer to stay at a lower level, following waymarked trails, you'll will be less likely to face harsh conditions, but a spring and summer walking rucksack should still include all the kit and clothes that you will need to stay safe. Always think about what you might need. It's better to be safe than to be sorry.
What Should I Wear?
This will obviously depend on the conditions on that day, but a general guide is to wear and pack the following items:
A Baselayer that is short or long-sleeved - Choosing fabrics such as merino wool will aid comfort in terms of warmth and breathability. Merino is also acclaimed for being naturally good at warding off the smells associated with body sweat.
Synthetic Tops are an advantage if you have sensitive skin and do not like the feel of merino wool. Synthetics are quick drying and lightweight. Add an additional baselayer into your pack for extra warmth if it gets cold.
A Mid Layer Top, such as a fleece or lightweight insulted jacket is a good idea if the weather is cool or windy. Look for windproof layers for extra protection. Many of the new season items we have this year feature stretchy side panels for added mobility. With developments from some of our top brands, there's plenty of options for any potential spring walker.
An Outer Layer will be another windproof or waterproof shell jacket. You should always carry a waterproof outer shell because, in Scotland, you never know when the rain will come!
Choose a Jacket that is breathable, as well as waterproof. A lightweight jacket will suffice at lower levels in Scotland but for mountain hiking a good quality jacket made from a fabric such as Gore-Tex is advisable. Make sure you keep your waterproofs protected by using a good waterproofing spray or in wash gel.
Walking trousers or running tights for comfortable walking. You’ll need to pack waterproof over-trousers for times when the rain comes on.
Accessories such as gloves, buffs and hats are also advisable during Scottish spring and summer. You can judge what type to pack in a rucksack according to how cold you get and where you will walk, having more is always better than ending up cold.
Walking Boots or Shoes should be carefully chosen. It is important to seek expert advice from our in store product experts and to try on footwear. (Tiso shops all have qualified boot fitters to help you find the perfect pair for your needs. Comfort is very important, as is choosing the right footwear to suit the terrain that you plan to be walking on.
It is up to you whether you go for leather or fabrics but good quality will count for a lot in the long-term because the boots will be more durable.
Other kit to consider includes a map and compass, a GPS gadget, food, water, hot drinks, energy bars and an emergency shelter (if you are heading into the mountains). It's also a good idea to make sure that your navigation skills are up to date, in case you get lost.
A walking rucksack should be big enough to pack all your kit. Again, comfort is important so take advice from our experts and tell them what you will be using the rucksack for. Try on a few bags and choose a male or female specific rucksack if you can.
There are so many options in Scotland from easy low-level trails to long-distance waymarked trails, and from local hills to high-rise mountain ridges. If you are a newcomer to walking you should first aim to build your fitness and increase the mileage that you can comfortably walk.
Navigation is a vital skill if you plan to walk off the beaten track and there are plenty of courses and workshops that you can sign up to learn the techniques of using a map and compass.
A walking club or meet-up group can offer the opportunity to take your walking further afield and to new places. Look on-line for local groups or head along to outdoors or walking festivals in Scotland where you will find lots of like-minded people and guides.
You could also choose to sign up to a guided walk or hire a guide yourself to take you to locations that you do not feel experienced enough to manage on your own. Again, an online search will reveal a host of walking and mountain guides in Scotland. Ask for recommendations from walking friends if in doubt.
If you are confident and experienced enough to walk solo or with friends, check out the many great walking route resources online one of the most popular resources is WalkHighlands, where you’ll find thousands of walking routes to suit a wide range of abilities. Others include Scotland’s Great Trails, UK Hillwalking and Munro Magic. No matter what your starting point, we're here to help you get geared up for those spring walking adventures, so what are you waiting for?