By: Blonde Two

For the Two Blondes, the start of their next Dartmoor outdoor season moves ever closer this weekend with the changing of the clocks.  We have done more summer walking than ever this year and our rucksacks are a bit on the warm-weather side.

From hereon in, there are some key things that we should all be making sure we do before we go out on the hills:

1.  Plan your route carefully.  You should know when sunset is and how long your route will take you.  If you don’t leave a route card, at least tell someone where you will be.

2.  Wear a watch.  You need to know when to get off the hills and you need one for navigation.

3.  Check your torch and spare batteries.  Make sure both are waterproofed in your rucksack.

4.  Check your emergency rations.  Sugary snacks, nuts and a hot drink can all make the difference between a sensible decision and a stupid one.

5.  Carry waterproofs.  Make sure that you have waterproof trousers as well as a top.  Take the time to re-proof them if necessary.

6.  Pack a warm hat and a pair of gloves.  Carry spares too if possible.

7.  Take a hot drink or a stove out with you.  Keeping warm uses up vital energy that you might need for getting out of trouble.

8.  Carry a means of keeping sheltered and dry in an emergency.  Bothy bags are great but an orange survival bag should be the bare minimum.

9.  Learn how to get help in an emergency.  Police for Mountain Rescue (have location, time, weather and injury details to hand), six blasts on your whistle or six flashes of your torch at one minute intervals.

10.  Make sure that you are fit enough for the route you are planning to undertake.  There is a route out there to suit everyone, don’t be over ambitious.  Get fit for the hills not on the hills.