Did you know from 20 December to 3 January is The Festival of Winter Walks, set up by Britain's walking charity, Ramblers, with an aim is to make walking paths safer and encourage people to do more walking.
There will be hundreds of free woodland walks taking place all over the country between during this time and it’s a great way to burn off that Christmas dinner and have fun doing it together with your loved ones. Depending on how much you feel like doing, there will be short, easy trails you can enjoy with family and more challenging walks for the experienced hiker!
I know that winter is less appealing to many people however, with frosty morning it can be lovely, you just need to take a little more care. I have several tips which you may need to consider when you’re heading off on a winter walk, some of which I’ve learned from bitter experience.
- Make sure you have a waterproof shoes / boots with a good grip. Avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels. Instead, wear shoes or boots with non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles.
- Slow the pace down – use a wider / penguin like gait in snow and ice. Spreading your feet out slightly while walking on ice increases your centre of gravity.
- When snowy or icy stay on designated walkways – these walkways are more likely to be cleared, taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas can be hazardous.
- Look for, and avoid slippery surfaces - assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy and approach with caution.
- Know your limitations – carrying large packages or other items that limit vision can lead to slips and trips.
- Allow extra time - pay attention and don’t rush. Most accidents occur due to inattention or being in a hurry.
- Make use of handrails - on stairs, outdoor walkways, vehicles, public transportation.
- Always look -for trip hazards or obstructions in the path of travel.
- Avoid walking in the dark, and if you need to take a good torch but just be mindful they even torches cast shadows.
- If you are setting out on a long walk on uneven terrain and you have any back or leg injuries then make sure you get yourself checked by a manual therapist, such as an osteopath or physio or check with your GP. There are times when walking boots are not always appropriate for your injuries, such as a chronic achilles injury doesn’t always tolerate stiff heavy walking boots when used on uneven surfaces as I know only too well!
Walk safely and enjoy you walk…….!
For more information on Ramblers wintry walks, visit Festival of Winter Walks.
Posted by Jane Morris.