How to

29 April 2016

How to Prepare for Cold Weather Activity in the UK

We all know the tropes about British weather; it’s grey, wet, and altogether dismal. It’s a joke almost as old as the very concept of a weather forecast, and while it was true that our weather can be somewhat bland, it does have extremes.

If you’re getting ready to face down the great outdoors here in Britain, don’t take the weather lightly, or you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. High winds, heavy rain, frost, hail or even snowfall can happen at a moments’ notice in some areas. This in mind, you need to be prepared for all eventualities. Below are some simple rules you can follow to that end.

Always Bring Cold/Wet Weather Gear

Sadly, we don’t live in the Bahamas, we live in the UK, and even in July and August it can sometimes get cold, especially at night. If you’re out hiking with only shorts and a t-shirt, you’re putting yourself at serious risk. The best thing to do is pack a bag with a thermal coat/jumper and a pair of trousers if you were in shorts. The second part is less essential, your legs are surprisingly good at retaining heat, but your chest and stomach aren’t. A hat is also worth carrying.

The other thing you might be hit with at a moment’s notice is rain, and all the warm jumpers in the world won’t help you if you’re soaked through. That in mind, owning a waterproof bag (or waterproofing it yourself) is a must, as well as the obvious need for a good raincoat and boots. Carrying a few extra items can be the difference between a mild annoyance and a catastrophe.

Don’t Stray Too Far off the Beaten Track

This is especially applicable if you don’t know the local area. Throughout most of the country, it’s hard to find anywhere so remote that you’re not at most 10 or 20 miles from civilisation, but even with that in mind, try not to put too much distance between it and yourself. Study maps of the area you’re visiting and be sure to know where the main roads, villages and towns are, just in case anything goes wrong.

Tell Someone You’re Going

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people set off out in the wilds without telling anyone, thus stalling any action if they end up stranded or worse. Let someone know, give them your number and arrange a time for them to call if they haven’t heard from you before. It could save your life.

Emergency Supplies

As well as clothes which can be used if the weather changes, the other important things to keep packed are as follows – water, high-energy food (power bars, nuts, chocolate), a first aid kit, a portable phone charger (solar if you can get one), medication, contact information and a square scarf or tarp.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop.