Walking Safely

As part of our commitment to promote safe active outdoor sports the Holme Valley Team has gathered together some basic hits and tips to ensure you are prepared, enjoy the day and return safely.

There is nothing better than a day out in the countryside on a fine day with excellent views. Being situated on the edge of the Peak District National Park many would say we are lucky to have some of the best open countryside and moorland on our doorstep. Even to walk the dog in the local woods there will be something for you to take note of on this page.
This page points out many simple steps that could make the difference between enjoying the day out you plan or requiring our assistance in less fortunate circumstances. Whether you are out for a short walk locally, or a full day, these tips can hopefully prevent any situations occurring, or if they do help us to help you. Accidents can happen to the best of us who enjoy the outdoors and as our records will show they don’t always happen in the wildest, remotest places.

Planning for the day may prevent an incident

  • Plan where you are going carefully, if possible check local guides or maps, take them with you.
  • Leave message with a responsible person (a family member or friend) of where you are going, but most importantly let them know when you are back.
  • Even better – make up a route card and leave it with a responsible person. (Click this link to get a Acrobat version of a route card)
  • Ensure you have all the equipment you might need for the terrain you intend to encounter. Remember – though our countryside looks very inviting on a sunny day, we have been known to have 7 seasons in a day! Use the suggested equipment list on this page as a guide.
  • Don’t stretch yourself with the conditions or terrain – its always better to turn back and have a go another day rather than go beyond you capabilities.
  • Also, if you are with other people keep an eye on them. Young people are well known for their eagerness, but tiredness and exhaustion strikes them quickly.
  • Take some extra food and a warm drink with you. If you are forced to stop make use of it. If not it’s great so have a break and admire the view!
  • Have a first aid kit with you and use it if necessary.
  • If something does happen – don’t panic. Click here to find out how to call out Mountain Rescue.

Suggested equipment list – from inside to out

Ensure you carry a map and compass - and know how to use them!

Ensure you carry a map and compass - and know how to use them!

  • Several thin, comfortable layers work much better that a few thicker ones. This allows you to change what you wear to suit the conditions.
  • Have a good fleece top with you to ensure warmth. It is also a good idea to pack a spare. Trousers – not jeans, something that will dry quickly and retain warmth is best.
  • Socks and suitable footware – look after your feet, they are doing the work. In any case most walking injuries are as a result of poor footware.
  • Waterproof jacket with a hood that fits and keeps out the wind and rain. Don’t forget waterproof trousers!
  • If you intend to carry things (and best you do) have a rucksack that is comfortable and large enough to carry everything.
  • Don’t forget maps and guides, compass, food, warm drink, hat(s), gloves, whistle, etc.
  • Pack a first aid kit with plasters, small wound dressings, antiseptic wipes etc.
  • A good tip is to pack all these in plastic bags – rucksacks aren’t always waterproof!
  • If the terrain is rough or remote you may even think of getting or taking a good walking/trekking pole.
  • You can spend lots of money on outdoor equipment, far more than is necessary. If you need to, get advice from a good retailer. Basics are to be able to keep warm and dry and comfortable throughout the day with a few extra layers if it goes wrong.

Check the weather!

Weather can make or break a good day out. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set out. We all know how fickle the British weather can be.

These days there are many ways to do this. There is the obvious TV or radio, more people these days with access get a local forecast from the internet. Also in many areas these days Tourist Information Offices and some outdoor equipment shops will have the day’s weather forecast for you to use.

Follow the Country Code

Anyone who enjoys getting out into the countryside probably does for the peace and quiet as well as the beauty of it all. However, following some simple, self explanatory rules we can ensure the countryside remains as good tomorrow as it is today. These are:

  • To leave no litter.
  • To safeguard water supplies – do not pollute streams.
  • To protect wildlife, plants and trees – do not pick wild plants.
  • To proceed carefully on country roads – walk in single file.
  • To walk in single file when walking through crops and grass.
  • Not to climb over fences and walls.

Don’t forget your car…

  • If you have managed to have a great walk with no incidents, even dodge the worst of the weather, there is one thing that is sure to spoil the day – to get back and find you are a victim of car crime.
  • Take as much care with your car before you set off as you put in to preparing your walk.
  • Park in such a place that the car is not left on it’s own or causing an obstruction to others.
  • Never leave valuables on show in the car, particularly mobile phones or ‘Sat Nav’ systems – even the cradles tell someone you have one!
  • Ensure you lock your car before setting out and use whatever car security you have is used.
  • Ensure your car is not an obstruction and is secure

Whatever you do – enjoy the day!

The last word…

It’s fine that you have all the equipment we have suggested you take, together with the latest gear in this year’s colours so you look your best. Do you know what to do with it?

Even we are not perfect, and our training programme ensures we all practice our hill craft and rescue skills in testing environments.

Using a map and compass is easy when the sky is clear on a fine day – not so to navigate accurately on the worst day (or night) of the year.

There are many local courses available to develop and practice your first aid, navigation and general hill craft skills.Contact your local library and they can put you in touch with a specialist course. You may even meet new friends!