Just because it's colder, wetter, windier and darker it doesn't mean you should give up on walking in Scotland. As we've been blogging all year, walking is a great form of exercise and a fantastic mood booster so giving up shouldn't be an option. However, winter walking does come with more dangers than in the summer months so it's important that you're prepared for the weather conditions.
Lower-level walking in winter in Scotland
Rain, lighter winds, some ice and perhaps even snow will be the challenges facing the walker in the lower-level hills.
The minimum kit should include: Robust, waterproof walking boots, wick-away base layers, fleece, waterproof jacket, trousers, waterproof overtrousers, warm hat and gloves.
Pack in your rucksack: Extra base layers, an extra fleece, another pair of gloves, water, a flask of hot tea or coffee, food and energy bars or cereal bars, a compass and a map.
High level walking in winter in Scotland
Walking in Scotland's higher hills or mountains in winter is for the experienced only. Alternatively you could hire a guide. Weather conditions can rapidly change and it's vital that you know how to navigate in very low visibility. Expect ice, deep snow, high winds, white outs, heavy snow fall and rain.
Essential kit needs to be carried on your back so you should also be fit.
The minimum kit should include: Four seasons walking boots, wick-away base layers, fleeces, waterproof jacket, trousers, waterproof overtrousers, warm hat and warm gloves.
Pack in your rucksack: Extra base layers, an extra fleece, another pair of gloves, an extra hat, crampons, ice axe, a shelter in case of an accident, mobile phone, water, a flask of hot tea or coffee, food and energy bars or cereal bars, a compass and a map. A GPS gadget is a good idea too but you can't rely on this so a map and compass (and the ability to use them) are vital. A first aid kit would be a wise addition.
Always check the latest weather reports and avalanche warnings before setting out. If in doubt, it's best not to go, instead choosing a lower level alternative.