Thursday, 22 December 2011

Festive family fun outdoors

With the festive holidays now here, many families will be looking forward to some quality time together. Heading outdoors for a walk or cycle gives adult and kids a chance to burn off some excess Christmas calories and get some much needed exercise. If you sit at home watching films and playing computer games for a fortnight you'll all go stir crazy.

But so many people are put off going into Scotland's great outdoors by poor weather. We're not saying you should be forced to go outside and into the hills when it's blowing a gale or stormy but during the winter months you'll find that Scotland boasts some truly lovely days.

There is no reason to miss out on outside fun, especially when Scotland does enjoy cold days with bright blue skies, or mild days with a little rain or snow, of full-on snowy days.

Dress to suit the weather

If you're wearing the right outdoor clothing then most days during the festive holidays offer an opportunity to go outdoors for a family adventure. This doesn't just mean buying the right kit for the grown-ups. Children tend to get colder faster and in wet, snowy or chilly weather, it's youngsters that need to be wrapped up warm and dry.

You'll find a host of practical outdoor clothes for children these days. Here's a checklist of outdoor clothing for children:

Walking boots or wellies are required. Shoes or trainers will let water or snow in over the top and that means the kids will have wet - and cold – feet before you know it. You don't need to spend a fortune but do look for waterproof boots. Something like these Regatta Guideway boots for kids.

A waterproof jacket is a must. There is a huge choice in shops and on-line. See Regatta and Go Outdoors. For youngsters how about this all-in-one Regatta Splosh suit? (See left) Waterproof and cosy, this suit keeps little ones warm from neck to ankles.

Waterproof over trousers make wet or snowy days that bit drier and warmer. Kids can wear their choice of comfy trousers and simply pop the roomy and waterproof trousers over the top.

Baselayers are for children, too. Most adults know about the advantages of wearing a number of thinner baselayers to keep heat in. A baselayer followed by a fleece and then a waterproof jacket works as well for children as for grown-ups.

Cold hands, feet or head will lead to moany children so make sure you have a bundle of hats, gloves and thick socks in a range of sizes.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Pick up top tips for winter walking

Safety is important in the mountains – especially in winter. At Glentrek we run a programme of winter skills and navigation courses offering practical and informative advice about how to enjoy the mountains safely and what to do in situations where you are caught out by bad weather.

Winter skills courses with Glentrek

You can never learn enough about winter safety, however, so we're delighted to hear about the The Mountaineering Council of Scotland's Winter Safety Lectures. This season's lectures are taking place in a range of locations across Scotland.

The aim of the lectures is to entertain and educate, and the main theme is skills for the mountains in winter. In order to deliver this, an inspiring array of speakers has been chosen to present the 2012 lecture series and an entertaining evening out is guaranteed.

The MCofS lectures take place in popular venues including the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe and the Mountain Café, Aviemore. Others will take place at Tiso stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness.

Heather Morning, the MCofS Mountain Safety Adviser, says: “The MCofS winter safety lectures have something to offer everyone who enjoys the Scottish mountains in winter. Whether you are a seasoned mountaineer or heading to the mountains for the first time, you are guaranteed to pick up some useful 'top tips' from the experts.”

MCofS Chief Officer David Gibson said: “Winter mountains have much to offer in terms of physical challenge, superb views and memorable experiences. However, the margin for error is much less than at other times of the year due to the weather, conditions underfoot and limited daylight hours.

"These lectures could save lives by enabling you to learn from others’ experience and gain an understanding of the skills and equipment you need to be more self-reliant.”

Of course, at Glentrek we believe that the best way to learn about winter mountains and safety is to get out there with an experienced guide but for extra top tips the MCofS safety lectures will be a valuable addition to your winter skills knowledge.