Top tips: what to pack for a day hike in Scotland
Long or short pants (trousers)
Always tempting if you happen to strike the good weather to whip out the shorts to go for a hike. It is however worth bearing in mind that Scotland is not without its pests. There are ticks in Scotland which hang on the undergrowth, particularly at low levels waiting for someone or something to come past. Ticks are often carried by deer who rub them off on the vegetation where they wait for the next host to continue their life cycle. They can wait for years.
If you do pick up a tick it is not the end of the world. There is Limes Disease in the UK which can be treated with antibiotics – but early removal of the tick is key to the prevention of the disease. We have tick removers here at Fraoch Lodge. Make sure you check yourself over at the end of the day. However, you can minimise the risk of picking up a tick by wearing long trousers and gaiters over the top of your boots. Generally speaking dog walkers and golfers are often at more risk than hikers of returning with ticks.
Long or short sleeves
Unless you’re going to be battling through particularly overgrown parts of the countryside, the length of your sleeves is not too vital and the rate at which you get cold will determine whether you think long or short sleeves suitable for the day.
Boots or approach shoes
There are not many well graded, smooth paths in the Scottish hills. Most tracks are relatively rough with loose stones and rocks. It is usually sensible to use over the ankle walking boots to protect your ankles from turning and also to keep your feet as dry as possible. Leather boots, though heavier, should provide the best protection and will be generally more waterproof than gortex lined fabric boots.
Gortex or Nikwax Analogue/Paramo waterproofs
Waterproof shell jackets are by far the most popular. Most shops stock a wide range of jackets designed with gortex fabric. Andy himself prefers to wear Paramo clothing or Cioch direct waterproofs, which are made from the same material but his have been made to measure. The advantage that the Nikwax analogue material has over gortex is that it is designed to be reproofed after washing so is likely to last you longer. The jackets can also be returned for repairs at little or no cost. The disadvantage is that the material is heavier and can prove to be too warm in the height of the summer – though at an average year round temperature of 0oC, the Paramo jackets are usually suitable for the Cairngorm plateau.
Hat and gloves
Always useful to include a warm hat and gloves at the bottom of your pack as it can be cool on the hill tops even in August.
The most sensible attitude to your clothing for hiking is to make sure you have several light layers which will provide maximum flexibility rather than one or 2 choices. Make sure that your layers are not cotton options as you could cool off very rapidly, should your cotton layer become damp whereas synthetic or wool layers will either dry more rapidly or stop you from cooling down too much.
The most useful size of packpack to bring with you is a 35 litre pack. This will be large enough to take all excess clothing, camera, packed lunch etc. Smaller than this may mean that you have to limit what you take on the hill, particularly in winter.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries about the clothing/gear you are intending to bring with you for your Scottish vacation.
Email: info at scotmountain.co.uk
Tel: +44 1479 831 331