When was the last time you spent a day in the great outdoors?
Long before the human race settled into civilizations and static communities, we spent much of our time roaming the countryside from place to place, living in nature and appreciating the wilds. Thousands of years have passed since the more nomadic ways of life took a back seat, yet many people still make time in their busy schedules for a good wander through the wilderness.
As a hobby, hiking and trekking offer a variety of health benefits, such as improving cardiovascular and mental health and staving off conditions like osteoporosis, making the activity a go-to for anyone looking to be a little more health-conscious. With that said, anything worth doing is worth doing well, so here are a few tips for getting started on the road that leads ever onwards.
The Road Less Travelled
When planning a walking holiday, it’s always worth doing your homework ahead of time to ensure you’ve selected a route that works for you. It’s important to note that newcomers to hiking don’t need to charge up to the top of Ben Nevis on their first attempt. Instead, choose a location that offers you a decent challenge but still sits within the bounds of your budding capabilities. In 2021 there were 893 instances of would-be adventurers calling Scottish Mountain Rescue for help. That’s a lot of people who underestimated the terrain they were exploring. In the interest of personal safety, always opt for caution when choosing and traversing your route, and most importantly, make sure someone at home knows where you’re planning to go and how your schedule looks.
A personal recommendation for an east-coast, novice-friendly woodland walk would be Tentsmuir Forest in Fife, which is nestled neatly between Voyager’s stores in Dundee and St. Andrews. Aside from stunning views and natural beauty in abundance, the trails in the area are relatively flat, and because it’s coastal, it’s simple to navigate. Perfect fodder for an eager beginner!
A common phrase in Scandinavia is “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” While a raincoat probably isn’t bound to make you feel safe during a lightning storm or in gale-force winds, there is some truth to the statement. The right equipment on a trail is all-important, down to general attire and footwear (high-quality and broken-in hiking boots with good arch support will give you the most enjoyable experience). The best advice on dressing for a hike is to do so in layers. This way, if you get too warm, you can remove a layer, and if you get too hot, you can put one on as you go to ensure you’re comfortable and safe from overheating or catching a chill. Garments like rain ponchos can also be fantastic last-minute additions to provide cover for your non-water-proof clothes.
It’s also important to protect yourself from the sun when hiking for an extended period. Even with cloud cover, the UV rays the sun gives off can be extremely harmful to your skin so always wear a good sunscreen and keep reapplying it every couple of hours to maintain protection. In the event you do get scorched, Voyager’s CBD After Sun Lotion is a perfect travel companion to alleviate the inflammation and irritation associated with a bad sunburn.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”
Bringing CBD on a Hike
A few other essentials you should make room for in your rucksack are a map and compass, a first aid kit, repair tools, extra food and water, shelter in case of emergencies, sunglasses, a flashlight, and a fire kit. If you’re only planning a day trip, you hopefully won’t need most of the items listed. However, it’s always best to prepare for unforeseen circumstances or the possibility you may be outdoors for longer than you anticipated.
In addition to packing the usual items for a safe and successful trip, Voyager recommends stowing something to help alleviate the aches and pains associated with long-distance hiking. Our brand new CBD Foot Cream comes loaded with top-quality ingredients designed to soothe and moisturise the soles of your feet and offer some much-needed anti-inflammatory relief while on the trail. Other Voyager products ideal for taking into the wild are our CBD Cooling Cream for stiff joints and our CBD Muscle Salve to aid in repair and alleviate muscle strain after a long day of trekking. All three products come in portable, durable containers, perfect for packing light.
The Tortoise and the Hare
Now that you’ve kitted yourself out and made it to the start of your chosen trail, it’s time to begin your journey in nature. While the more excitable hikers among us may feel tempted to power walk straight away and reach the endgame as quickly as possible, it’s worth holding back and taking your time for a few reasons. Remember, hiking in nature is generally not a competition, and over-exerting ourselves on the first leg of a trip will not only reduce our enjoyment of our surroundings but could also potentially lead to symptoms of fatigue later on. For the same reason you don’t see marathon runners sprinting from the starting line, serious long-distance hikers make a point of pacing themselves for the duration of their trip to ensure they reach their destination without injury.
Leave no Trace
The last entry of this post pertains to our environmental responsibility. While we’re enjoying the beauty of nature, we must allow the areas we traverse to remain beautiful for others to appreciate. In 2004, the revised five tenets of the Countryside Code were published by the Countryside Agency and the Countryside Council for Wales. The code is as follows:
- Be safe – plan ahead and follow any signs.
- Leave gates and property as you find them.
- Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home.
- Keep dogs under close control.
- Consider other people.
When these rules are respected, wild areas will be left exactly as they were found, and in this way, the natural beauty of the UK’s landscapes can be preserved as much as possible for generations to come.
In the interest of preservation, Voyager offers many reusable alternatives to single-use items such as CBD Soap in biodegradable packaging, bamboo straws, hemp face cloths. It is our position that when fewer plastic items are produced the less they’ll end up littering the countryside and damaging the local environment.
In summary, with fair weather hitting its peak and a multitude of beautiful hiking spots to choose from, there’s never been a better time to take an excursion in nature. Plan well, pack light, pace yourself, and most importantly be safe and enjoy the journey!