Camp Sites in Scotland

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Mountain Walking in Scotland

Mountain walking is alot different to regular hiking and because of this, there are some important things to take into consideration. Here are some important factors to consider on your mountain walk ahead:

• Weather can change quickly in the mountains. It can go from summer to winter in just a few hours, so it's best to be prepared. Extra food and water help keep you fueled, extra clothing helps keep you warm and dry, and in case it's sunny and clear, sun protection helps keep you from getting sunburnt.

• In the mountains, downpours are rare but showers are common. There are two easy ways to stay dry under these conditions. For starters, make sure your boots are fully waterproofed. Full leather or goretex boots are recommended. Also take along waterproof, breathable raingear, both a jacket and pants will keep you dry and warm.

• Temperature control is crucial on a mountain walk, so it is best to organize your clothing in layers that can be easily added or removed. The idea is to avoid sweating. To do this, take off layers before starting out and put them back on as soon as you stop and begin to cool down. If it is hot and sunny, it is still important to bring a fleece or sweater, and if the weather is cool, it is also a good idea that you carry a wind breaker, winter hat and mitts.

• Hiking takes energy and concentration, and it's easy to get worn out while you're having fun. Stop and smell the fir trees, or listen for the songs of birds. Remember, when it comes to hiking, the journey is the destination, so take regular breaks to take the load off your feet and enjoy yourself!

• If you are new to hiking boots, get on an angled rock and jump up and down. Jump harder and harder until you have a clear idea of what the shoes can do for you. On bare rock they have great grip, you're not going anywhere! However, the rules change when you encounter wet conditions. Beware of wet wood- always lethally slippery! Wet mud or soil on the bottom of your boots is also lethal.

• When walking downhill, bend the knees and lean forward. This sounds simple, but it is counter-intuitive. Leaning forwards feels very strange at first because our inclination is to lean backwards when the terrain feels steep. However, if you lean backwards, your feet have a tendency to fly out from underneath you, especially when there are loose ball-bearing-like rocks underfoot. Instead, assume the athletic ready position with knees bent and a slight lean forward. With feet directly underneath you and a low center of gravity, it is much less likely that you'll lose your footing. Even if you do, the feet are perfectly placed to effect a quick recovery.

• Walking downhill is in many ways harder than climbing up. Because it is so hard on the joints, it is important to always bend the knees and use the upper leg muscles to ease your footfall. If you just slam your feet down, most of your body weight comes crushing down on your knees. Repeated abuse of the knees can cause serious problems. When lowering your body down a big step on the trail it is also a good idea to consciously use thigh and buttock muscles to gently bring the body down.

• On steep trails with loose rocks, take extra care. When choosing where to place your feet, the best surface is bare ground. But if it's rocky, bigger rocks are better, and rocks embedded in the ground are better yet. Bigger rocks tend not to move as much nor to create a ball-bearing effect. Always step on the uphill side of a rock so it doesn't squirt out from under your boots.

Every time you go for a walk or hike, no matter how short, bring the following items:

• Food
• Water
• Sunscreen and Sunhat
• Winter hat and Mittens or Gloves
• Raingear

Click here to find information on the Mountains of Scotland!

Scotland is packed with stunning countryside views, steaped in history and proud of its many traditions.
There really is something for everyone in Scotland and the BEST way to get the full experience is by camping.
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