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10th October 2018

The Ultimate West Highland Way Walking Checklist

hill walking essentials

Make the most of your walking holiday and listen to this prep advice from the EasyWays experts! We love walking and everything it involves, and so we have put together a checklist of hill walking essentials that we know will make your West Highland Way adventure that little bit more special. 

Hill Walking Essentials for the West Highland Way

Be prepared for your walk to help you make the most of your experience.

1 Emergency First Aid Kit

We know you’re preparing for something very exciting, but make sure you are kitted out in case there is an emergency! Like any Scottish walking route, the West Highland Way takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of the country, but can also be remote. So, in the event of an emergency, you must have some of the basics. Including:

  • Your own medication, if you take medicine regularly
  • Plasters/bandages of various sizes
  • Sterile dressings
  • Safety pins
  • Allergy/pain relief tablets
  • Insect relief cream and/or repellent spray (for Scottish midges, we have found a midge net to be more effective than any over-the-counter sprays)
  • Scissors/tweezers
  • Blister plasters (a must have for long distance walking! – we use Compeed)

Having some of these essentials will give you peace of mind and come in handy if something unfortunate happens! If you are walking in a group separate the first aid kit among you to keep everyone’s bags lighter.

2. Music and Podcasts

If you are walking alone or find it more enjoyable to listen something while walking, it is a good idea to put together a playlist or download new podcasts. Why not listen to a podcast about the local area? If you’re unfamiliar with Scotland or the West Highland Way sites, walk and listen along to find out more about our outdoors, heritage and history. There are a couple which cover the topic you may be interested in;

3. Breathable, Insulating and Waterproof

The Scottish weather is unpredictable. No matter what time of year you are walking, you must make sure that you are kitted out with a breathable base layer, thermal and waterproof clothing and footwear. Our clothing and footwear hill walking essentials include:

  • Items made of breathable fabric (linen, sport performance materials etc.) to make sure moisture from your body moves quickly – avoid cotton.
  • Insulating clothing for your middle layer. Fleeces, soft shell jackets, thermal leggings etc.
  • Waterproof clothing for your outer layer. Well fitting waterproof trousers and jacket.
  • Breathable socks – choose wool instead of cotton.
  • Thermal hat and gloves
  • Well fitting, worn in, waterproof walking boots with a good tread

Take a look at one of our previous posts to find out more about clothing essentials. 

4. Trekking Poles

The use of trekking poles is a personal choice. Some people love them, some people find that they get in the way. The West Highland Way’s terrain is fairly uneven, so if you opt to take them, they will help you when:

  • Finding and keeping walking pace
  • Scaling hills
  • Walking down hill
  • Keeping your balance on uneven or slippery ground
  • Crossing rivers
  • Testing ground before putting all of your weight on it

Why not borrow a pair of poles for your practice walks to help you decide whether you want to invest in a pair yourself?

5. Don’t Forget! 

If it is your first time packing for a week long walking holiday we understand that it can be overwhelming to remember and be prepared for everything. This is why we have put together this checklist! The last couple of items you mustn’t forget include:

  • Spare socks and laces
  • Map and compass (just in case)
  • A survival kit – emergency whistle, emergency contact details 
  • Bottle of water – to reduce plastic, please refill your water bottle each day, rather than buying plastic bottles 

Still have concerns about what to bring along? Get in touch with the EasyWays team.