There are all sorts of things you should have with you if you are going away from your car for more than the odd half an hour, and especially if you are contemplating some of the walks in this guide. What is listed below is a simple guide to things you’ll need when walking in The Peak District, but it is by no means a comprehensive list.
Britain’s climate is classified as ‘temperate maritime’ which means that it is mild, damp and above all, unpredictable. It is a good idea, whatever the season, to come prepared and pack some warm clothing and waterproofs. The Peak District is one of those places where the weather can provide “four seasons in one day”.
Even on a pleasant sunny day in the lowlands around the Peak District, the weather on the tops is liable to be cooler, and probably windier. You should be prepared for this, and for the possibility that the glorious morning you set out in has become an overcast lunchtime, and a rain filled afternoon.
The Peak District is like that.
1. A comfortable pair of shoes or boots. In this day and age boots are not seen as the trendy things to wear. I won’t argue either way, but you do need something you will be comfortable in, and that will keep your feet dry. Even in the relative dryness of summer, there are still wet bits to get across – and wet feet will blister much quicker then dry ones.
Whatever footwear you decide on, make sure you wear it with socks, and make sure your socks have been smoothed over your feet. After a few rugged miles a creased sock can be the starting point for a blister.
2. Trousers. Even in the warmest weather, when it is more comfortable to walk in shorts, it is still worth having a pair of trousers with you. The weather may turn for the worst, making warm legs more of a priority. Even sat out on a warm day on some of the higher ground may chill you a bit if you have nothing to cover your legs.
Trousers should of course be of a material which will keep some warmth when they are wet, and dry easily. Most material should be okay at this, but jeans have got to be discouraged, as they take ages to dry, and they give almost no warmth when wet.
3. Waterproof jacket with hood. There are all kinds of possibilities which meet this criteria, from really cheap to unbelievably expensive. Whatever you choose, make sure you are comfortable walking in it, and it keeps you dry. Rain can come even on days which start out sunny.
4. Hat. In the summer, a sun hat will help you from suffering from the effects of the sun, in the colder months, a wooly hat will stop your ears from freezing. Either will keep the heat in if the weather turns bad at any time of year. There is nothing worse than the rain dripping down you neck off your own wet hair.
5. Drinks container. Whether it is for a hot drink, such as a thermos, or for a cold drink like a water bottle, you should make sure you have some form of liquid refreshment with you. Without water the body suffers more than without food. A cold drink on a warm day helps make up for water lost to sweat, and a warm drink on a cold day will always revive flagging spirits.
6. Map and compass. The instructions enclosed on this site are designed to help you, but nothing is more useful than a real map and compass – especially when you have strayed from the route. If you have them with you, you should always make sure you can use one.
7. Spare Clothing. Even on sunny days, it can get cold sat in a windy place. The Peak District can be like that, the best views tend to be in the windiest of places. If you are having a rest, or lunch, at a nice viewpoint it will be enjoyed more if you are warm. You can always take the jumper off again when you start walking again.
8. An emergency pack. This is something which you should never need, but will be invaluable if you have a real emergency. It needs to be something which will live in your rucsac, and only come out when needed, or to check for expiry of it’s contents.
A simple pack should contain a simple shelter (usually this is a big orange plastic bag, usually called a bivvie bag), some emergency food (high energy with plenty of sugar – there are plenty of things that would be okay here, but I prefer marzipan – it really hits the spot quickly), a torch and a whistle – both can be used to attract help if you need it.
So that’s a simple guide to things you’ll need when walking in The Peak District.