Top 10 safety tips for exploring the outdoors

Visitors preparing for their walk at Carneddau and Glyderau, Gwynedd

As guardians of 157 miles of coastline and more than 46,000 hectares of land, we’re not short of special places to walk and wonderful yet challenging mountains to climb in Wales.

If you are after an exhilarating day getting close to nature in our wonderful places, follow these top 10 safety tips:

1. Plan your route

Plan your route in advance, Choose walking routes with your group’s capabilities and timings in mind. Follow pathways, avoiding cliff edges or walking on terrain that you are unsure of.

2. Be aware

It’s important to be aware of any hidden dangers, high and low tide times and local weather forecasts. Glorious sunshine? Take a hat and some suncream. Torrential rain? Consider whether the conditions are suitable based on you and your companion’s capabilities.

We would also reinforce the message put out by safety organisations, such as the RNLI, that when visiting coastal areas, it is better to bathe at lifeguarded beaches.

3. Think like a local

If you’re planning to visit somewhere new to you, make sure to check the local conditions. With coastal areas, the sea conditions can change rapidly and there can be rip currents on the calmest of days.

4. Tell a friend

When out exploring with others, it is important to walk at the pace of the slowest person in your group. If you would rather go alone, make sure to let someone know your plans before starting your journey. This should include your route, your start and finish points, estimated time of return and also any changes during your trip.

5. Wear the right gear

Choosing appropriate clothing for your activity is important when tackling the elements. Consider the right footwear, such as walking boots with ankle support, think about insulating layers, waterproofs and hats and gloves when facing challenging climbs, even in the summer.

6. Know how to get help

Remember, if you find someone in trouble, don’t put yourself at risk. In an emergency, call the following for help:

Inland: 999 – ask for the police and then Mountain Rescue
Inland waters not categorised as 'sea': 999 – ask for Fire & Rescue Service
Coastal: 999 – ask for the Coastguard

7. Go equipped

A map/chart and compass is a good place to start and should be easily accessible if going on long walks or mountain climbs. Other useful items can include a watch, a torch with spare batteries and bulbs, a fully charged mobile phone, GPS and a whistle, which can be used to signal rescue with six good long blasts, stop for one minute, and then repeat until someone reaches you.

8. Keep your energy levels up

Before heading out, make sure you eat well. Carry food and plenty of drink to keep you hydrated and bring your energy levels up when needed. Chocolate and dried fruit are a great way to give you that quick boost.

9. Be vigilant

Be aware of your surroundings and changes in weather conditions. Keep an eye on any children and pets joining you on your trip and be prepared for the possibility of having to turn back on your journey if the weather deteriorates.

10. Follow guidance

Check out the safety guidance that we and other organisations provide for setting out on many magnificent adventures across our beautiful country.

- Adventure Smart Wales
- Mountain Rescue