Some of us choose to go walking with our families, others with groups of friends, some like to walk with their partner and then there are those of us that just like to go it alone.
There is something very special about being out in the wild, surrounded by only nature and your own thoughts, but as a solo walker there are some considerations to make before setting out that differ from walking with others and we look at them in this blog.
As a solo walker we crave solitude in life that being alone can bring and this is why we take ourselves off for a day or a couple of days to lose ourselves in the wild. Solitude makes you feel alive and connected to the natural world around you.
Solo walking also gives you the freedom to change plans at the blink of an eye and follow your feelings for that day. Perhaps its pouring with rain outside and you just want to chill in your tent with a cuppa for a few more hours, go ahead. Perhaps a beautiful clear sky is forecast in the morning and you decide to get up before its light and see the sunset; you alone are your own leader and decision maker and thats a really lovely feeling.
Although I have touched on the fact that one of the beautiful things about being a solo walker is the abiity to be able to change plans as and when, you do need to do some good planning before you embark upon your solo journey.
Plot your route before you leave to make sure that it is going to be do-able, you’ll be totally alone if anything happens; say you get lost or find carrying your bags/tent too much over steep gradients. Pick a course that is definitely manageable for your fitness level and you'll avoid these major issues.
CHECK THE WEATHER
Its always wise to make sure that the weathers on your side before any cmaping trip but if you are a solo walker its even more important as you won’t have any help if torrnetial rain comes down, or if the sun is so super hot that you find carrying your luggage and hiking all a bit too much.
You really don’t want to be lugging around too much gear when you haven’t got anybody to share the load with, especially if you are camping and need a tent, sleeping gear and so on as well. You really will need to strip back to bare minimum.
CONSIDER THE SEASON
Starting out early on long, light summer days will give you more flexibility and leway with your walk since you’ll have more hours to walk in. Winter days are short, dark and cold and don’t leave much space for error or getting lost, its horrible when you are still miles from your campsite and the darkness is rolling in, especially as a solo walker.
FOLLOW YOUR GUT
Lean on the side of caution as a solo walker and follow your gut; if something isn’t feeling right about the direction you’re headed in then stop and reasses, trust your gut instincts, they are usually right.
TAKE A MAP
Yes you might have GPS guiding you along your route but at some point your signal is sure to drop out and if you don’t know exactly where you are going this could fast turn into a nightmare. Take a map of your route as a back up and you really won’t need to worry.
KEEP IN TOUCH
Although being a solo walker is all about getting off grid, losing yourself in the wilderness and forgetting about your everyday life, it is still wise to let at least somebody know when and where you are going and when you expect to be back. If something did happen to you at least alarm bells would ring for this person and they could get in touch with the necessary people.