How to walk safely in the dark

Friday 28th December 2012

Now we are in the middle of winter and days are short, during the week with work commitments it can be impossible to get out for a walk in day light.
If you enjoy a long walk at weekends you often find you run out of daylight especially if you get lost and walk longer than expected so sensible to become confident at walking in the dark.
We have an inexhaustible terrier called Spider that needs lots of exercise and walking in the dark started out as a necessity and then became a great pleasure.
Night walking is fantastic it will give you confidence and improve your navigational skills.

Before you start make sure you are prepared for it
? Get a head torch ideally with a red beam as this does not affect your night vision and back up small handheld torch with spare long life batteries. Useful if dogs have flashing collars.
? Warm, waterproof clothing is a must even in the summer as temperature drops overnight. Do not underestimate the difference in temperature between day and night it will surprise the unprepared.
? Plan your route, walk at least once in the light think about tide times, moon phase
? Think about where you are going avoid cliff edges and tidal areas.
? Take a map and mobile phone if you are embarking on an all-night walk a GPS is recommended. Let someone know your plans just in case.
? If there are a number of you glow sticks are useful for keeping the group together
? Invest in a good quality flask for coffee and pack high energy snacks.
? Do some practising by intentionally ending a walk with some easy bits at the end which you can do in the dark. Alternatively start a walk an hour before dawn so you won?t be too long in the dark before you see the rising sun.

The first few walks in the dark stick to familiar tracks you do regularly as even though you know the routes they will look unfamiliar in the dark. Think about doing your first one on a full Moon.
Having a canopy of sparkling stars above you without the glare of street lights is something everyone should experience in reality it is usually cloudy but you will be surprised how quickly your eye sight adjusts to little light.
You will find that on many open sections of footpaths when you have moonlight your night sight will be enough and you will only need to use the torch when you are under the cover of trees or hedgerow so you can watch out for brambles and overhanging branches.

Expect to get spooked,
Wight Wanders - 22 Broadfields Avenue - Cowes - Isle of Wight - PO31 7UD
Tel: +44 (0) 1983 281662 - Email: info@wight-walks.co.uk