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Planning a trip to Mount Snowdon? Read this post first!

It’s coming up to my birthday again and I’ve been trying to decide where I want to celebrate turning 26. Rome, Slovenia, Germany or Switzerland – all these destinations crossed my mind. After some careful consideration though, I’ve decided to go back to one of my favourite National Parks, Snowdonia.

I know some many people fell in love with some of the pictures we uploaded in our last blog post, so if you’re thinking of heading there too, here’s some tips for planning an incredible trip.

Planning a trip to Mount Snowdon? Read this post first! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Buy a map – you won’t regret it

Some information and advice that you may find useful I would always strongly recommend that users of the guides purchase the appropriate Ordnance survey map covering the area of the walk. Maps are not expensive and add to the experience of the day. They are also invaluable in the event that for any reason things do go wrong.

The following maps cover the areas of the walks: Explorer OL17 : Snowden and Conwy vally and Explorer OL18 : Harlech, Orthmadog & Bala. Learn how to read grid references on these maps – it’s very easy, the first 6 digits refer to the horizontal position and the second six refer to the vertical position. For a full explanation if you are unsure, check out how by Googling or using YouTube.

Plan, plan and plan some more

Planning a trip to Mount Snowdon? Read this post first! | UK Lifestyle BlogBefore you set out, you can ‘virtually’ drive the last part of your journey to the parking area using the ‘street view’ facility available on Google Maps. This is a fantastic free tool and I would strongly recommend that you use it. It may save you some time and frustration caused by stopping to check directions.

The street view function covers almost every major and minor road in the park. The google maps ‘satellite’ view can also be very useful in picking out some of the way points shown in the guides. Access area and public rights of way Although much of the upland area in the park is now classed as open access land, some is not – especially land close to farm buildings. Open access areas are shown on the ordnance survey maps by highlighting in orange. Many well used paths are not shown on Ordnace survey maps as they are not official public rights of way.

When to go I don’t personally go into the mountains on rainy days and I don’t go high on cloudy days – I really can’t see the point in toiling to the top of a mountain if you can’t enjoy the views and I don’t like being soaked to the skin. Very windy days can also take the fun out of things – especially if the wind is against you on the ascent (people have been blown off mountains and killed on several occasions).

These guides are designed to be used on days with good visibility. Check the weather forecast before you set out – BBC weather, XC weather and the Met Office mountain weather forecasts are all very good.

Picking suitable gear & equipment

Essentially, you pay your money and take your choice. In my opinion, there is really no need to purchase the entire contents of the Cotswold shop before setting out (as some walkers seem to feel the need to do), however, setting off for a trek up Snowdon in October with just shorts, a t-shirt and trainers is an equally bad idea.

Outdoor clothing is one of the few types of kit that has not fallen in price since production was largely moved to the far east, and some of it can be very expensive indeed. Using common sense is the best approach – no point spending £500 on a waterproof jacket that was designed for alpine mountaineers if you are doing all of your walking in the UK.

Knowing what to wear

For summer a lightweight type is a good option in case of rain and wind. In winter, a heavier wind and waterproof jacket is required either with attached fleece or with enough room to put on when wearing a fleece. Most jackets these days are ‘breathable’. My advice would be to start with a cheaper end jacket and see how it goes. £50 or less will buy you a decent lightweight and £100 or less a decent waterproof.

Whatever you end up buying, don’t make the first time you wear it on a long trip up a mountain. Just like you would with a new pair of high heels, take them for a test run first (no, I don’t mean around the house!). Go for a walk locally to see how your new coat handles wind and rain; you don’t want to be finding this out when you’re battling 45mph winds and snowstorms on a summit.

Planning a trip to Mount Snowdon? Read this post first! | UK Lifestyle Blog
Finisterre beanie £25, Trespass Martine down jacket £58, Sorrel boots £95

I’ve recently been trailing the women’s Martine down jacket from Trespass is fantastic for chilly and dry days out. I wanted to ensure it kept me warm enough to wear underneath my shell jacket when we next visit Snowdon – and it didn’t fail to impress! The jacket is made with a natural down feather filling which retains heat, made up of 80% Down and 20% Feather – in other words, it’s super cosy.

Why would I take this jacket up Snowdon? This type of natural material is highly flexible, meaning it can be folded and stored away easily in its stuff sack located in the pocket and put in your car, rucksack or travel case. It’s ultra-lightweight allowing you to add on additional layers such as ski top, base layer set or microfleece without feeling constricted or weighed down.

Planning a trip to Mount Snowdon? Read this post first! | UK Lifestyle Blog

😱➡️  Mount Snowdon in March: Hiking gear checklist

When it comes to choosing trousers and tops I wear whatever I feel comfortable in. In winter I just add extra layers, such as the merino base layers available at Finisterre. I prefer to wear Craghoppers cargo trousers as they have loads of pockets (including a side map pocket) and they dry really quickly if they get a bit damp.

Two things I would not skimp on are shoes/boots and socks – cheap items can turn a good day into a painful day in no time at all. Investing in good quality hiking shoes that offer support is important, because there’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable on a hike. Equally, you may think that £10 – 15 for a pair of socks is crazy, but it really is money well spent – my personal favourites are Brigdale trecker extreme.

Stocking up on fuel

You can’t walk up hills or mountains on an empty stomach. At some point you will run out of gas and ‘hit the wall’, where you legs start to feel like jelly and tempers start to flare. Eat a good breakfast that contains lots of slow release calories before you set off (cereals or a fry up are good), and take snacks with you that you can use to give a quick boost you calories if the need arises.

Personal favourite from my half marathon days is peanut butter and banana on toast!

Planning a trip to Mount Snowdon? Read this post first! | UK Lifestyle Blog

I usually take a bag of jelly babies, but if sweets isn’t your thing, things like bananas can be good. The ‘energy gels’ that are available will work, but are just sugars mixed in a jelly – take a bar of chocolate, its just as effective and much cheaper (and tastier).

When you get to the summit, there is nothing better than enjoying a well earned snack – a couple of buns and a cup of tea go down very well whilst admiring the views. and are well worth the effort of carrying them up. It is important to take a good supply of fluids with you – especially on a warm day.

Running out of water half way through the day is a very unpleasant experience. On a warm day, if walking up hill, I would always take at least 2 litres of water, sometimes 3 if it is a hot day and a big mountain. Better too much than not enough – you can always pour away any excess to lighten your load . Portable water filters are available for use in emergencies but they are quite expensive.

Don’t forget!

Essential for carrying water and food and other kit, you’ll need a good rucksack. Choose a size to fit your requirements and no need to spend a fortune. Good padding on the back and hip strap helps to prevent the stuff inside banging against your spine.

Finally, ever since getting my walking poles I wouldn’t consider doing a mountain without them. Pick yourself up a cheap set of poles, and you’ll see exactly what I mean! You’ll then be able to invest in a pair of Komperdell Carbon Ultralite walking poles.

Planning a trip to Mount Snowdon? Read this post first! | UK Lifestyle Blog

😱➡️  The Perfect Winter Hiking Holiday Destinations

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2018-06-01T15:49:34+00:00 January 10, 2017|Travel|

Why You Should Book a Holiday to Tenerife NOW!

For those that are regulars here on my blog *hello!*, you’ll know that I try to go away at least once a month or more. I absolutely love travelling; so when I received an email last month asking if I wanted to go to on a holiday to Tenerife with some bloggers, I jumped at the chance.

When I was reading the email, I was on my way back from the Sahara desert in Morocco (read more here) – due to travelling and responding to a copious amount of emails, I didn’t get to do a huge amount of research on Tenerife before heading out there. I hadn’t been to the Canary Island in years, and didn’t really know what to expect.

Why You Should Book a Holiday to Tenerife NOW! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Turns out there is so much to do, and we’re already planning our trip to go back. Here’s some of the reasons you should consider Tenerife for your next holiday, and an insight into my holiday to Tenerife last month:

Tenerife is the place for water sports

There’s nothing I love more than spending all day in the sea. Living in Cornwall right next to the beach, I’m so lucky that I can just stroll down the hill for a couple of minutes to the closest beach. That said, there’s only a couple of days of the year when it isn’t freezing and you need to pull on your neoprene. That’s why I couldn’t wait to get to Tenerife and enjoy being in the 24°C water without wearing booties and a full-length wet suit.

Why You Should Book a Holiday to Tenerife NOW! | UK Lifestyle Blog

On the first day a group of us grabbed some boards and drove around most of the south coast, chasing waves. Firstly, huge disclaimer here – despite living in Cornwall, I am not a surfer! I know, shock horror! It’s always something I’ve been drawn to, and I did have surf lessons in Australia back in 2012. Shortly after, during spring break I went to Bali and did a bit of practising, I felt like I was slowly getting the hang of it. This was a long time ago though, and it turns out that surfing isn’t like riding a bike! So whilst I certainly can’t give any ‘pro’ advice, unlike some of my fellow bloggers can (they looked super cool standing on their boards whilst I tackled the waves from the shoreline); I can say that there is a lot waves in Tenerife for those who have a bit more experience than me.

You can read more about the surf and what it’s like from these guys who knew exactly what they were doing!:

http://www.driftsurfing.eu/72-hours-tenerife/

Why You Should Book a Holiday to Tenerife NOW! | UK Lifestyle Blog

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After a day of surfing (I’d say I reflected a drowning seal rather than a surfer) I decided to mix it up and go paddle boarding on day 2. The water was flat as a pancake and the weather was beautiful, so it was a no-brainer to spend the day on a SUP.

Donna and I paddled a whopping 9km around the coast of Tenerife. Needless to say, we felt it in our arms later on that evening – totally worth it though! I’d love to head back and take advantage of the windsurfing and kite surfing but alas, the wind wasn’t strong enough during our visit.

Why You Should Book a Holiday to Tenerife NOW! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Scuba diving in Tenerife is unreal

Whilst I was mostly ON the water, some of the bloggers went open water scuba diving during our stay. When we reconvened in the evening and they showed us their pictures, and I almost didn’t believe them. I’ve pinched a snaps from one of the lovely ladies to show you how incredible it looks:

Unfortunately I’m not certified to go diving, however, their stories and photographs have inspired me to do my open water diving course! If you want more information about scuba diving in Tenerife then head over to Ari’s blog here: http://beyondblighty.com/scuba-diving-in-tenerife/

Teide National Park is extraordinary

As a mountain lover and avid hiker, I was absolutely stoked to be heading to Volcan El Teide, the highest mountain in Spain (12,198ft). If you’re heading to Tenerife make sure you dedicate at least one day to exploring this area, you won’t regret it! It was without a doubt my favourite part of the trip.

Why You Should Book a Holiday to Tenerife NOW! | UK Lifestyle Blog

😱➡️  6 Steps To Planning A Great Hike

On the way to the National Park, we stopped at sightseeing spots to get some snaps. Notably, we hopped out on a long highway dividing fields of rock formations from lava. Not to mention, it was pretty much silent – so beautiful! It was still warm but the air was crisp once we’d reach a higher altitude.

Jumping back in the van, we eventually we gained 9,000ft elevation before beginning our hike. It made a nice change from my usual trips, where I usually start from sea level! The views were absolutely incredible; I can only describe the scenery as a mix of Patagonia, The Grand Canyon and the Alps, merged into one diverse landscape – you’ll see why in my next post.

Why You Should Book a Holiday to Tenerife NOW! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Our guide was so helpful and gave us a great insight into the history of Tenerife and Mount Teide. As you probably know, I’m obsessed with snow and the first thing I thought of when I saw the towering peaks, was how beautiful it would be in white – this is why we’re planning to go back during the winter.

Stay tuned for another post about Teide National Park in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, Lucy wrote a great post that sums up our trip to the volcano in this post: http://paddlepedalpace.co.uk/2016/10/hiking-tenerife-thomas-cook-airlines/

Why You Should Book a Holiday to Tenerife NOW! | UK Lifestyle Blog

😱➡️  How Food Can Improve Your Hike

It’s warm 365 days of the year (almost)!

If you’re heading somewhere like Tenerife, it’s pretty important that you have good weather, right? It would be pretty frustrating to arrive somewhere that has so much to offer, but then he stuck inside because of bad weather. I had no idea that Tenerife gets just two days of rain a year – half of me still doesn’t really believe it.

Regardless, Tenerife does have year-round sunshine, so unless you’re really unlucky the weather is pretty much guaranteed to be warm no matter what time of year you choose to visit. Definitely something worth thinking about when you’ve got the January blues and there is cheap flights.

Will you be booking a trip to Tenerife anytime soon? 

Why You Should Book a Holiday to Tenerife NOW! | UK Lifestyle Blog

*I was lucky enough to receive a three night all-inclusive adventure holiday to Tenerife c/o Thomas Cook Airlines in return for #ExploreTenerife social posts and content creation. All views are 100% my own! 

2018-06-04T00:48:03+00:00 October 26, 2016|Travel|

6 Steps To Planning A Great Hike

Some people are really good at planning when they go hiking, and others just jump into the car and go. While I do love to be spontaneous, I have learned over time that proper planning will result in a much more enjoyable hike. Whether you go hiking for a day, or on a multi-day trek, proper planning is one of the most important aspects of your adventure!

6 Steps To Planning A Great Hike | UK Lifestyle Blog

Plan your route

Choosing the area you hike in is always the first step, because it will determine what you bring with you, how long you go for, etc… When you are picking your hiking trails, be sure to choose ones that match your skill level, as well as the skill level of those who will be hiking with you. You don’t want to ruin somebody else’s love of the activity by taking them on a trail beyond the difficulty that they can handle.

Research, research, research

Hiking is all about adventure and exploration, so tackling new trails in unfamiliar areas is highly encouraged in our sport. Because you will be exploring new areas however, it is crucial to do a proper amount of research before you go. Start by going to the website of the national/regional park or the preserve you will be hiking in. These sites usually give detailed information about the hiking area, the length and difficulty of the trails, and extremely important information about potential risks such as bear warnings, eroded trails, or avalanche watches.

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I also check to see if I can find reviews online about the trail I want to take-  if other hikers have been there before and weren’t impressed by the hike, I choose something else. You can also find great information from other hikers on the conditions of the trail, what you will need to bring with you, and all of the great sights you will see. One time I was saved by one of these reviews when it advised to go really early to avoid large crowds. I was lucky I read this. I had a much more enjoyable hike because of it, and as I saw the large crowds piling onto the trail as I was leaving, I had a huge grin on my face.

Dress to impress

Once you know a little bit about the area, you can easily prepare the gear you will need for your hike. Planning what gear you bring is essential – you don’t want to bring too much and be weighted down unnecessarily, but you definitely don’t want to be caught without something you need. There are definitely some standard items you should always bring such as a first aid kit, a survival kit, and a map of the area.

Pick the right gear

Other items will be based on the hike itself such as extra layers of clothing, the amount of water you will need per person, and whether or not you will bring snacks (be sure to bring packaged food for proper animal safety). Check the weather forecast and base your gear on it, but don’t rely on it completely- be prepared for unexpected weather, especially in mountain environments.

😱➡️  Mount Snowdon in March: Hiking gear checklist

Don’t forget!

An important safety step before you go is to let somebody you trust know when you will be going hiking, where you will be going, and when you expect to be back. This is especially important if you are hiking alone (not recommended, but some people do prefer it). The day I go, or the day before, I also like to check in with the information center of the park I’m hiking in if it has one. The staff at these centers can give you up to date trail information right before you go hiking. A phone call to trail administrators would also suffice.

Happy trails

When you arrive at your hiking site, take your time getting your gear together and making sure you have everything. Apply your sunscreen and insect repellent, and even stretch a bit if you want. When I get to a hike, I am really excited to get moving, but I force myself to take my time leaving so that I don’t leave anything behind. Knowing you are prepared for any situation is a great feeling, and you can enjoy your hike to its fullest.

😱➡️  How Food Can Improve Your Hike

I hope this steps will help your with planning your hikes, and please let us know in the comments section below if YOU take any other steps in preparations to go hiking!

2018-01-08T03:33:45+00:00 September 22, 2016|Travel|
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