Fed up of it getting dark by seven and being stuck indoors in the evening? Well there’s a way around it. Get a good head torch and get out in the dark. Here’s our five tips to do so safely.
1.Pick a walk you know well (in the daylight!) Keep it within your capabilities. Make sure your navigation skills are up to scratch, or tag along with someone who can. Put your route in a GPS as well as this may be the lazy man’s navigation, but used in conjunction with proper map reading skills can speed up your navigation and remove doubt. I always navigate in this way whenever stopping for a long time is dangerous (when it’s very cold at night or during the winter).
2.Do a half and half – Up in the light, descending in the dark.
3.See where you’re going. Make sure you’ve got a really good head torch (Petzt are good, but we find a Magicshine turns night into day) and a decent spare in the group. Spare batteries and bulb. I try and keep going as long as I can before putting my torch on and let my night vision develop – but I always have to put my head torch on eventually. Avoid being the one who points their head torch in the rest of the group’s eyes, you won’t be popular and might find some stones in your rucksack after you stop for a cuppa.
4.Keep Warm. Might be stating the obvious, but you’ll need some warmer clothing than usual at that time of year. Check the Metcheck Mountain forecast as the Met Office unfortunately don’t give a night forecast (same goes for wild camping). In autumn, a warm day might well be followed by a frost, add a stiff breeze to that and you’ll soon feel the cold especially if you’re going up high. So a flask and a down jacket are worth taking, especially if you’re going to sit on the summit or a viewpoint for any period of time.
5.Full Moon. Try and get out on clear evenings around the full moon. You’ll be surprised at how much you can see. This one also holds true for running.