Preparing for your winter walk

There’s no greater feeling than returning to your Lake District lodge with chilly hands and toes, rosy cheeks, hungry tummies and a chest full of wonderful fresh air. Once inside your snug and warm lodge, the kettle goes on for delicious hot chocolates and the log burner is fired up, time for a hot bath or shower. A film on the TV, food on the go,  and everyone piles under a cosy blanket on the sofa. Bliss.

What you don’t want is to set out on your lovely winter walk to have to turn around after 20-minutes because you are not prepared. So here are our tips on preparing for a winter walk in the Lake District.  First of all make sure you have a route-plan and a map for the area you’re heading to.  A compass would be great if one of your party can read it, GPS is good but be aware that signal can be patchy so not to be relied upon.

Loos, brews and views

Whatever you want from your walk, we know not being too far away from a loo is important as is having a cafe or pub at the end of the walk. Ideally, we’d like a cafe at the beginning, a stop-off mid-way and perhaps a pub at the end. That said, winter air can be very dehydrating so it is a good idea to drink a litre of water or juice an hour before you head out. Not only will this fuel you during your walk but will also give you the chance to go to the loo before you go.

We’re not just saying this because we are loving warm pots of tea, soups, stews and porridges at the moment, but having something nice and warm to eat or drink an hour before you go will also keep tummies fuelled and the body warm for longer.

Also, we hear that you burn more calories (hurray) when walking in the cold, so make sure you pack plenty of honey-covered granola bars, perhaps a bagel sarnie and some jelly babies! If you take your thermos flask to ChoccoBar in Bowness-on-Windermere they will fill it up with sweet, hot chocolate for you to take on your walk. Yummy!

“Ogres are like onions”

You really can experience all season in one day when walking in the lakes, so the need to wear appropriate walking gear applies to everyone – Shrek-like ogres included. This means solid, waterproof footwear, which must have good grips to prevent slipping. And, of course, a lovely big anorak. We always like coats with big pockets so you don’t have to keep taking your rucksack off your back. A light-weight belt pack or bum bag is handy too for carrying essentials, like some Kendal Mint Cake and some pouches of water, or a refillable bottle. 

Plus, when walking in winter, it can be hard to get a happy medium with your temperature and this is especially true for kids. When you climb a hill or start a game of chase it is easy to overheat if you are wearing too much. The answer to this is layers, lots of light-weight and easy to pack away layers. 

You lose most of your body heat through your head, so on a winter walk, a cosy hat is a must (bobble is optional!). If you’re taking on a serious winter walk, neck warmers are a must. Not only do they keep heat in, but they also absorb cold sweat stopping you from getting cold. 

Keep your fingers warm whilst still being able to take those precious snaps with ‘Etip’ gloves that mean you can still use your phone without taking your gloves off. All-in-one snowsuit and splash trousers are great for little walkers. Not only do they look ever-so-cute, but they trap the body heat inside creating a lovely snug walking outfit as well as protecting the outfit underneath. If there’s snow around they can also hurl themselves in the white stuff but stay warm and dry. 

Maps and tracks

Plan your walk in advance and choose one that is way-marked. The Lake District has 3,200km of footpaths that are clearly signposted and where the paths are well-maintained. Not only will this reduce tension of “we’re not lost again are we” debates but will also minimise time stopping and standing still, looking at maps. When you plan your walk, consider the ability of the least fit of your group. On winter walks it is important to maintain an even pace to stop overheating or getting too cold. So, put the slower walkers at the front with the pacier trekkers keeping up the rear.

Plan ahead with activities for little walkers, to keep little legs moving on a winter walk. Spotting animal tracks is great on a winter walk, such as deer and foxes. Perhaps you can find dino tracks along the quiet eastern shore of Lake Windermere? A scavenger hunt can be planned in advance, with a list of natural objects to be found on the walk, such as a fir cone or a conker. These items make for a nice crafts project when you get back to your lodge too. Turning a walk into an obstacle course is a great way to get cold legs moving. “Let’s see who can scramble over the fallen tree trunk.” Always take drinks & snacks along too, and go for the ‘task and reward’ approach to encourage everyone to keep going!

After some lovely fresh air in peaceful surroundings, we now fancy curling up with one of those Shrek movies, with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and some toffee-flavoured popcorn in a beautiful, tranquil Lake District lodge. Are you joining us?   

Book your Christmas, Twixmas or New Year lodge break with us online, or call our booking office on 015694 46748 or email info@lakedistrictlodgeholidays.co.uk.