Starting out walking for women
We all have very different ideas about where we wish to go walking. For some it might be a coastal walk or a lowland hike, for others it might be to climb to the highest point in Wales, or to traverse the Andes. The great thing is that the outdoors is so diverse; there will always be something to suit you. Read how to get there and get involved.
Here are some of the most common methods to get into walking:
Join a club
Both the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MC of S) have extensive lists of affiliated clubs throughout the UK. The list here is never-ending - there are climbing clubs, rambling clubs, walking clubs, local clubs, national clubs, female clubs, youth clubs, blue clubs...
Think of your new hobby as an apprenticeship, you need to become comfortable in one environment before you enter the next stage
Go with friends or colleagues. This is usually a very informal way to be introduced into the hills and, hopefully, a very sociable and friendly experience, with the comfort of being surrounded by knowledgeable individuals.
Book a course
There are countless courses advertised throughout the UK by various organisers. Before you book on any course, make sure that the course description matches your needs and if in any doubt don't be afraid to pick up the phone and ask questions. Both Plas Y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge run regular courses for all abilities and operate some women's only courses.
Employ a professional
If you'd prefer a course tailor-made for your ability and needs, why not try personal tuition? The Association of Mountaineering Instructors holds a current list of all the qualified Mountaineering Instructors (both men and women) who operate around the British Isles. Find an instructor here
Learn new skills on a course © Sarah Stirling
There are some very good books, magazines, and newsletters around today which can give you a wealth of knowledge. They're probably not as good as actually getting out and participating but they are good for further training, offering different approaches and providing some background research. Searching on Amazon
is a good place to start.
If you have done little walking (or other exercise) before, it is going to take a bit of time to adjust. Don't plan to walk the West Highland Way, completely self-sufficient, on your first outing. Think of your new hobby as an apprenticeship, you need to become happy and comfortable in one environment before you enter the next stage. Remember, your walking should be fun and enjoyable - so get out there and do enjoy it!