Aberdeen and Shire Hillwalking Club

To assist our club members in walking the hills in a safe and comfortable manner we have published some advice below.


In winter the effect of a cold wind can make it feel much colder, in particularly if clothing is wet, it can induce hypothermia. A good way to dress is based on the use of a wind and waterproof outer 'shell', usually a waterproof jacket and over-trousers. 'Breathable' materials such as Goretex are preferred for comfort. The shell is combined with layers of warm clothing underneath, such as a fleece jacket and walking trousers.

Sitting still (lunch)
Put on extra clothing during stops such as lunch breaks before you start your lunch, or you will rapidly cool down.

A good pair of walking boots is essential to give support to the ankles and protect the feet on rough and wet ground. Some people wear two pairs of socks, a thin pair and than over that a pair of walking socks, this could prevent blisters. Many of us wear Gaiters, which prevents snow or heather or water getting into your socks/boots. It makes it easier to cross streams. An ice axe and crampons may be essential for some Scottish winter routes. It is not only essential you bring these items during a winter walk, but more important is that you know how to use them.

Walking poles
Some of us use walking poles, it helps taking the weight of your knees when descending a hill, but it also helps getting up it.

It is essential that you bring a compass and an OS map of the area that you are walking in. Courses in navigation are offered by both Mountaineering Scotland and occasionally by the club and you can always ask an experienced member of the club for assistance.

GPS, Global Positioning System
If you are walking in bad weather (white out conditions or fog) it might be an idea to make sure one in your party has a GPS and knows how to use it.

The following equipment is suggested. However, it is your responsibility to be properly equipped for the hill.



First Aid Box
Boots (not trainers),
First Aid Box
Head torch
Boots (not trainers), Socks
Water/wind proof jacket Water/wind proof jacket
Waterproof over-trousers Waterproof over-trousers
Warm clothing (thermal/fleece) Warm clothing (thermal/fleece)
Trousers or similar (not jeans) Trousers or similar (not jeans)
Rucksack and spare clothes (eg socks, gloves, hat) Rucksack and spare clothes (eg socks, multiple pair of gloves, hat)
Survival bag, Whistle Survival bag, Whistle, one survival shelter for 3 to be carried by your party

Food and drink (Thermos flask) in warm weather, bring plenty of water, for  long trips consider waterpurifying tablets

Food and drink (Thermos flask)
Map (1: 50 000 advised) and compass Map (1: 50 000 advised) and compass
Gaiters Gaiters
Sun cream & Midge repellant, midge net Torch (head torch preferred), spare batteries
walking poles (optional) Ice axe and crampons

If anybody has more suggestions to add to this list then please use the form on the Contact Us page of this website.


We use a Route Sheet which records:-                                                                                                       ·       Names                                                                                                                                ·        Mobile numbers                                                                                                                            ·         Vehicles                                                                                                                                              ·         Route details, including start times and start/finish points                                                                  ·         Time when we should consider calling emergency services

Those attending are expected to record their plans on the Route Sheet for the days when you will be returning to the accommodation. This would be the Saturday for a typical weekend but would apply to other non-travel days if we were staying longer. The Route Sheet will be managed by the coordinator and left in the accommodation.

Sometimes plans change or things go wrong, which means that you will arrive back later than the time estimate you gave.  If this happens, every effort should be made to inform a club member.  You may need to climb up a hill to get a signal in order to do this.  If you are several hours late and nobody has heard anything, the other club members will be obliged to call Mountain Rescue.

If you are planning a walk on a travel day, typically the Friday or the Sunday, it is strongly recommended you leave equivalent route info with a contact who will follow up in the event of a non-return. The best contact for this for the travel to the hut is probably the Co-ordinator (unless they are part of the walk) or another attendee. If you use the Co-ordinator as contact when travelling home you must phone them to let them know you have returned safely. An alternative contact when travelling home might be a partner or someone else you expect to see that evening. You will need to ensure they understand what action to take if you do not return or get in contact by the appropriate time. 

The Weekend Coordinator is not responsible for leading walks or for the safety of the Members and Guests attending the meet.


If the signal is weak, it still may be enough for a text message and these can only be accepted if the phone used has been pre-registered. It’s simple to do: just text the word ‘register’ to 999. You will get a reply and should then follow the instructions you are sent. This will take about two minutes of your time and could save your life.

We recommend you download the OS Locate app to your phone for free. This gives the coordinates of your location, which you can then relay to Mountain Rescue if needed. Note – it does not need a phone signal to work, it uses your phone’s in-built GPS.

Phone batteries perform poorly in cold weather. A battery pack does not weigh much and could be a life saver in an emergency. 

If there is no signal at all, then a personal locator beacon could save your life. They are not cheap (about £200) but you should consider buying one if you do a lot of walking on your own.


Skills and safety in the mountains

The above link is a great resource for safety and training in the mountains.


Our club is keen to help improve the navigation skills and other hill skills of its members. We provide some training courses during the year and we are happy to consider subsidising training courses which our members choose to carry out. Just ask a Committee member. 


Hillwalking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury and death. Those participating in these activities should be aware of the risks and accept the responsibility for their own actions and involvement. No responsibility can be accepted by Aberdeen and Shire Hillwalking club committee, members, guests or coordinators of walks for any mishap which may occur during a meet. Aberdeen and Shire Hillwalking club does not provide leadership or instruction. Anyone volunteering to assist the club on a meet cannot be held responsible for other members' welfare. Members and guests must be aware they are solely responsible for themselves at all times.

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