Winter Moors Walking Tips
Posted on January 01 2018
Winter can reveal the North York Moors at its most beautiful. From bleak foggy ice filled days to the stunning blue skies of a winter high pressure. The best of all is with a blanket of snow. It can really bring out the full majesty of the moors to life, giving a real sense of space and wilderness.
As a year-round avid walker of the moors, I have noted that they get little walking in the winter months and even less with snow. This is understandable, as the more complex conditions demand more complex skill sets and clothing/equipment.
A full and comprehensive list of skills & kit, with the pro’s and cons, would take a book, so forgive me for not touching on all you will need. Good navigation is a given, but with some of the free apps from Ordinance Survey, you can really help your confidence and test your skills. An awareness of the coming and present weather is also important and there are again host of free or inexpensive weather apps to help plan your day.
There’s a great old saying, “there’s no such thing as poor weather, just inappropriate clothing”! This is very much the case in winter. Boots are probably the most important to get right. Sturdy and leather is our advice. The Aku Super Alps been a top choice, (though not so great for the warmer months on the moors), and the Scapa Ranger proving solid in all conditions. However, nothing grips like metal and all boots will slip on ice. On icy days, ice grippers are recommended, as are a good set of Leki poles. All will allow safer and more comfortable travel.
For clothing, breathability is a very high consideration, making Paramo a top choice. Insulation is important, but that can only be tailored to your requirements. Base layers are again very important, with a range of weights available. Avoid cotton, (it retains moisture and quickly get very cold). Good socks go a long way, with the Bridgedale summit been an excellent choice. Clothing is a big subject, but one to spend time on getting it right for you.
Its always wise to carry an extra insulation layer in your bag, in case of problems. However, there are many other items that we would recommend. A bothy is a useful thing to have, especially of there are two or more of you, (a survival bag at the very least). Extra calories are also recommended, high energy bars been useful, again for any unexpected delays. A flask is also a welcome addition. The Hydro Flask range are a great compact choice and the one I use, (hot chocolate is a great choice of beverage).
A final thought is always let someone know your route and leave an expect return time with someone who will miss you. Even if walking in a group. Attached is a quick video for some tips for winter moorland travel.
Enjoy and stay safe!