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Ladies Hill Walking Alone

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 Emma07 22 Jan 2020

Hello, I am new to this forum and fairly new to hill walking.

I was wondering how many of you ladies go hill walking on your own. I currently wait until one of my friends is available which is as often as I would like. There are no walking groups by me that go at weekends all go through the week when I am working. I would be happy to go on my own but worried how safe I would be. Just wondering if there are other women who go hill walking alone?

Thanks

 Billhook 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

I see. Plenty out on the hills.  

I can only say that hills are safe.  I've never heard of anyone being attacked or molested in hills.

1
 Welsh Kate 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

Hi Emma

Welcome - and congratulations on starting hill walking!

I regularly go walking by myself, including very big days out on Scottish Munros, winter hillwalking requiring crampons and ice axe, and backpacking. When I got back into hillwalking (after a 20 year gap when I was a student and developing my career), I went out a couple of times with organised groups, decided I didn't want to go out with 10 -20 other people with a group leader, and got myself on a couple of navigation courses (NNAS bronze and silver). That gave me the confidence to go out knowing that if I did get 'temporarily misplaced' I'd be able to relocate more easily. Within a few months I was planning my own routes and enjoying the peace and quiet of the hills solo. That doesn't mean I don't go out with friends as well; I just have nothing stopping me from going out when I like.

I've never had any problems and the only time I got remotely nervous was a wildcamp in the Beacons; I was woken by SOMETHING moving around outside my tent a while before dawn. Things always sound bigger and scarier when you're on your own in a tent in the middle of nowhere. So I did the sensible thing, pulled my sleeping bag over my head and went back to sleep. At dawn I unzipped the tent to find I was surrounded by wild horses!

Go for it and enjoy it!

1
 Deleted bagger 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

Check this website. Carol is a determined woman who often walk on her own.

https://mountaincowardadventures.wordpress.com/

 fmck 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

Without a doubt your safer hillwalking than traveling by public city transport or walking alone in the city for that matter. I have climbed, hill walked for 36 years and can't remember any attack in the hills Maybe there has been but it must be so rare an event. Goatfell murder maybe but that was about 100 years ago and two guys.

 ScraggyGoat 22 Jan 2020

My partner isn't a UKCer, she has been wandering the hills solo since c. 1997 Summer and winter, and encountered no issues of a human, or natural kind (other than the usual weather) She's clocked up a lot of miles; 2 rounds of munros, a round of corbetts and nearly all her tops. At least 40% of those outings were solo.  The only thing she avoids is drunken parties in bothies.....

If you want to go out on your own, don't make a big deal of it, go and do it.....enjoy yourself.

 girlymonkey 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

I go out on my own regularly. I spent 2 months plodding around in whiteouts on my own preparing for my winter mountain leader assessment (nobody wanted to play whiteout micro-nav games with me!).

I have never felt unsafe, but I have occasionally felt patronised! 

If you are sure of your nav and able to look after yourself, then just go for it. Leave a late back plan with someone (they don't need to be near you at all, you can send your details to someone you trust by text and then text when you are off the hill. I have been friends late back contact when they were at the other end of the country), and choose a route that is appropriate to your experience and knowledge.

Have fun! 😊

 colinakmc 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

You don’t mention what part of the country you live in but it might be worth while looking at some of the Facebook groups around, if you don’t want to join a club it seems to be a good way to arrange trips.

An earlier poster might have been unlucky with what club she tried, my club (and several others I know about) don’t go off in organised crocodiles. We book mountain huts, gather there for food, craic & shelter, then do our own thing in twos, threes or ones. Advice is there for the asking but not forced upon anyone.

I’m one of the other 50% but I’d echo that the hills are pretty safe...just maybe not the bothies! Good luck with whatever course of action you choose.

 girlymonkey 22 Jan 2020
In reply to colinakmc:

> I’m one of the other 50% but I’d echo that the hills are pretty safe...just maybe not the bothies! Good luck with whatever course of action you choose.

I have never even felt unsafe in a bothy on my own. Maybe I'm too relaxed, but I just get on with it and expect others to leave me to get on with it! 

 Jenny C 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

My only concern is if I fall or have an accident were I need rescue. This doesn't stop me going out, but I am more aware of the need to tell people where I am than I would of walking with someone else. Although I am often out of phone signal I always make sure my phone is charged, plus I carry a fairly heavy rucksack with spare clothing so I can sit and wait for rescue if the worst happens. 

I guess sticking to paths or popular areas would be sensible too, but actually if I'm on my own I especially like to be somewhere remote were I am unlikely to meet others. I also have a bad habit of going out with no clear plans and making the route up as I go along based on time, weather and how I feel once I'm out. 

I guess it helps that my navigation is pretty good and getting lost in my local area doesn't worry me. Main factor that dictates route planning is avoiding farm buildings where there may be dogs (I am terrified of them).

I have never once worried about personal safety with regards being a lone female on the hill. All my concerns would apply equally to a lone male walker. 

 iccle_bully 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

I've done a lot of Scottish munro bagging and hill walking alone. The precautions I take are I think the same as anyone, regardless of gender, should/would take.

I plan a route and make sure at least 2 people have a copy of it along with estimated times.

I try to check in with one of those people on the mobile phone at least once during the day.

I carry spare/extra clothes, a shelter, an extra mars bar and a basic first aid kit.

My decisions on the hill are more cautious than if I was in a group.

I'm registered with the 999SMS service. Info here  http://www.everythingoutdoors.co.uk/sms-to-the-emergency-services/?doing_wp_cron=1579764187.6412780284881591796875

I caveat that with the fact that I am an experinced walker with good nav skills, so get yourself skilled up with a map and compass, not just a GPS. 

It's great fun and very satisfying. Be safe have fun. 

 colinakmc 23 Jan 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

I’m maybe unlucky to have met the odd dope team or nutter in bothies!

 Roadrunner6 23 Jan 2020
In reply to fmck:

> Without a doubt your safer hillwalking than traveling by public city transport or walking alone in the city for that matter. I have climbed, hill walked for 36 years and can't remember any attack in the hills Maybe there has been but it must be so rare an event. Goatfell murder maybe but that was about 100 years ago and two guys.

This, we've had the odd murder on the AT but so rare I don't get worried.

People say how can I run at night in the hills on my own, but it is far safer than running in a city at night, on my own or not. 

 marsbar 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Roadrunner6:

I think Bill Bryson covers this with something like if you draw a random line through America you'd get as many murders or more.  

 marsbar 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

It's fine.  Use the same sensible precautions as usual leave a route and expected time of return somewhere suitable and take a first aid kit and do a course. 

 kathrync 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

I do a lot of hillwalking on my own too, for many years now. Lots of munros including multi-day trips, remote areas, winter conditions and simple scrambling.

Regarding the possibility of being attacked or molested, I feel more unsafe in Glasgow city centre on a Friday night on my own than I do in the hills. I have been patronised, but nothing worse. Most people just say hi and let you get on with it. On the odd occasion, I have had people ask to tag along with me because they seem to think I know what I am doing...met some interesting (in a good way) people that way.

I tend to make it up as I go along, so I don't to leave detailed route cards - but I do always make sure someone knows the rough area I am in, any specific objectives (e.g., summits) and when I am expecting to be back. I also tend to travel slightly heavier than I would do in a group - I'll carry enough kit for an uncomfortable bivvy if I need it. My decisions are probably slightly more conservative too.

The other main thing is to be confident with navigation, including how to fix things if you do mess up. Probably the most panicked I have ever been was discovering my compass had reversed polarity in a whiteout - I hadn't thought about that particular scenario in advance, but having a range of techniques to draw on gave me something productive to do about it and kept me from panicking.

If you aren't confident, start out with something simple (maybe pick something you have done before) in good weather and take it from there.

Good luck and have fun!

Post edited at 16:49
 Emma07 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

Thank you all for replying...I am more than ready to get moving...I guess I will start with well walked paths have been looking on highland walking which has popular walks and build from there.  Thanks again for the advice and the confidence. 

 syv_k 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

> I have never once worried about personal safety with regards being a lone female on the hill. All my concerns would apply equally to a lone male walker. 

Indeed. Women should statistically be safer because overall they are less inclined to take silly risks.

For example, walking the Camino Frances in Spain, over the last hundred years with hundreds of thousands of walkers, so enough to get statistics: one death of a woman due to a sex criminal, a few dozen deaths of solo men or male-led, male-majority groups due to going over the mountains in bad weather rather than sticking to the road. Still a very safe activity.

 pcassels 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

I regularly go out with just my 5 year old, I always carry a thermal blanket, head torch, extra snacks ect. I also always tell someone our plan for the day and a rough time to expect us back, it normally includes any alternative descents we might make due to weather/weariness and I will always send a text if we extend change our plans on route. 

 Jenny C 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

Pick a route you've walked before and know is within your capabilities. I would go for a popular area where you are likely to see other people. 

Tell someone we're you plan to park, your approximate route and that you will call when you get home. Don't forget to call when you get home to tell them what an amazing day you've had (and more importantly that you are home safe ). Also agree a time that they should worry about you being overdue and what actions they should take. 

Enjoy and don't overthink the situation. 

 Jasonic 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

Unsure where you are located but worth giving a mountaineering club a try; 

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/find-a-club

https://www.mountaineering.scot/find-a-club

 nufkin 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Roadrunner6:

>  we've had the odd murder on the AT but so rare I don't get worried.

>  People say how can I run at night in the hills on my own

Bears? Pumas? Both more of a concern than people, I'd worry.

(Though I'm not sure if there are pumas in the Appalachians, and presumably black bears rather than brown? But still, at night, one can conjure up anything in the shadows...)

 Pedro50 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> This, we've had the odd murder on the AT but so rare I don't get worried.

> People say how can I run at night in the hills on my own, but it is far safer than running in a city at night, on my own or not. 

Don't forget the female thru-hiker on the AT who left the trail for a call  of nature and became disoriented. Her body was found years later and they pieced the story together when they charged up her phone.

1
 Roadrunner6 26 Jan 2020
In reply to nufkin:

Yeah black bears generally are not a problem. Almost all attacks, especially close to the AT, are people trying to get close to them. I have been very close to them and generally never an issue. I've done a few hikes at night when I can wind myself up about noises but generally if you see one, back off, and thats enough.

Puma's aren't really on the East coast, you'll hear of occasional sightings, one was killed in CT on a road but had traveled from North Dakota according to its tracking data. Coyote's are, and they are huge over here, but human/coyote interactions are extremely rare. We hear them a lot, they are scary looking but only rabid ones tend to bother humans. A father in NH just killed one that had attacked his kid and wife, all are now being treated for possible Rabies as the Coyote was rabid.

 Roadrunner6 26 Jan 2020
In reply to Pedro50:

That was awful. I think she wrote notes too. 

 jonny taylor 26 Jan 2020
In reply to Emma07:

Sounds like you might be based in scotland? My wife recommends "Scottish Womens Walking Group" on facebook, which I gather is a loose community of women of all abilities encouraging each other out onto the hills, and with individuals informally organising meet-ups/walks together.

I'm sure that would be another good place to ask peoples thoughts on walking alone, as well as potentially finding people to go with.

Post edited at 20:20
 crfishwick 26 Jan 2020
In reply to colinakmc:

I think you might.


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