Summer hill thrills are unbeatable – so skill up to boost your confidence and enjoy long days walking in the sun and warm nights sleeping under the stars.

Summertime in the mountains is unbeatable for those seeking lazy rambles along refreshing waters, stopping to smell the wildflowers, or those keen to venture further with the benefit of long daylight hours. But it’s not without its hazards and the pressure to ‘make the most’ of summer while it’s here is palpable. When compared with winter in the mountains, which offers zero wiggle room for error, the heat can lull hillwalkers into a false sense of security. And yet, summer continues to be the busiest season for many Mountain Rescue teams across Britain.

Main image: On the ascent of the Old Man of Coniston | Credit: Joe Gaskell

So, The Great Outdoors is delighted to once again be working with Glenmore Lodge, sportscotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre, to bring you 10 pages of advice on skilling up for summer so you get get out and stay out safely. From tackling river crossings, cloud watching, and bivvying 101, read on and amass expert knowledge to ensure this is your most adventurous – and confident – summer in the hills yet.

Highlights of this issue:

  • Glenmore Lodge delivers 10 pages of summer skills advice to make this your best yet
  • Norman Hadley reflects on outdoor inheritance – from Lakeland to the Highlands
  • Francesca Donovan recounts an ordeal with heat stroke in the mountains of Eryri
  • Charlie Jarvis follows the carmosci through the wilder side of the Dolomites
  • Morag Skelton talks us through delivering ground-breaking BSL navigation courses
  • Enjoy a walking weekend in Ambleside with guidance from Vivienne Crow
  • Our experts map 10 car-free walks featuring the highest station in mainland Britain

PLUS: Jim Perrin paints a portrait of Beinn Tarsuinn; honest and trusted reviews of the best one-person tents and backpacking meals; Mary-Ann Ochota advocates for a summer of walking and talking for men’s mental health; our reviews of new outdoor books to inspire; and paddle sports coach Adya Misra shares her love of mountain lakes and lochs as well as why she founded People of Colour Paddle.

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Summer hill thrills - from lakeland with love

From Lakeland with love: Fell runner and backpacker Norman Hadley shares a beautiful reflection on what it means to inherit and pass on a love of the outdoors

“Shortly after Dad died, I got a text from my daughter. She and her boyfriend were contemplating a backpacking trip, and did I have any advice on tents, stoves, routes? They got themselves kitted up, with some lighter touch guidance than I might have given in the past. I think and hope I’ve become less doctrinaire in middle age, now understanding that there are as many ways of defining the best tent as there are people, landscapes, and weather patterns. I passed down a stove and some pans that I no longer needed. I could remember buying those pans when I was a sixth-former with floppy hair and dodgy skin…”

Summer hill thrills - heat stroke in Eryri

Cold day in the sun: Mistakes made in the heat of the moment can lead to a chilling ordeal in the sun. Francesca Donovan and Stew Hume learn just how dangerous ‘good weather’ can be on exposed mountaintops, as the temperature gets turned up in the Devil’s Kitchen

“Unlike most adventure stories, this one begins in a bed. My soon-to-be husband lay silently and stoically under dripping wet, cold towels alongside packs of ice, shivering violently. To him, his body felt aflame. Surrounded by paramedics, Stew’s temperature was taken: 39.4 degrees. Even I, with only a basic understanding of human biology, knew that was too hot. Just 24 hours earlier we’d been in heaven. Pitching our tent on the slopes of Pen yr Ole Wen, we’d sipped cans of sugary supermarket cocktails as an end-of-summer haar pulsed through the Ogwen valley, convening on the summit of Tryfan like whipped ice cream. Adam and Eve peeked in and out of view and the moisture in the air bubbled up through Twll Du – otherwise known as the Devil’s Kitchen. When mists rise from Llyn Idwal through the craggy chimney, as they did on this September evening, it is said the Devil is cooking…”

Kingdom of the camosci: Not far from the Dolomites tourist trails, the Marmarole welcome fewer visitors than they deserve. Charlie Jarvis joins an historic section of the Alta Via 5 – Strada Sanmarchi – in the hoofprints of four-legged guides

“It’s the sound of falling rocks we notice first. Somewhere in the vast glacial bowl where we walk, there’s a sudden knock and a clatter. We stop and look around, across the scree and rubble, scanning for the source of the echo. Of course, we can’t pick it out until it moves once more: the confident, patient form of a camoscio. Once it notices us, the camoscio – a chamois in English – shrieks. A strained, high-pitched bark, a sound at odds with the animal’s soft, unostentatious form. It shrieks and skips lightly down static streams of broken rock, before turning to watch us move far less certainly among the clutter at our feet. It shrieks once more, as if to mock our unsteadiness, then picks its easy route and skips out of sight among the shards of the mountain…”

Summer hill thrills skills - glenmore lodge

Skills for summer hill thrills: Summertime in the mountains is unbeatable but not without hazards. We team up with Glenmore Lodge to bring you some of the skills you need to get out and stay out safely this season

“When it comes to safety in our high places, winter gets a lot of attention. Of course, the risks and the specialist skills required to traverse our tops in sub-zero are not to be sniffed at – but what of summer hillwalking and its own, specific and often overlooked set of skills? Long, hazy days strolling along to the song of meadow pipits, lulled by the gentle sway of hare’s-tail cottongrass are enough to instil a sometimes-false sense of security. In fact, June, July and August are often the busiest months in the annual calendar of Mountain Rescue Teams across Scotland, England and Wales. So, we teamed up with Glenmore Lodge – Scotland’s premier outdoor training specialist – to equip you with the information you need to get out and stay out safely this summer. From tackling river crossings, cloud watching, and bivvying 101, read on and amass expert knowledge to ensure this is your most adventurous – and most confident – summer in the hills yet…”

Backpacking meals: Alex Roddie fuels his adventures with 10 of the best rehydrated meals

“When I first started hiking and backpacking, I paid little regard to nutrition and just packed whatever was cheap, calorific, and relatively lightweight. But I’ve come to realise that there’s more to it than this. Happily, there are also now far more lightweight food options available for the backpacker and hiker – and the emphasis has shifted to nutrition and high-quality ingredients. However, weight, calorie content, and price all still matter…”

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