Night Hiking




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Making A Start
Night Eyes
Night Ears
Night Nose!
Night Hiking
Night Stalking
Night Signalling
Night Hike Vision
Lights & Rockets
Training Games
Nature By Night
Telling Time by Stars
Night Photography
From Writer to Reader

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By K. Graham Thomson

Hiking in daytime can be good fun, but hiking at night can be really thrilling.

A fine clear night in autumn or spring is the right sort of night for a hike, for you older chaps; Night Hiking is too tiring for youngsters, of course. If you live in a town, take the last train or bus into the country on a fine night, and you will have the most enjoyable adventure you could wish to have.

The whole secret of making a success of Night Hiking lies in our Scout Motto: Be Prepared. Here are some of the things to Be Prepared for :

1. Be Prepared for rain. A light hat of some kind is well worth the trouble of carrying in your rucksack ; and you need a rucksack for night hiking ; I am going to tell you all the things you will need to put in it. The hat comes in useful for sitting down on for a rest ; grass and ground are damp at night.

2. Be Prepared to feel cold when you halt for a rest or some eats. Carry a sweater or pullover in your rucksack, and a pair of woolen gloves. Put them on when you halt, and pack them in the rucksack again when you move on. You will thus feel the benefit of them during the halts, which you won't if you wear them all the time.

3. Be Prepared to feel hungry. The fact that you don't feel hungry when you are asleep in bed, is no proof that you will not feel hungry when you are awake and out of doors. In fact, you will feel hungrier than ever, because of the exercise and the keen night air. Moreover, eating at intervals breaks the monotony, and makes something interesting to do-most fellows find it interesting, anyway !

4. Be Prepared to feel thirsty, too. Though you won't really feel very thirsty, you will feel the need of a hot drink now and then. Vacuum flasks are cheap enough nowadays-in fact, you can get quite good ones if you save enough coupons ! Take a flask or two full of hot tea, coffee, or something of the sort-and remember that most flasks hold about four very small cups full, and therefore two flasks are better than one, if two or three of you are hiking together.

5. Be Prepared to go somewhere, and not merely wander about within a mile or two of home. Plan the route carefully before the night, so that you get to some interesting place by dawn, preferably a hill top. Plan also to arrive back at a railway or bus station in time for the right train or bus to take you back home, especially if you will be due at school or office at the usual hour in the morning. (But it is best to start on a Saturday evening, so that you have most of Sunday for resting.)

6. Be Prepared for breakfast. If you do not want to take food and spirit stove and cooking utensils with you, and make your own breakfast, you can usually arrange to get it at some farmhouse or hostel, towards which you should direct your route and this must be dealt with when you are studying the map beforehand.

But you will be wise to write in advance to the farmer or hostel warden, or go to see him and tell him how many of you to expect, what you will want, and when you will want it. Then be punctual.


7. Be Prepared to get dirty. If you do not actually get dirty, you will feel as if you are dirty when dawn comes. Anyway, a good wash will brighten you up no end before breakfast, and in your rucksack should be soap, towel, and toothbrush, with any necessary extras for the toilet which you feel are worth carrying. If you are going to break your fast at a farm or a hostel, ask in advance for hot water for washing (and shaving, too, if you have reached that stage !), or you may find that none is available.

8. Be Prepared to meet with difficulties in finding your way. The countryside looks very different at night from its daytime appearance-which is one of the many pleasures of night hiking. However familiar you may think you are with the country through which you are going to hike, by day, you will find it very different and puzzling in the darkness and silence of midnight. So take map and compass, and do not forget a flashlight with which to read them, and the signposts by the wayside. It is very tiring shinning up signposts with a box of matches between your teeth, and trying to keep a match alight in a wind while you decipher faded lettering on its arm.

So much for the things to Be Prepared for; and if you remember them all you will have a happy and comfortable time on your Night Hike. Be careful about crossing moors or open fields by night ; it is easy to stumble into a bog, get lost, or fall into a quarry. Carry a whistle if you are going into such country; then, if you are accidentally disabled, blow it. You soon lose your voice shouting for help, and the sound of a whistle carries much farther than a shout.

Have an Aim

It is not necessary to do much cross-country hiking at night. The roads, congested with motor traffic all day, are almost deserted by motorists after midnight, and so are both more pleasant for walking along, and less dangerous. Side-roads and country lanes with sometimes a footpath, sometimes a short stretch of main road as connecting links, can provide perfectly good routes for Night Hiking.

Some sort of occupation or objective may be selected for a Night Hike, if you like. This may be the conquering of a hill or mountain, a visit to a ruined castle or abbey, the taking of photographs of some such place, the making of a nature log of night birds and beasts seen or heard, practice in tracking, estimations, signaling, or starmanship, or even a swim in some safe river or lake.

At certain times of the year, according to the tides and the moon, there is the phenomenon called a Bore or Aegir on certain rivers, such as the Trent and the Severn, and often this reaches a favorable observation point in the small hours of the morning. To reach that point at the right time to witness this remarkable natural stunt makes quite a good objective for a Night Hike, if you live within reasonable distance of a river on which it occurs. You will need to find out at what time and on what dates it may be seen, by inquiring of the river authorities.

Night Scouting






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Making A Start ] Night Eyes ] Night Ears ] Night Nose! ] [ Night Hiking ] Night Stalking ] Night Signalling ] Night Hike Vision ] Lights & Rockets ] Training Games ] Nature By Night ] Star-Gazing ] Telling Time by Stars ] Night Photography ] Forward ] Acknowledgments ] From Writer to Reader ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.