What to Bring
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Weather in the West Highlands can be very changeable. It is important that you come mentally and physically prepared for a variety of conditions, including strong winds, heavy rain, snow, sleet, and temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 20°C. This list is designed to help you.
We recommend layers of clothes for walking. You will need spare walking clothes (apart from waterproofs) as items that get wet during the day cannot always be dried overnight.
Walking boots. It is absolutely essential that the boots you intend to walk in are your own as borrowed ones always cause trouble. If you plan to use new boots, you must ensure that they are well broken-in before the walk. There have also been instances where older, re-soled, or less sturdy boots have come apart on the walk so if you have an extra pair, you may wish to bring them along 'just in case'!
Waterproofs. It is essential to have both a hooded jacket and trousers that are waterproof rather than ‘showerproof' or water-resistant. Rain ponchos and cheaper plastic rainjackets will be of little use in strong winds and heavy rain, snow, or sleet, particularly on exposed ridges and hilltops.
Gaiters. These provide warmth and protect your boots and trousers in rain, snow, boggy ground, mud, and while crossing streams.
Jumpers. It can get very cold and wet on the hills, so warm fleece or wool jumpers are necessary. You will want to have more than one for layering up when we stop and to ensure they have a chance to dry in the evenings.
Trousers. These should made from lightweight or fast-drying material. You may also find leggings or long underwear useful for layering underneath thinner trousers to provide added warmth. Definitely no jeans - they are heavy and uncomfortable when wet and take a long time to dry.
Shorts. Some years have been very sunny!
Mid-layer/Base-layer. Shirts, T-shirts, and long-sleeved tops, particularly those with 'wicking' or quick drying features.
Socks. Wearing two pairs, a thiner inner pair under a thicker outer pair, can prevent blisters. You will want to bring lots of socks!
Extra Essentials. Hat (both a warm hat and a sun hat), scarf or 'buff', gloves or mittens, sunglasses. Waterproof gloves are particularly useful.
Rucksack/dufflebag to carry all your belongings. A 65 litre rucksack or equivalent bag should be sufficient but please avoid hard shell suitcases wherever possible. You may wish to use two smaller bags rather than one larger one - this also helps those packing the minibus.
Daysack. Small rucksack to carry waterproofs, lunch, drinks etc, 20-25 litre should be sufficient. If your daysack isn't waterproof, a waterproof daysack cover will ensure that your sandwiches aren't swimming by lunchtime.
Walking poles. These provide stability going up and down hills, and on uneven or boggy ground.
Water bottle. At least 1 litre in size.
Flask for a hot drink.
Personal first aid kit. Plasters, blister treatment, painkillers, suncream, etc.
Wet wipes or antibacterial handgel.
Gel handwarmers and footwarmers.
Snacks. Chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, sweets, biscuits... to keep your energy levels up and to share with fellow pilgrims along the route. Home baking (cake, biscuits, flapjack, traybakes...) is also very welcome, as is a wee dram!
Plastic bags or stuff sacks to keep things dry in your daysack or to transport wet items in your main pack.
Sit Mat in case there just isn't a dry spot to sit on!
Wax or protective spray to waterproof your boots (not necessary if your boots have Gore-Tex lining).
Sleeping bag. Heating is variable so you need a warm sleeping bag (mummy-style bags tend to be warmer than rectangular ones). A sleeping bag liner for added warmth and a hot water bottle are also useful.
Sleeping mat, either foam or inflatable.
Warm pyjamas.Inflatable pillow or pillow case to stuff with clothes as a pillow.
Torch or headlamp.
Casual warm clothes for the evenings, including an outdoor jacket and comfortable shoes/slippers or trainers.
Ear plugs. Light sleepers will find these helpful in shared accommodation.
Pack of cards or travel games. If you have a favourite poem, story, song, or group game to share, these are all very welcome as well!
Material for a station. We have regular short 'stations' during the day's walk in which someone shares something with the group. This could be a poem, prayer, story, scripture, song, random thoughts... it doesn't have to be religious in nature. The stations provide opportunities for contemplation and discussion as we walk.