Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path
Be Adventure Smart: Plan for a great day
Whether you envisage taking to the Wales Coast Path for an afternoon stroll or a hard days walking being prepared is key to keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path.
Ask yourself three questions before you set off:
Do I have the right gear?
Do I know what the weather will be like?
Am I confident that I have the knowledge and skills for the day?
With the help of AdventureSmart.uk we’ve put together the essential information you need to answer these questions.
Think about Gear
It’s not all about the most expensive or stylish kit you just need to be warm and dry. Don’t leave home without your waterproof jacket and trousers, stick them in your bag, just in case. Insulating layers such as fleeces are lightweight and when combined with a breathable base layer enables you to respond to changeable weather.
Comfortable footwear is a must; make sure it fits well, blisters make for a miserable outing! Breathable walking socks will help keep blisters at bay. Walking boots/shoes are recommended for the more rugged sections of path.
Other essentials for your bag include;
• Map/guidebook: check out our guide to the Best Maps for Walking the Wales Coast Path and our guide to the Best Wales Coast Path Walking Guidebooks
• Mobile phone in a dry bag (a ziplock freezer bag works as a cheap option)
• Blister relief
• Food and drink (keep your energy levels up)
• Any necessary medication
Check out the Walk the Wales Coast Path Equipment checklist for the full list.
Watch the Weather and Tide Times
The weather is a national obsession and for good reason; if you are planning a walk along the Wales Coast Path then you need to face the fact that Wales is quite wet!
Check the latest weather forecast before you set off and be aware of how it will affect your plans. It pays to be flexible, there’s no shame in changing your plans and just in case you thought we were only concerned with making sure you don’t get cold and wet . . . don’t forget your sun screen and sun hat!
It’s not just the weather that can catch you out; don’t get caught out by the tides. Tide times and heights vary throughout the month, a beach that was clear yesterday at 5 pm might be completely covered in water at the same time today. Tide times can also differ dramatically for sections of coast that are geographically quite close.
As the tide comes in, simply walking further up the beach and away to safety might not be an option. If you’ve walked round to another cove at low tide, or walked around an outcrop of rocks, the water can soon block your way back as the tide turns. If the cove you’re in doesn’t have steps or access of its own, you could be in trouble. So make sure you check the tide times.
You may not be planning on taking a dip so don’t be caught out when seas are rough. Wave watch from a respectful distance . . . 15cm of water can knock you off your feet!
Develop your skills
Know where you are going. Nowadays paper maps may seem unnecessary but they are light to carry and their batteries don’t run out of charge! Take a look at our guide to the Best Maps for Walking the Wales Coast Path.
Plan for the least able member of your group. Know your limits and those of your companions, if you or they are finding the going tough then be flexible, choose a more suitable route or turn back.
First aid saves lives and knowing what to do in an emergency can make all the difference. First aid is a simple skill, but it has an incredible impact. Everyone should get the opportunity to learn it.
Don’t let your dog lead you astray
Many callouts to the emergency services are dog related. If your dog is chased by cattle remember to release it off the lead, you’ll both have a better chance of getting to safety. If your dog is in difficulty, water or otherwise, call for help, don’t put yourself at risk.
If your dog is in difficulty in the sea don’t enter the water after it. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Know how and when to get help
However adventure smart you are accidents happen. If you or your companions find yourselves in difficulty knowing how and when to get help can make a dramatic difference to the outcome.
If you find someone in trouble, call for help, don’t put yourself at risk In an emergency call 999 – ask for the Coastguard
You will need to give them the following details;
• your location (grid reference if possible)
• name, gender and age of casualty
• nature of injuries or emergency
• number of people in the party
• your mobile phone number (make sure your mobile is charged before setting off)
If you have hearing or speech difficulties, you can contact the 999 emergency services by text. You will only be able to use this service if you are registered with emergencySMS first. Register now — don’t wait for an emergency! Text ‘register’ to 999 then follow the instructions sent.