Feeling hot, hot, hot
Near record temperatures for Wales and Northern Ireland, tinder dry terrain in Greater Manchester and Norfolk due to a jet-tream out of its normal position means two things:
1. keep yourself hydrated when out on the hill
2. feel sorry for those whom booked an early summer break to the Mediterranean where they have our clouds and rain!
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!
Given the weather experienced in Wales, where I have spent the past week, the importance of hydration came to the fore. Remaining adequately hydrated when on a long day in the sun is important not just for pure physical performance but for mental performance also.
Your concentration and decision making are impaired as fluid levels drop below optimal, something to consider if you're off path taking a bearing, rock or scrambling a rocky ridge route.
Fluidy top tips
1. Don't get worried and go mad with your water.
Drinking too much is actually more dangerous than drinking too little; overly diluting your sodium levels causes organs to swell and can kill you! Very few people die of dehydration as it's effects are far more easily countermanded than its opposite condition. It's easy to get fluids in, much more difficult to get them out again.
2. Know where the water sources are on your planned route.
Where are the watery bits on your route? Can you revise the plan to take in some likely spots where you can re-fill if needed, or even better have a paddle or a swim to cool off. Water considered for re-filling needs to be flowing and above the level of any nearby farms. If you have concerns then pack some purification tablets. They are cheap and weigh nothing.
3. Drink before you leave!
At breakfast or an hour before you start out, sip your way slowly through half a litre of juice, squash, milk, or water as you choose.
Once on your route ‘drink to thirst’ i.e. always have fluid available and drink when you feel thirsty throughout the day.
On hot days in baking sunshine the best thing to drink is water with electrolytes and carbohydrates (posh names for salts and sugar), like those found in Powerade or Lucozade Sport or squash with an electrolyte tablet dissolved in it.
The watery bit keeps you hydrated, the electrolytic bits replace those body salts lost through sweating, and the carbs replace the fuel burnt getting you up and down.
4. Check the colour of your pee!
Anything darker than a straw coloured yellow means you need to be taking on more fluids. Note that, for me, sipping steadily through the day whilst on the move seems to reduce the total number of wee stops. As opposed to stopping and gulping half a litre and then needing the loo five minutes later.
Have a great weekend in the sunshine!