Q and A Section

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Number Six

Q: What type of clothing and equipment do I need on the Coast to Coast?

A: Be prepared for every kind of weather from cold and very wet to hot and dry -- you won't get bored! We can't over-emphasise the importance of a good pair of boots, which have been thoroughly worn in.

Your boots must be comfortable both when climbing and going down steep hills. There are boggy, marshy areas in the Pennines, where Gore-Tex or equivalent boots are recommended, as well as gaiters. Boots that are too soft mean your feet will be bruised on the stony tracks of the Lake District. However, a stiff mountaineering boot will cause heel rub and blisters. Especially if you have joint problems, one or two walking poles can take some of the load off your hips and knees when you're going downhill.

A wind and waterproof jacket is also essential, with a mid-layer of Polartec 200 type fleece. A polyester-type base layer is best next to the skin, because cotton holds moisture and takes a long time to dry if it gets wet. In case of a downpour, it's good to carry overtrousers with long zips, which you can put on in a hurry over wet boots (lined overtrousers tend to stick). Don't forget a hat for the higher, colder areas -- or for keeping off the sun (along with sunscreen).

If much of your kit is being transported for you each day, you can use most backpacks. However, if you are carrying everything, especially camping equipment, ensure that your backpack fits you and is comfortable. It's useful to have a waterproof cover for your pack, to keep everything dry. Store spare clothing in plastic bags.

Keep a litre of water in your water bottle, but if it's hot increase this to two litres. If you have to fill up along the route, treat the water with iodine or chlorine -- just in case. Don't forget a first-aid kit. Even the most optimistic walker should be prepared for possible bruises, blisters or cuts.

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