General items to bring – the standard advice
The following should be in everyone’s rucksack: a water bottle/pouch (holding at least one litre); a torch (flashlight) with spare bulb and batteries in case you end up walking after dark; emergency food which your body can quickly convert into energy; a penknife; a watch with an alarm; and a bag for packing out any rubbish you accumulate. A whistle is also worth taking. It can fit in a pocket and although you are very unlikely to need it you may be grateful of it in the unlikely event of an emergency.
Most people can’t do without a smartphone these days, and it’s probably the one item that you will, almost by default, be bringing with you on the trail. Remember, however, that it’s the remotest places in Britain that tend to have the worst reception. But remote places are also the ones that are most attractive to walkers.
In other words, you’re less likely to get reception on the trail than you would at home.
Remember, too, that batteries carry a limited charge, and if you’re camping out along the path you may not have access to electricity for a day or two. So do make sure you bring a power/battery pack to recharge your phone.
Finally, some of the apps on modern phones can be very helpful to walkers. I’m thinking in particular of the health and fitness apps, the weather forecast apps and the GPS. Not to mention the ability to take some great photos and videos too. Oh, and the ability to access the internet too!
However, do also remember that if he battery runs out or you lose or damage your phone, those apps will no longer be accessible. So make sure you have a back-up plan and don’t rely solely on the tracking and GPS apps to find your way.
Many would list a camera/camera phone as essential but it can be liberating to travel without one once in a while; a notebook can be a more accurate way of recording your impressions (but remember to take some pens). Other items include a book to pass the time on train journeys; a pair of sunglasses; binoculars for observing wildlife; walking poles to take the strain off your knees and a vacuum flask for carrying hot drinks. Although the path is easy to follow a ‘Silva’ type compass could be a good idea.
There are not usually many banks along a trail so you will have to carry a lot of your money in cash. A debit card is the easiest way to withdraw money either from banks or cash machines and a debit or credit card can be used to pay in most larger shops, restaurants and hotels.
There are still a few B&Bs around Britain that insist that you pay by cash or cheque. And if you live in the last century and thus are still in possession of a cheque book you may want to bring it along, just in case. Remember to bring your debit card, too, to act as a guarantee.