Outdoor Etiquette: Hiking Chit-Chat
17 May 2013
I know we all go on The Fells to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, nevertheless, when youre walking, I think its essential that you talk to your fellow hikers. Im not saying swap emails and get out your wedding photos, Im saying you should always acknowledge someone if youre walking right passed them.
Even Wainwright, who as we all know could be a bit of a misery guts, offered a Hello when he passed you. If he can do it we all can.
| Heres some guidelines for hiking chit-chat.|
When you meet a single hiker, a simple nod, or a smile or a ow-doo, my single hiking friend is sufficient. Dont overdo it. If the single hiker is a man in a flat cap wearing hiking gear made from wool, I always give him an Alreeet, marra followed by its fair hoyin it doon, eh? because I know hes a local and the chances are itll be raining. Be careful with this because the phrase has to be said in a Cumbrian accent or it sounds like youre taking the wee out of him.
When you pass a hiking couple, I tend to opt for a more upbeat Hiya followed by an appropriate weather related comment enjoying the delightful stratocumulus something like that.
| If youre going uphill its always good to add your favourite my legs are killing me expression or some sort of phew noise, it helps with bonding.|
Large groups are difficult, I prefer to say a loudish hello to the first person in the group and then smile and nod like a fool as I work my way down. If theres a significant break in the group I have to repeat the process for the slow coaches behind.
For kids, I like Cragmans suggestion on LivefortheOutdoors, if youre on the way down always say: Theres an ice cream van at the top.
When you meet at a viewpoint, choose one of these superlatives: amazing, marvellous, stupendous, and gaze into the void with an enraptured expression. Dont be tempted to outstretch your arms in a Im the king of the world type of way, this only works on photos and looks pretty silly when youre with others.
If someone is listening to an ipod whilst walking, try this:
| The important thing is to be friendly. No one wants to hear a detailed narrative on how this walk compares to your summit of the Eiger in 1957 but everyone likes a cheery hello and a smile. So if youre one of those people who stare blankly ahead as you squeeze passed your fellow hiker on a narrow track, come on, stick to the guidelines outlined here.|
One more thing, if you meet someone wearing high heels or unlaced oversized baseball boots and jeans, forget everything Ive said and completely blank them.
Thanks for reading.