Although the Causeway Coast Way may not be as long or as difficult as some of the walking trails in Northern Ireland, it is still a test of physical endurance. Each stage involves several hours spent in the outdoors, some of these in remote locations.
Always plan out your route for the day. If you are booked in at a B&B, let them know what your intended plan is for your walk and your expected arrival time. Keep in touch by phone if there are any delays to your plan and cancel your booking if you don't intend to turn up. Your B&B owner can raise the alarm if you haven't shown up that evening, which may well save your life!
Even if your plan is to return home after your walk, it is still a good idea to let someone know your route. Always remember to report back afterwards to say you have arrived safely.
Before setting out on your walk, check the weather forecast for the day ahead. If the forecast looks bad, assess the potential dangers in relation to the particular section of trail ahead. If you feel the conditions will be too dangerous then postpone the walk.
Whilst out on the trail, you should remain alert to any change in the weather conditions. Always be prepared for the worst the weather has to offer. Even in the middle of Summer, it is still possible to get hypothermia if inadequate clothing is worn in a prolonged spell of heavy rain. To find out more about the correct type of clothing to wear, read the Hiking Gear page.
It is best practice to walk as part of a group so that if an accident should happen, help will be immediate. The minimum group size recommended is three. This would allow one person to remain with the casualty whilst the other would go to get help.
To know what to do if you encounter severe difficulties whilst out walking, read the page on Mountain Rescue.
A handheld GPS is not always the answer to clever navigation. Batteries can run out and tree cover can block the satellite signal. Whilst it is fine to use a GPS when walking, it is always wise to have the back-up of a trusted map and compass.
If you intend to come off the Causeway Coast Way and hike in some of Antrim's more remote upland areas, it is essential that somebody in your group knows how to read a map and navigate with a compass.
If you would like to find out how to play a more active role in navigation, search for a Mountain Skills Course in Google to find a suitable one that is located close to you.
In the event of slow progress (or getting lost), it is a good idea to have a bit more food and water in your rucksack than is actually needed for the intended duration of the walk. Emergency food that is not immediately perishable is a good back-up to have. This can be something as simple as a chocolate bar.
Additional emergency items that should be kept in the rucksack are a basic first aid kit, a survival bag, a torch and a whistle.