Travel Tips

Many sites that are off the beaten track are hard to get to and hard to get close to. Many times it is not simply a matter of just wandering out to a place and having a look around. Here are a few tips about looking at some of these sites.

Be prepared to walk. Some places are not easily accessible by car and in country areas roads can be pretty bad. Some sites may be up dirt tracks which, unless you have a four-wheel drive, means walking. This can be half the fun - when you have to work to view a site you appreciate it more. Good walking boots are always advised.

Be prepared to get wet and muddy. In this country the weather is always a problem and sometimes you will get caught out in bad weather and get wet. I recommend wearing clothes that you would not care about if they get dirty and wet. Also many of these sites are in cattle or horse fields which means traversing the electric fences. Electric fences can be held down by wood or stone as you climb over but if these are not to hand it means getting on all fours and going under.

Beware of cattle. Many sites are in cattle fields and they are not always pleased to see you. Bulls can get aggressive and I have been chased out of fields by them before.

If possible, ask the owner. Most sites are on agricultural land. If a site is by a farm house or if you see a farmer nearby, always try to ask permission. I have never been turned away but it is common courtesy and you may gain some extra information or learn of a particular danger at the site.

Use your common sense and be safe. Remember, these sites don't have people there looking over you and many will have never been made safe or had restoration work done on them. There will be piles of rock and old staircases in places so be careful and use your common sense. Don't take un-necessary risks and remember that if it looks unsafe then it probably is. You view these sites at your own risk.

Bring some useful things with you. Some of the following may be useful to you when out and about. Torch - In some castles and various other places there is likely to be little lighting so a torch may come in handy when entering dark passages. Ordinance Survey (OS) maps and a compass - You will never get lost with these. Binoculars - Always useful when high up. You never know what you might spot. Insect repellent - Always useful in the summer months...flies can be a pain! First aid kit - Scraps and stings are common when off-road. Keeping a small kit of plasters and anti-bacterial wipes can be useful. Obviously you will not need most of this on every trip out but being prepared can make trips much much easier and enjoyable.