Taking a hike in the dark can be both a challenging and rewarding experience and is highly recommended. A night stroll will give you a new perspective on familiar paths and a new appreciation of the sounds, smells and ‘feel’ of the land around you.

Night navigation has long been an important element of Mountain Training courses. Navigating in good visibility is normally straightforward as you can see far ahead and take the easiest route without really thinking about it. After dark your depth perception changes, and you have to rely more on your map and navigation skills to find your way. Practising navigation skills at night will make having to use them in very bad visibility, mist, or snow much easier.

Being out at night is also good fun. Especially if you can visit an area where there is very little light pollution from houses, cars, or streetlights. It is very rarely completely dark out of town and as your night vision improves you can generally see well enough to find your way. There is also the bonus of seeing the stars properly and if you are very lucky, an asteroid shower or a display of the Aurora Borealis – The Northern Lights!

A long-standing tradition in my Mountaineering Club is the ‘Moonlighter’ which is a night ascent of a hill to watch the sunrise from the summit. Good fun with a small group of friends.

Mountaineer, Blogger and Author Alan Rowan has actually made a bit of a career out of climbing hills at night. His interesting blog can be found on his website.