Walking in the Falklands.

A few tips about being out & about down here.

The Falkland Islands reputation of being an icy pile of rocks is not entirely justified. The climate is temperate but it's still very much a small island in a vast, powerful ocean so the weather is very changable but nothing that clothing and equipment suitable for hillwalking in the British Isles would not deal with. Conditions in the Falklands are on average drier, windier and cooler than in Britain.

Something that it does pay to be wary of here is the strength of the sunshine: The unpolluted air, clear skies and (of course) the lower concentration of ozone in the upper atmosphere along with a nice, cooling breeze make sunburn and sunstroke a real hazard here in the Austral summer, wear a hat and sunblock or you'll fry.

Leave word of where you're headed and when you'll be expected back, standard advice for hillwalkers anywhere but here it has a lot more pertinance as many of the safeguards that exist in more populated countries don't exist here, vary few identifiable paths, very few roads of any sort, very little mobile phone coverage (just a bit on East Falkland, none on the West) and probably not another soul for many miles, the most up to date and comprehensive maps are basic 1:50,000 OS maps printed in the 60's that apart from crude topography show little of use for navigation.

The countyside code in the Falklands is as follows:
  1. Keep to paths wherever possible. Leave gates open and shut, as you find them.
  2. Do not drop litter, take your rubbish home with you.
  3. Do not disfigure rocks or buildings.
  4. Never feed wild animals.
  5. Always give animals the right of way. Remember not to block the routes of seabirds and marine mammals coming ashore to their colonies.
  6. Try to prevent any undue disturbance to wild animals. Stay outside bird and marine mammal colonies, and remain at least 6 metres (20 feet) away at all times. When taking photos or filming, stay low to the ground and move slowly and quietly. Do not startle or chase wildlife from resting or breeding areas.
  7. Some plants are protected and should not be picked, leave wildflowers in the ground for all to enjoy.
  8. Whalebones, skulls, eggs and other such items cannot be exported from the Falkland Islands*. They should be left where they are found.
Good advice but a glaring omission is about access to private land (ie most land outside Stanley Common), there is no such right in the Falklands so permssion from the landowner must be obtained.