A bit more on Specs on the hills plus a few comments.

The nightmare of specs on the hills in bad weather.

Yesterday I wrote about my experience of over 55 years of wearing glasses on the hills. I also developed Cataracts and due to a problem in my area with getting the operation I had to go private. The change was incredible and I only need glasses now and again now mainly for the computer and reading. This was life changing to me and has made a huge difference to my life. Otherwise I would not be driving or going on the hill in poor weather especially these short daylight hours.

Over the years I have spoken to many who struggle with their eyesight and I wonder how many accidents have been caused in the past due to poor eyesight causing navigation errors and trios and falls. My blog definitely brought some amount of comments and these are the ones from Facebook. Thanks all for taking time to speak about this subject. There are a few tips here.

Specs on the hill Comments.

Chris Morrision MIC – My dad has recently made the move to contacts for the hill; he has one for distance and one for reading. Works well for him.

2020 Misty specs and Goggles COVID Photo Mark Proyr.

Mark Proyr – In  these Covid times we now have the delights of the glasses/helmet/goggles and face masks combination to contend with when slogging uphill with a stretcher !!! 🥵 such  fun.

–  It can be a pain in the arse. Never wore them when I was younger but my eyesight has deteriorated to the point where I am now a fully-fledged specky. Like you say in the article, you just have to put up with it in rain / snow. Just make sure you get snow goggles that fit over them, I suppose. Good tip about carrying a spare pair – I may find some old ones and put them in my bag. Cheers, Heavy!

Mark Hartree – I am the same. Never had a problem with eye sight as a youth. Could look at a map for 10secs and walk or run for an hour with map in my head. Now it takes me 2 mins staring at the map before I remember I need glasses and find them in my bag. Then they steam up (when running) or you can’t see though the rain on them.

Darren Summerson – Heavy, I joined that club last year. The world of orienteering has a few different brands and styles (half lenses and cut away upper half) Vapro, Frenson… some even claim to be fog free. I’ve read of some folk just for a short duration of an hour so racing who wear just one lense, the brain allegedly learns to know which eye to use for map reading versus viewing distance terrain. Biggest snag I’ve discovered is if you wear them whilst running reading a map, it changes the depth perception at your feet and you end up tripping on stuff. I do, it’s different world, rain hitting the outside of the glasses, steaming up on the inside!! I’m grateful or lucky I lasted this long, although when I got them last year it was like a bit of revelation, suddenly I could see the detail again. So suspect I’ve needed them for a little while.

Mick Harvey –  wear a single contact lens and you’re right Darren Summerson you do adjust quite quickly, only snag I’ve found is after about 6-8 hours of daily wear they need replacing as they split. Whether that is due to drying in the wind or the fact I do have dry eyes (apparently) causing it. Cant get on with wearing my glasses on the hill. Eggy always seem to wear his with no snags.

Andy Woolfstone –  The first thing I did after my first weekend on MRT was get some contact lenses! Glasses in Scottish weather wasn’t ideal.

Rob Johnstone – I used to wear contact lenses – I was on a night search when I was on civi MR & rubbed one of them out of my eye on top of a hill, got everyone to gather around to form a wind break & unbelievably I found it on the ground! A bit of spit & I stuck it back in.

Conrad Allen – I wear Ortho K lenses. Look it up and it may be useful fir some of you. 

Andy Bates – Anybody know whether you can get prescription lenses in a safety glasses/Oakley style frame? With all the hassle of COVID PPE and being generally blind for close up/reading stuff that would really help. Ta

Kev Hewkin –  I don’t know about Oakley styles but you can get prescription lenses fitted into safety glasses. I had to have them when I worked offshore, the company provided them but you were limited to less fashionable styles. Oakley and similar styles do allow you to fit prescription lenses, I was going to get some for cycling, but not sure if they meet safety glasses criteria.  I was fortunate not to wear glasses when I was active on the hills but now I have to wear them all the time. Nowadays when out dog walking I find that wearing a baseball cap really helps with shielding the lenses from rain.

Mick Hill – I use a pair of photo chromatic glasses with bi focal lenses for cycling Bash. They are wrap around and made by BBB and you can have bi focal lenses up to 2.5 I think. Great for reading the Garmin and at the cafe for the menu 👍

Michael Gibson – I was fortunate to be able to use contact lenses whilst longsight was a problem. Now I’m both short & long sighted it’s more of a problem!

Andy Bates, I was at on the A1 a while back & went past this show room https://www.rxsport.co.uk/ they may be able to help.


Oakley, Ray-Ban, Bolle, Rudy Project and Smith Sports Sunglasses - RxSport - RxSport


Oakley, Ray-Ban, Bolle, Rudy Project and Smith Sports Sunglasses -…

Nick Sharpe Mountain Guide – Hi all, glasses, what a nightmare😩. First wore them when I was 11 and had em ever since. I was never able to tolerate contact lenses for more than about 30 mins. Pain in the ass when having to use a map and compass. I found I got very good at managing terrain identification through angle and aspects, being aware of what’s under your feet. As far as eye ware goes, I use Adidas and Julbo sunglasses. They both provide a clip in style prescription lens frame that goes behind the sun element. Expensive initially but you are able to just change prescriptions lenses without additional expense of getting the sun protection combined. You can also just cx the different UV lenses for whatever light level you are dealing with. At a pinch I’ve also just popped out the sun lenses and used them as normal glasses, you look a bit like Cosmo Smallpeice (Les Dawson) or Heavy😂 but it sometimes helps. Hope everybody is staying well👍👍

Thanks for the tips, insults etc just remember if you need specs ensure you carry them on the hill and if you need them al the time carry a spare pair. This is essential at this time of year with the shortage of day light and poor weather conditions.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Equipment, Friends, Gear, Health, mountain safety, People, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A bit more on Specs on the hills plus a few comments.

  1. Jim Higgins says:

    I watched you with Cameron McNeish on Sunday. Might I say your hair has become a tad grey since I last met you.
    On the subject of specs I have worn glasses for the best part of 25 years and found them particularly annoying when navigating in bad weather. It is only recently however that I have been able to empathise a bit more with those with visual impairment as wearing my covid mask makes my glasses steam up 95% of the time. I jokingly say to myself “whats more dangerous covid 19 or walking about bumping into folk and tripping over weans”.
    I am always the one with the map and compass in the party because I get a huge buzz from navigation but I must admit in winter or in any wet weather it is a huge pain in the but and I tend to delegate the navigation to those who can see.
    Keep climbing mountains and keep writing great stories
    Jim higgins


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.