Happy Wanderers Paphos 



An excerpt from the walking magazine "Trail Experts” which may help you understand more efficient methods of rehydration.

Are all those energy drinks any good?

I always go for straight tap water in my hydration system, but would you recommend I take an energy drink (I could usually do with- a boost at lunchtime) as well? If so, what?


Your body is made up of 50-70 per cent water. In terms of what's essential to sustain human life, water is ranked second only to oxygen. So it's hardly surprising that you need to drink plenty of liquid to keep your body functioning efficiently.

So what's wrong with drinking plain water?

The answer is: absolutely nothing! The main ingredient in any energy drink is water. However, other ingredients are added to the water either to enable your body to absorb it faster, or to drip-feed your body with energy, or a combination of both.

Rapid absorption. To enable your body to absorb the fluid faster, and so rapidly rehydrate, energy drinks concern themselves with the tricky business of 'tonicity'. This term describes the concentration of particles dissolved in a fluid. Both energy drinks and your blood contain particles held in solution. If the tonicity of the drink matches the tonicity of your blood, it will be absorbed quickly. If the drink's tonicity is lower (that is, it has a lower concentration of particles) than your blood, it will be absorbed even more rapidly. If its tonicity is higher than your blood, it will be absorbed far more slowly.

Carbohydrates. Some of the particles in the energy drink are carbohydrates, in the form of glucose, glucose polymers (also known as maltodextrins), sucrose or fructose. These provide your body with readily available energy.

Salt. Common old salt is added to the drink to help with fluid absorption and replace minerals lost through sweating. It also helps stimulate you to drink, and so increase your general fluid intake. It will be listed in the ingredients panel as sodium, and may also be referred to as electrolytes.

PUB FACT. During prolonged exercise, in hot conditions, you will lose 1-2 litres of water every hour. For each litre lost (and not replaced without drinking) your core temperature will rise by 0.3 degrees C and your heart rate will increase by eight beats per minute.


Not all energy drinks are the same…

It's Called





Replace fluids lost by sweating and provide your body with energy.

Rapidly rehydrates your body.

Provide your body with energy.


Water; carbohydrates (for energy); salt (to aid absorption).

Water, a lower level of carbohydrates: salt.

Water; a higher level of Carbohydrates; salt.


It has the same concentration of particles as your blood. (About 5-7g per 100ml) This means both the fluid and carbohydrates are absorbed quickly (but not much faster than plain water)

It has a lower concentration of particles than your body fluid (about 2-3mg per 100ml. This means your body can absorb it more rapidly than water, so it’ll rapidly rehydrate you.

It is more concentrated than body fluids so is absorbed more slowly than water. It’s digestion requires water to be taken from the body fluids, so it can actually dehydrate you.


During exercise.

Immediately after exercise.

An hour before or after exercise.



Sip an energy drink and it'll give you a snippet of extra energy and allow your body to rehydrate that little bit faster. But, as you're not pushing your body to extremes on an average hill day, those benefits don't warrant the expense of an energy drink: you'll be fine simply drinking plenty of water and eating carbohydrate - rich food.

However, on a long, sustained hill day where your body will be working hard throughout, the benefits of energy drinks are worth the outlay. They'll keep your body working at maximum output and could be the difference between making that last summit or not.


Tired of paying the best part of a quid for an energy drink?

Pah! Half fill your water bottle with unsweetened orange juice, top up with water, throw in a pinch of salt, and shake well. This makes an isotonic drink: the addition of fruit juice provides energy in the form of carbohydrates, and increases the water's tonicity to match that of your body fluids. And, while it's not as scientifically balanced as a shop -bought brand, it'll do just as good a job for hill-walkers.


Don't be bamboozled by the nutritional jargon: you can safely ignore the majority of the mumbo-jumbo, but there are two vital stats that you must check. These will tell you whether the drink's primary function is to rehydrate or refuel your body.

· What's the level of carbohydrates per 100mI.? Any higher than 8g .per 100ml, and the drink will actually slow the rate of water absorption down. However, that high level of carbohydrates will provide your body with plenty of energy. Any lower than 3g, and you'll get minimum energy, but maximum rehydration.

· Is salt included? For hill-walking, where you'll be working your body over a prolonged period, you should choose a drink with added salt. This will help replace that which you'll lose through sweating. A level of around 50mg per 100ml is ideal.


What to Do in Case of Snake Bite - By Dr. David Sparrow

If cornered, surprised or trodden on, several of the snakes in Cyprus will bite – exceptions to this are the worm snake and the Cyprus grass snake (biting is not used as a method of defence).

The large whip snake, the coin snake and the Cyprus whip snake will normally flee if encountered, but will bite repeatedly if caught and handled. These snakes are non venomous so they do not present any threat to humans. However, in the event of a bite which breaks the skin, normal precautions should be taken to prevent infection, as for any open wound, e.g. wash the bitten area.

The cat snake and Montpellier snake are both venomous, but considered harmless to humans. Both being opisthoglyphous (rear fanged), they cannot easily envenomate any large animal such as a  human. In our experience cat snakes are unlikely to bite – if they feel threatened they will coil up in a flat disc shape, raise the head and make feigned strikes without making contact. The much larger Montpellier snake is capable of delivering a bite, but envenomation is unlikely. In the event of a bite by a Montpellier snake, medical attention is advised.

When the above snakes bite, they will normally retain their grip for several seconds or even much longer. This is in marked contrast to the blunt-nosed viper, which strikes with incredible speed, effectively stabbing its target, and then immediately retracts.  It has been frequently reported (e.g., Nature of Cyprus by C. Georgiades1992) that the blunt-nosed will hang on and pump large amounts of venom into the victim: this is incorrect.

The blunt-nosed viper is highly venomous and its bite is potentially lethal if untreated. It has been estimated that around 16–20 people are bitten by blunt-nosed vipers in Cyprus annually. I am not aware of any fatalities since the mid-1990’s, when a woman in Protaras died as a result of such a bite. Most bites occur when the snake is accidentally trodden on (which may well produce a spasmodic impulse reaction) or disturbed e.g. by people gardening or harvesting. Blunt-nosed viper venom consists mainly of hemotoxins (which break down blood and body tissue) and cytotoxins (which cause necrosis [cell death]). If bitten, medical attention should be obtained as soon as possible, but since these venoms are very slow acting there is adequate time to get the victim to a hospital or medical centre. The Paphos General Hospital is experienced in handling viper bite victims.

Until medical attention is on hand, some first aid can be applied. This is aimed at slowing down the spread of venom by reducing blood circulation and preventing secondary infection. The victim should try to stay as calm as possible and be reassured. The bite area can be washed with soap and water or surgical spirit, using a clean cloth. No attempt should be made to cut the wound and suck out the venom – this could cause secondary infection. The bite area can be covered with a clean cool compress or moist dressing to minimise swelling and discomfort. The bite area should be immobilised and kept at or below heart level. A bandage can be wrapped five to ten cm above the bite to slow down the spread of venom (although this is not strictly necessary). However, this should not cut off the flow of blood, i.e. this is NOT a tourniquet. Checks should be made above and below the bandage – if there is no pulse, the bandage is too tight; if the pulse is normal, the bandage is too loose. The victim should not be given alcohol or caffeine drinks. The victim should then be kept as still as possible. 

Once medical attention is obtained the victim will be monitored closely and given antibiotics and symptomatic treatment. Vipers can control the amount of venom injected during a bite and in a defensive strike (e.g. when stepped on) the quantity is often low (or may be zero in what is known as a "dry bite"). In most cases the victim will not be given antivenin, but this will need to be administered  in the case of a serious envenomation. After a viper bite serious swelling will almost certainly occur but a full recovery can be expected within six weeks.  

The best advice I can give is to take measures to avoid the risk of being bitten. Vipers are active during the day in the spring and autumn and in the evening and night in the summer (more or less when we walk!). They frequently bask on the open tracks but normally rest at the edges of the tracks where they can be difficult to see - particularly if you are engaged in a conversation and not looking down. Vipers are not at all naturally aggressive towards humans, so walk well away from the edge of the track - you might not see the viper and it will ignore you! Care is needed when walking through long grass and particularly through piles of dead leaves and especially in autumn when walking close to isolated pools of water (vipers wait here for birds and rodents to come along and take a drink). 

Emergency Aide Memoir - What to Do in Case of a Snake Bite 

·Seek immediate medical attention by calling the European Emergency Number (112) and act on their advice. 

·Meanwhile, reassure the victim and ensure all walkers are in a safe area.

·Wash the bite area with water using a clean cloth or use antiseptic wipes, keeping the limb/bitten area as still as possible and at or below heart level. This is to reduce the spread of the venom.

·Wrap a bandage 5 to 10 cm. above the bite area. Ensure that this is not too tight and does not cut off the blood supply.

·Cover the bite with a clean cool compress or moist clean cloth to minimise swelling and discomfort.