Unleashing the Adventurer Within: A Beginner's Guide to Long Distance Hiking in the UK
Unleashing the Adventurer Within: A Beginner's Guide to Long Distance Hiking in the UK. Long distance trails can be a daunting prospect, especially if you're new to the world of hiking. But fear not! With a little preparation and the right mindset, you can unleash your inner adventurer and embark on a journey that will change your life forever. In this blog, we'll explore the joys of long distance hiking in the UK and provide you with some tips to get started.
1. Choose Your Trail Wisely
There are countless long distance trails in the UK, each with its unique features and challenges. Do your research and choose a trail that suits your fitness level, time constraints, and interests. Some popular trails include the West Highland Way in Scotland, the Pennine Way in England, and the Coast to Coast walk which spans from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. Take note of the distance, terrain, and weather conditions of the trail before setting out. Don't forget to obtain relevant maps and possibly trail guides.
2. Plan Your Route and Accommodation
Once you've chosen your trail, map out your route and plan your accommodation. It's important to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak hiking seasons. Options range from campsites, hostels, B&Bs, and hotels. You can also opt to carry a tent and camp along the way, but make sure to follow proper Leave No Trace principles. It's also important to factor in rest days and any potential detours or side trips you may want to take.
3. Pack Appropriately
Packing appropriately is key to a successful and enjoyable hiking trip. Make sure to bring the basics such as suitable clothing, comfortable shoes, a backpack, a water bottle, a head torch, a first aid kit, wet weather gear, a warm sleeping bag, a tent, and insect repellent. Don't forget to pack enough food and snacks to last you throughout the day as well.
4. Stay Safe and Be Prepared
Hiking can be a great way to explore the great outdoors, but it’s important to stay safe and be prepared for any unexpected situations. Before starting your hike, research the local area and weather conditions, and let someone know where you will be hiking and when you plan to return. Carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Familiarize yourself with the trail and landmarks to avoid becoming lost. In case of a medical emergency, make sure to have a charged mobile phone. Be conscious of wildlife in the area and learn how to stay safe around them. Also, keep the environment in mind while hiking and follow the principles of Leave No Trace, which includes packing out all rubbish and minimizing your impact on natural resources.
In terms of gear, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and pack enough food, water, and sunscreen for the duration of your hike. Consider wearing layers that you can easily add or remove as the temperature changes throughout the day. If you’re hiking in a group, stay together and don’t wander off alone. If you’re hiking alone, be extra cautious and let someone know your planned route and expected return time. Respect any warning signs or closures, as they are in place for your safety and the protection of the environment.
By following these guidelines and taking precautions, you can enjoy a safe and memorable hiking experience. Remember to always be aware of your surroundings, and never hesitate to turn around if you feel uncomfortable or if weather conditions become unfavorable. It’s better to postpone a hike than to take unnecessary risks. Additionally, it’s important to properly dispose of any rubbish and follow Leave No Trace principles by leaving the environment the way you found it. This includes not disturbing wildlife, avoiding loud noises, and refraining from picking or damaging plants.
Overall, always prioritize safety, respect for the environment, and preparedness when hiking. Enjoying the great outdoors can be a wonderful experience as long as you follow these guidelines and use common sense.
Where are you planning on hiking this year?