What is Thru Hiking? The official definition of a Thru-Hike is a long-distance trail, spanning thousands of kilometers in distance, completed over the course of 12 months.
However simply walking a Thru-Hike, whether walked in one year or over the course of several years is still, by recognition of the Thru-Hiking community valid.
Thru-Hiking by its nature means you are often in the wilderness, unable to divert off-trail with ease. Prior planning, preparation, and experience on the trail are essential. Walkers will usually be carrying their own supplies.
Thru Hikes are big bucket list walks for many, with walks including:
The Appalachian Trail (USA)
The Pacific Crest Trail (USA)
Te Arora Trail (New Zealand)
Camino de Santiago (Spain)
Via Francigena (France and Italy)
Lycian Way (Turkey)
Great Divide Way (Canada)
Now, how does this fit into walking long-distance trails in the UK? Due to our population density, and lack of wilderness, yet the range of established agricultural countryside the United Kingdom has no thru-hikes.
Yes, many of our routes are a point to point, however, they are short in distance. Rather than being a walk, which is completed in 12 months they are completed within a few weeks.
Supplies and populated areas are often met daily, and due to the distances, and network of roads, luggage transfers between points are possible.
So for a true Thru-Hiking experience you need to think big. However, for an excellent digestible long-distance hiking experience, along with comfort (should you wish), the United Kingdom has a lot to offer.