100 British Hiking Tips

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01.

don't forget your waterproof

Seriously, don’t trust the weather forecast, especially if your walk is taking you across mountainous, or remote terrain. We feel its far better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, it’s best to carry a lightweight waterproof for summer hiking, which can be taken out in the event of bad weather. 

02.

Be sure to carry cash

Our economy is certainly moving towards the idea of a ‘cashless’ economy, but many rural areas have not got this memo. Please don’t forget to bring a float of change, which will save any disappointment when you try to get a coffee, only to find out your AMEX card isn’t accepted. (Only about 40% of retailers accept AMEX in the UK)

03.

We have the best maps in the world

Maps! Man, I love our maps. I can rave about them all day. But the best of the bunch are OS maps. The level of details is second to none, and if you know how to read one of these, you will always find your way home. 

04.

Don't forget your sun screen

British Summer time can be pretty sunny. That’s good news for you, but even between showers and rain, you will need sun screen. Don’t underestimate our sun, its just the same as the sun elsewhere. 

05.

We hope you like a cooked english...

Cooked Breakfasts are the staple of a long Distance Hike. You may be fed up of them by day 4 but its perfectly OK to ask for something other than beans, hash brown, sausage, egg and fried bread. 

 

06.

Try local beer, it's almost always better

Beer is a staple of British cuisine. We have a long and rich heritage of brewing beer, only amplified by the resurgence of micro-breweries. Please do try our beer if you enjoy it. There are beers out there to suit every taste. 

07.

British food isn't always that awful

Oh come on, who doesn’t like fish and chips? If fish isn’t your thing, Chips, Cheese and Gravy is a mix made in heaven. 

Any pubs on route will be a bit of a mixed bag. Some offering ‘home cooked’ food which is questionable, while others offer a really nice menu. Your safest bet is to check out TripAdvisor.  

09.

hiking shoes are usually better than boots

Long distance hikers swear by hiking shoes over boots. At least, most do. Any this is for a good reason – they are lighter, cooler and less prone to bilstering your feet. 

Perhaps hiking shoes are not for you. If that’s the case I recommend buying lightweight boots. Solomon are one example of a brand who make excellent lightweight composite boots. 

10.

You can leave the sat phone at home

Sat phones are not a requirement. Mobile signals are available in most areas, and failing that you are unlikely to be so remote on a long distance path that you don’t see anyone for days. 

11.

We don't mean to be pessimistic

It’s the weathers fault. Honest!

12.

use a baggage transfer service

Lightweight backpacking could be your thing 🔥 but if not, I recommend having your bags moved.

This isn’t a service for the 1%. Companies offering luggage transfer services are in abundance and having your bags carried is a no brainier for many. Enjoy the walk, without aching shoulders. 

13.

Book your rooms online

Booking.com, AirBnB and other similar companies make it easy to book rooms online. Regardless of where you are, good quality accommodation on the trail can easily be booked ahead of your arrival. 

14.

you don't need to stay somewhere different each night

Tempting as it is to stay in a different location each night it often doesn’t make sense. IF you find a particularly nice B&B why not stay for two nights, and use a taxi to ferry you to/from the trail?

15.

Don't underestimate the difficulty of our terrain

British long distance walking is not all canal paths and easy tracks. Our terrain is some of the most diverse in Europe. Be warned, we have some big hills.5

16.

Bring lots of water

It’s not particularly common to find water points on the trail when hiking. I know that in some European countries these do exist, but don’t expect to find these facilities here. Of course you can refill your bottle when you get to a town. However while on the hill ensure you have enough water to last. 

17.

Don't expect to understand everyone

Britain is a small country with a lot of dialects, accents and words which don’t translate across counties. Don’t be surprised when somebody calls you pet, or duck, or when your bacon butty in one county is a bacon cob in another, and a bacon roll a few doors down.


18.

train fairs are expensive, book in advance

No, I mean it. Our trains are not cheap. Booking in advance is well worth the effort. If you are unable to then book for off-peak times for the best rate. 

19.

Be aware of bank holidays

Bank Holidays are some sort of miserable mass tourism magnet where everyone, from everywhere descends to small rural towns which strain at the pressure of arrivals by car, over filled cafes and beaches left with rubbish.

Plan your trip around Bank Holidays. 

20.

You can fly internally

When traveling to the start of your walk you can fly internally. It’s often quicker, and cheaper than train. Highly recommended. 

21.

it's ok not to like football

It’s normal to feel that most people you meet will like football. It’s our unofficial national sport. But honestly, it’s perfectly OK not to understand what somebody is on about when they talk about the Beautiful Game. You can always talk about the weather instead. 

22.

Avoid pubs with 'meal deals' on the outside

Seriously. if a pub is advertising 2 for 1 turn around and walk away. 

23.

Avoid B&B's which dont allow you to book online

There is no excuse in this day and age. As a rule of thumb (but not always) please be wary of places which do not have online booking, or only accept cash and cheque as a form of payment. It’s likely their interior will be dated. 

24.

car hire is expensive, but often cheaper than trains

As previously mentioned. Trains are expensive. Car hire to get to/from the trail may be cheaper. 

25.

parking can easily be found if you know where to look

Check out yourparkingspace.co.uk to find great spaces to park – from peoples driveways to street parking where a permit is provided. This is a great resource when you want to leave a car for a week at the beginning of a trail.

26.

on sundays, there is nothing to do in small villages

If you happen to be overnighting in a small village on a Sunday, unless there is a particular event happening don’t be surprised if there is nothing to do. Plan to take some walks from the village instead if you decide to have a rest day. 

27.

Learn the Countryside code

I’m not sure if other countries have a countryside code, but we sure do. You can find it here and it’s designed to preserve our landscape for future generations.

28.

Learn the Countryside code

I’m not sure if other countries have a countryside code, but we sure do. You can find it here and it’s designed to preserve our landscape for future generations.

29.

Outdoor shops are in abundance

Boots broken? Pole snapped? Jacket ripped? No problem, outdoor shops, or next day delivery with an online retailer is never far away in popular hiking destinations. 

30.

Did we mention the weather?

Yes? sorry, moving on. 

30.

Did we mention the weather?

Yes? sorry, moving on. 

31.

It's customary to say hello to everyone on the trail

Us awkwardly polite Brits will say hello to each other on the trail. After all, we share a common interest at this point despite our possible differences. However saying hello for the 100th time does get a little tiresome. 

32.

Sandwiches are our hillwalking staple

Sandwiches wrapped in foil, or squeezed into a sandwich bag are customary here. Here is the thing – we have not learned to use crusty breads which hold their shape. Instead we use flat slices, which after being warmed and compressed in your bag end up looking pretty awful.

You could of course carry a lunch box, but that would be extra weight. 

33.

Alfred Wainwright is quite famous in the hillwalking community

A lot of open countryside, and excellent walking routes (Including the Coast to Coast path) are down to Wainwright’s efforts. Read more here. 

34.

Some countries have Mosquitoes, we have midges

Midges are small blood sucking little insects. They are tiny, but abundant in number, particuarly in mid summer. Some people seem to waltz past a swarm of them without so much as a bite. Others get eaten to bits. They itch like crazy. Make sure you bring a suitable repellent and long sleeves. 

35.

don't rush

We have beautiful open countryside with so much to see and do along the way. Our history is rich, both natural and social. 

Take your time to stop, enjoy our views, ancient woodlands, meandering streams and harsh fells. 

Enjoy our food, comfortable B&B’s and excellent choice of beers. 

And most of all, enjoy the company of the friendly individuals who live and work within our rural areas. 

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