Long Distance Hikes that can be walked in a week or less

You have a week of leave you forgot to take, you know you want to spend it walking, but where do you go?

This is what a member of our community recently asked, and as usual, the answers from our community members came out on top, with 28 excellent suggestions.

Here are the top picks:

Cleveland Way

The Cleveland Way, is a 110 mile National Trail that crosses remote upland moors, and coastal walking from Helmsley to Files in North Yorkshire.

The Trail is really well waymarked, and also well served by a good choice of campsites, suitable wild camping spots, and accommodation.

For food and drink lovers, the Cleveland way starts near the Helmsley Brewery, with handcrafted beer.

You will also pass Rievaulx Abbey, which was one of England’s most prominent Abbeys, complete with a museum. Of course, there Is the opportunity to walk up Roseberry topping, which rewards with stunning views of the landscape.

And if that’s not enough, the pretty coastal villages of Staithes, Runswick Bay, Whitby and Robin Hoods bay should make the trail particularly appealing. 

Yorkshire Wolds Way

If you like quieter walks, with a focus on peaceful walking, away from other walkers then the Yorkshire Wold’s Way may be an excellent choice.

Often overlooked by walkers due to its neighbouring trail the Cleveland Way. The Yorkshire Wolds Way has rolling countryside, and excellent views, with good tracks and waymarks throughout.

The route starts at Humber with impressive views of the River, and stretches over 87 miles, across the Yorkshire Wolds to Files.

Expect patchwork fields, an abundance of wildflowers, butterflies and birdlife.

Overall, the Yorkshire Wolds Way is a peaceful route, with little in the way of big climbs, and can be walked year round due to the trails condition.

Snowdonia Slate trail

The Snowdonia Slate Trail is an almost circular 83 mile route, starting in Bangor, and finishing in Bethesda.

The route covers 83 miles of countyside, in the unique slate landscape – which is North Wales latest World Heritage Site, in the Snowdonia National Park.

Experience the unique slate landscape of North Wales` latest World Heritage Site and enjoy the wonders of the Snowdonia National Park.

The trail takes you through some of the less visited parts of the National Park, while also allowing you to experience the popular villages of llanberis and Betws y Coed.

The Ridgeway

Starting in Avebury, the ridgeway takes walkers 87 miles through a remote part of central England to Ivinghoe Beacon, northwest of London.

The route itself is a historic Roman road, and thus known as ‘Britain’s oldest road’ and still follows the same route, used through the centuries.

Today is makes an excellent waymarked long distance walk, and offers excellent views across rolling chalkland, and pleanty of history, such as Iron Age forts.

The Ridgeway is an accessible walk from most capitals, and particularly beautiful in the spring when the bluebells are in bloom, and the ground better underfoot.

Northumberland Coast Path

The Northumberland coast Path is a fantastic walk for a week of relaxing seaside long distance walking. The long windswept beaches of Northumberland make for a striking landscape, which is graced with history, and over 7000 years of human activity, including a good number of Castles!

The route is 62 miles in length, so one of the shorter routes here, and takes walkers from Cresswell in the South to Berwick-upon-Tweed in the North.

The path offers walkers a remarkable walking experience.

Anglesey Coast Path

Anglesey, an island just off the North of Wales has a fantastic long distance route, at 130 miles in length around its circumference. The island falls within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, which accounts for around 95% of the coastline.

The landscape is diverse, from long stretches of open beach, forest, steep cliffs and farmland.

Highlights include the impressive South Stack lighthouse, Bwa Gwyn sea arches, the Menai Suspension Bridge, and the birdlife, flora, and fauna whom inhabit the island.

(Book Extract) Adventure Dayze

The extract below is from author Wayne Mullane, who write Adventure Dayze which recalls his experience as a non-hiker to walking up Britains highest mountain – Ben Nevis.
Yet the catch is that Wayne suffers from an acute fear of heights.

The chapter below, is titled Fitness.

Fitness

Before I took up hiking as a hobby, most evenings saw me pitched up in front of the TV, stuffing my face with snacks. Consequently, over the period of a few years, my belly had felt like a slowly inflating rubber ring. I knew I needed to shed a few pounds and stop myself from becoming near comatose after work every day, but dieting has always felt far too regimented to me – and, besides, I like the idea of being free to eat a pie if I want to. That left exercise as my only option.

Going out for a run or to the gym didn’t appeal as – like I’ve said – I’d become too self-conscious of exercising in front of other people. Walking, however, gave me the impetus to exercise at my own pace and in my own way; it could be done fast or slow, and over any distance I wanted. Plus, it allowed me to be out and about, exercising in the fresh air while not having to experience the pressures of looking like a flapping fish being
reeled in by an angler – which is exactly what my running style looks like.

Yes, walking suited me down to the ground. A tight exercise regime or healthy lifestyle may be necessary for some, but personally, I needed to switch off once in a while, and – more importantly – eat cake guilt-free.

During 2016 and 2017, all I did was walk (with the addition of the occasional workout for Snowdon); short distances of a few miles once or twice a week were followed by six to 10
miles with Robin on alternating weekends. At this stage, Robin had a similar approach to me, and – by the time we did Snowdon in 2017 – this approach had definitely seen us through.

However, we believed Ben Nevis needed a little something extra. Yes, we’d managed to build up ongoing levels of fitness, but now we were going higher than we’d ever been before, and we knew we needed to respect the challenge by being a little more devoted to our health goals. When we’d been preparing for Scafell Pike, Aaron had told me that if we were able to walk the equivalent of the ascent and descent on flat ground on a regular enough basis, we’d be fine. As the total round trip for Ben Nevis is about eight miles, that wouldn’t be a problem – and
there’d be no harm in gaining that extra fitness to help sustain us in our undertaking.

So, by the start of 2018, Robin had hit the gym whilst Aaron and Robert remained committed to their jogging regime. I found myself in a state of ambiguity: on the one hand I wanted to exercise, but on the other I wasn’t sure how or where. Robin had given me a pep talk about going to the gym, saying that the best way to face my fear was simply to go there, but I wasn’t so sure. I put it off, then put it off some more.

With Robin’s words going round and round in my mind, I spent some time examining precisely why gyms and jogging didn’t cut it for me, and I came to the conclusion that it was precisely a case of others judging me. The guys constantly told
me not to worry about that and to focus on myself, but I just couldn’t help it – which was particularly strange as we all used to go jogging when we lived in Slough. Similarly, if I took up
a team sport, that would open my mind to being compared to teammates. I thought it was stupid for somebody my age to be so self-conscious – especially as it’s only ever to do with sport –
and while it’s not exactly an overwhelming sensation, it’s simply how I am.

I’d always thought that, as I aged, I’d become less inhibited about doing what I wanted to do, but that just didn’t seem to be the case. This was particularly strange as walking up mountains was, in part, about me challenging my fear of heights; why couldn’t I also challenge this dread I had concerning exercising in public?

Maybe this was exactly what it was: an age-related, self-contained, contradictory point of view. Or maybe, I pondered further, it was simply because these forms of exercise didn’t appeal
to me. If you tell me I have to run a quarter of a mile, I’ll shut down; if you tell me I have to walk 15 miles, before you can say ‘physical exercise’ my boots will be on and I’ll be out the door.

So, I found myself in a quandary. As Robert and Aaron pounded the streets and parks and as Robin pumped iron down at the gym, the lure of the sofa became attractive once again, particularly as January 2018 wore on. Regular walking had slowed down due to the colder weather, and although I toyed with the idea of buying weights and doing sit-ups and press-ups at home, the idea really didn’t appeal.

No, I needed something else. I needed something low budget and enjoyable. Something I wanted to do and would actually do.

It took me the best part of January to find a solution, and I can’t remember how or why I first decided to do it, but I started working out my own fitness programme. I borrowed a few ideas from exercise videos on YouTube, and soon I had my own regime in place that I could mix up with about fifteen or so different exercises to choose from. Plus, it was free (if you ignored
my monthly broadband payment).

I started small: 15 or 20 minutes at first, building up to no more than thirty minutes at a time. Then, as the weeks went by, I added new types of exercises and took others away, eventually
buying a pair of ankle weights to boost my efforts. I used my home to suit my regime: I gripped the tops of door frames to stretch out; I did standing press-ups against the kitchen worktops; and I pranced around the living room like an uncoordinated starfish as I stepped and jumped about.

As the routines varied in duration, I could quite happily complete a five or 10-minute workout some evenings and be happy with that – the important thing was that I remained
committed.

Finally, I’d found an answer that didn’t involve being in close proximity to judging eyes as I worked up a sweat.

Roughly around the same time, Robin and I began to diet. Since hitting forty, I’d grown more outward than upwards, and now seemed as good a time as any to tackle that. Although, as I’ve said, I find it hard being restricted to tight regimens, which inevitably led me to start snacking heavily again. As February turned into March – and with our walking time being restricted by heavy downpours of snow – a new lean, mean Robin had put
himself out there, whilst a fitter-slightly-less-fatter Wayne was now on display.

I was still battling between all-out exercise and all-out eating, living some kind of half-existence as I tried to satisfy two extremes. For all the crisps, sandwiches, and chocolate I ate, I’d
attempt to make up for it by doing an ultra-workout, but soon my body started telling me I was overdoing it. I’d leave longer gaps between workouts, even though I knew my efforts were at
risk of coming undone.

I didn’t want to give up exercising, though. I really enjoyed following exercise videos on YouTube and then incorporating
them into my own routines; it engaged both my brain and my body, in all sorts of ways. Regular exercise is well known to boost mood and I was keen to benefit from that.

Robin, Robert, and Aaron had kept on exercising, battling their own fitness demons, and I knew I needed an extra incentive to get me through – at least until the snow cleared and I could commit to regular distance walking again.

‘It’s all about your mindset, you know’, Robert told me one evening as he supped his pint.

Okay,’ I replied, a little uncertainly. I’d explained my predicament to him over after-work drinks as we waited for Robin to join us one early March evening. We were in Reading again– we spend a lot of time there.

Yeah,’ Robert replied. ‘You feel guilty for eating more food, so you punish yourself with full-on exercise.’

Go on,’ I encouraged him.

Eventually, you give up, because you find that trying to satisfy two complete opposites just doesn’t work,’ he continued with a nod.

So what do I do?’

Like I said, change your mindset. You like exercising, and you also like snacks, yeah? So, exercise to snack.’

‘Exercise to snack,’ I repeated, and a moment of clarity engulfed me. As I said this over and over again in my mind, a smile began to form on my face. I could force myself through gruelling workouts with the promise of a pork pie or a fondant fancy at the end – and feel guilt-free to boot!

Snackercise!’ I exclaimed happily.

Exactly. Just accept that what you’re already doing is okay and you’ll be fine. You’ll lose weight more slowly, but that doesn’t matter – so long as you’re okay with it.’

I was certainly okay with it; in fact, I celebrated my redefined moderately healthy lifestyle with a swig of my highly calorific pint. Really, I wouldn’t be doing anything different – I’d just have a fresh approach to motivate me. Plus, having a target like Ben Nevis to focus on gave me extra incentive to keep working out. Sure, the pounds didn’t exactly drop off, but I definitely became fitter as I occasionally increased my workouts
each week to supplement all the walking.

It really is amazing how just a few simple words gave me that much-needed clarity while forcing away the indecisiveness that had been holding me back. Mindset certainly is a powerful
thing.

So, by the time the Ben Nevis weekend rolled around, I might have been a few pounds heavier than I’d planned at the start of the year, but I was fitter than I’d felt in years and more than ready for the challenge.

You can purchase Adventure Dayze from Amazon.

Wild Camping Along The South Downs Way

Memories, that’s what we wanted to make when we decided to put our lives in two rucksacks and travel for a few years. Because when you are taking your last breath that is what you remember, not how much money you have in the bank or how big your house is.

So, here we were four days into the south downs way, exhausted, aching, and feeling completely alive.

We had spent the seven hours previously hiking up and down hills that tried to take away your enthusiasm, with stony paths making a mockery of your expensive hiking boots.

But it didn’t matter in the slightest, we had found the perfect place for a night of wild camping. You can hear the sigh of relief from your feet when you took your shoes and socks off, letting the cool air take away the day’s exertions.

We would gingerly lower ourselves to the floor, using the rucksacks as support for our aching backs. But then the efforts of the day would start to lift, as we started to notice what was around us.

How often in life do you just stop, stop, and notice every tiny, beautiful, magical thing that you are surrounded by? Not often enough I am guessing.

We don’t set the tent up until about half an hour before it gets dark, so that gives us a few hours to sit and watch the world around us.

The magic I talk about is in the skylarks hovering just above the fields searching for prey. It is in the clouds floating above your heads, which if you look hard enough you can create whatever you like out of their mesmerizing shape-shifting. It is in the rolling hills that fill your sight for miles all around, the array of wildflowers that line the fields.

The feel of grass on your bare feet gently bringing them back to life, the freshness of the air that fills your nostrils with aromas that can’t help but make you smile. The cacophony of birdsong that sings to us, as if they are putting on their own wildlife concert just for the two of us.

Hours we sit there, our senses bombarded by all that we are lucky enough to be surrounded by.

We miss so much in the hecticness of everyday life, money, and possessions taking away the simple joys that we are surrounded by.

We eat a simple meal of tinned fish, rice, and vegetables cooked over a tiny stove. My mind and body feel grateful that it is getting a break from the overindulgence of living a life of convenience, where I can walk into my kitchen and keep eating whether I am hungry or not.

As we prepare for sleep in our castle made for two, we are comforted by the chaffinches, robins, and blue tits singing their dusk chorus, perched on the branches of an ancient yew tree. The melodious songs remind me of being read bedtime stories as a child by a loving mother or grandparent. Filling us with ease and taking away the last remnants of an arduous day on the trail, leaving us feeling safe in the world and protected by an unseen force.

As we lay there in our down-filled cocoon, we listen to the wind whisper through the branches of the tree above. Gently lulling us into a calm sleep with its rhythmic murmurs like a lullaby created just for us. We feel the whole of our being relax with each breath of the wind, as our bodies lose all their tightness. Letting us gently drift into a re-energizing slumber, feeling grateful for the small things in life

We are gently awoken by the dawn chorus, it is a magical way of life. Falling asleep when we are tired, then waking up when we are not. Our bodies direct us to what is right, leaving the stress of what is perceived as normal life behind.

We had our obligatory cup of tea, well we are English, and it would have been remiss if we hadn’t brought the right supplies to keep us in tea on this adventure.

I am lucky enough to have brought my own Tai Chi teacher with me, so doing fifteen minutes of Tai Chi stretches is becoming part of our morning routine. We were ten minutes into our routine when a white-tailed eagle flies into our eyeline, we were like two ten-year-old kids. The visible excitement at seeing this whilst doing Tai Chi could have been felt if you were standing with us, ten seconds later it was gone, but what a magical moment it was. We went on to see it three or four times during the day and each time was as exciting as the previous.

This is just the experience of one night, I could write a book on the mindful moments we have had over the first five weeks of our travels. But I wanted to give an insight into what has become an important part of our journey, wild camping, and watching.

I implore you to stop for a moment, wherever you are today just stop and take a moment. Connect to your senses and see, hear, and smell where you are. Notice the little things, the little things you wouldn’t normally notice. Breathe it in, it can change how you see yourself and the world you live in.

Wild camping is about respect, you respect the land, the people and nature. Do not have fires unless in a specific area where it says you can, take all your rubbish with you. Leave no trace. Within a few hours of us leaving you would not have known we had been there. Be respectful please, or you ruin it for the people that have the right attitude to wild camping.

See you on the trail.

Written by Mark Wood on the south downs way, May 2022.

You can follow Mark and Karen’s life-changing adventure on their Facebook group or on YouTube.

Breaking autistic stereotypes through long distance walking with Ian and Eve

“We want to give people the confidence to go out and do stuff and try new things they might be too nervous or scared to do and to be whoever they want to be.”

Autism and other forms of Neurodiversity are undoubtedly difficult to live with within a society structured around being ‘normal’.

We all celebrate difference when it’s put on a pedestal (Think Elon Musk, Anthony Hopkins, and Tim Burton), yet when we actually meet individuals on the Autism Spectrum, I believe we are collectively guilty of seeing them not as diverse, but simply different.

This is a shame. A shame for you and me, but also a shame for people like Ian and Eve, who are both Neurodiverse, and in their case, Autistic.

I say a shame, not because I am sorry for Ian and Eve, that they are Autistic, but because we miss the brilliance of their brains, which process the world around them differently from the rest of us.

Ian and Eve, through their remarkable challenge, hope to challenge the perception of Autism, and hope to inspire those with Autism to do things that may seem scary and to challenge the status quo on the perceptions of autism.

They are doing this through a remarkable walk from Dunnet Head, to the Lizard, the furthest point in Scotland, to the furthest point in England.

I messaged Ian to say hello, after he posted some photos in the community, and he agreed to answer some questions I had around the walk.

So without further ado, I introduce you to Ian and Eve.

Ian, and Eve, thanks for joining me. Please tell me a bit about yourselves.

We are a home educating family living in rural Scotland near Stirling. Myself (Ian) and Eve (age 8) are both autistic having both been diagnosed several years ago. And then there’s my wife Sarah, our dog and our 2 cats.

We are an outdoor family and love being outside whether it be walking, canoeing or camping etc in any weather.

Being outdoors, walking in particular, allows us to access places and experiences that most people will never have the privilege of experiencing or seeing.

The outdoors is both Eve and I’s ‘happy place’ and being outside in nature, in the hills, mountains and wild places lets us all be ourselves and feel happy and content. It takes away the everyday worries, that I know we all face, but for autistic people the ‘everyday’ can be so much more overwhelming. Being outdoors also removes us from some of the people who may judge or criticise us for being different, you will often hear us singing (out of tune) and laughing as we walk before you see us!

It gives us a very different perspective on life, a simpler existence where we can remove ourselves from social media, news, modern life in general and the pressures to conform….
For all of us, as a family, being outdoors in the ultimate freedom and liberation!

What inspired you to take on this particular challenge, over many of the other things you could have done to raise money?

We decided to take on this challenge to raise awareness of autism as both myself and Eve have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. (‘a word of caution… the official name is very controversial… because most people with autism argue it anything but a ‘disorder’, we do not call it a disorder).

Autism comes with lots of preconceived ideas, assumptions, and stereotypes. We wanted to show everyone that there is far more to being autistic than people often think and that being autistic doesn’t prevent people from achieving great things!

We wanted to do something of this scale to make people take notice and be both surprised and inspired by what we are doing and to realise that having a disability doesn’t mean one is not capable of doing or achieving their goals!

We want to give people the confidence to go out and do stuff and try new things they might be too nervous or scared to do and to be whoever they want to be.

We love walking and being outside. This is where both myself and Eve are at our happiest. Eve is naturally an adventurous child and we want to nurture this within her so she can go on and achieve great things.

It was actually Eve who suggested doing this walk! (and she is already talking about wanting to do another one next year!)

Eve is home educated and a massive part of her learning is done in the everyday (to give her education more context and real life applications). When out for a walk we will talk about the things we see from trees, to insects and clouds and integrate core skills such as reading, math and science.

Then once home (or in a tent, having a break etc) we will ‘Google’ the various questions she had that we don’t know the answers to, like ‘how old is the oldest tree?’. It is a fantastic way to learn and Eve is discovering so much on this journey, that we hope will give her an amazing life experience that she can learn from and look back on with pride in years to come.

How much preparation and planning has gone into your adventure?

There has been lots of planning and preparation that is still ongoing. We only plan a few days ahead as things can change so quickly and as a result plans have to change too.

We did a lot of research and planning on our route choices and gained a lot of insight from other people who have walked various sections. However, this is still adapting and changing all the time. Only the other day we changed a small section of our route due to not wanting to walk through a field full of cows, calves and bulls!

We also spent a long time researching equipment trying to find the best stuff for our budget that was lightweight but also durable enough for Scotland in March! However, even now we are still finding things that didn’t work or weren’t as good as we’d hoped.

Fitness wise, we didn’t do any specific training as we were already a fairly active family.

Which route are you choosing to follow?

We are trying to stick with as many national trails on route as we can just to try and make our lives that bit easier. As these are clearly signposted and you can get maps and guidebooks etc. However, this has not always been possible or the most convenient route to take. So we have done some cross country navigation too which has been interesting.

So far we followed the John o’Groats Trail which proved very difficult. We then did the Great Glen Way followed by the full West Highland Way. We then made our own way to Edinburgh following the canals and again chose our own route through the borders using a mixture of routes where we joined up with the Pennine Way on the Scotland/England border. And we’ll follow this all the way to Edale in the Peak District.

Yes. As a family, we all have a great love of the outdoors from walking to canoeing.

Eve and I have completed several long distance hikes including the Rob Roy Way and the Great Trossachs Path. All 3 of us completed the Berwickshire Coastal Path last year.

Back in 2020 we attempted the West Highland Way but had to stop on day 2 due to the first lockdown due to Covid 19. But we have completed it now as part of our route to Land’s End!

What message around Autism do you hope that people will take away from following your journey?

Autism affects approximately 1 in 100 people with girls often being misdiagnosed or diagnosed later in life.

When people think of autism they probably think of the stereotypical traits such as obsessive interest in specific topics, repetitive behaviors, structure and routine, communication difficulties, and public outbursts.

Although these traits may be true for some people (both neurotypical and neurodivergent) they do not represent the full spectrum of people with autism.

Every single person with autism is unique and has different characteristics and it is not fair or correct to assume everyone is the same simply because they have a diagnosis of ASD.

Autism has long been thought to affect boys more than girls with boys being 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

One reason for this massive underdiagnosis in girls is a phenomenon known as autism masking whereby a person disguises their autistic traits to ‘fit in’ with their neurotypical peers.

This is incredibly damaging to the individual resulting in constant exhaustion, explosive outbursts, and lifelong mental health issues. We want to try and make people aware of these issues and the potential for diagnosis where people can get the help and support that they need to better understand themselves.

We want to encourage people to be more open and understanding of people with autism. We may behave or act differently from others but that doesn’t mean we should be treated any differently.

That child still wants to be invited to his/her classmate’s birthday party even if they don’t like the noise and bring ear defenders so they can attend, for example.

Within every autistic person is the need to feel accepted for who they are and their unique and amazing personalities. With a little more understanding we want to try and ensure that everyone is accepted for who they are, regardless of autism or not!

Autism doesn’t have to prevent a person from achieving great things, on the contrary, it can be with the correct support and guidance harnessed and focussed to achieve things that can literally change the world… Elon Musk?

What have been the high points of your walk?

The walk so far has been fantastic. We have met some of the nicest and most generous people you could ever hope to meet.

Some of the best points by far are all the people we have met, the offers of help, words of encouragement, and the donations and support we have been offered. It’s been incredible and has blown my mind.

Some of the main things we can both take away from this challenge are how little you actually need and a deeper appreciation of the simple things in life such as a hot or cold drink!

What have been the hardest parts of your walk?

The hardest so far has been the North East coast of Scotland. The wind, rain, and cold were brutal in March.

Trying to tackle the north section of the John o’Groats Trail that in places where there is nothing more than a mud slide into a Geo, hundreds of feet above rocks and stormy seas, waves bigger than our house in 50mph winds with barbed wire everywhere was a huge mental and physical challenge.

What made it harder still (for me as a father) was trying to deal with the challenges and dangers enthusiastically, with energy and a sense of humour, to keep Eve motivated, engaged, and happy. We retreated to walking down the A9 for most of this route which felt like the lesser of two evils.

What can readers do to support you?

We have a Facebook page where we post daily updates on our progress
www.facebook.com/ourspectrumadventures

We have the charity page where supporters can donate to The National Autistic Society
www.justgiving.com/fundraising/johnogroatstolandsendourspectrumadventures

We have a Go Fund me page to help us with costs of equipment, fuel, food, etc to complete our challenge
www.gofundme.com/eve-ian-hike-John-o-groats-to-lands-end

And also a Buy Me a Coffee fund where people can choose to buy Eve a treat such as an ice cream or chocolate bar, and myself a much needed coffee
www.buymeacoffee.com/OurSpectrumAdv

The Ultimate Nitecore NU25 Headtorch Review

I quite like outdoor gear made in China.

I’ve got a number of reasons for that, which I will save for another article but simply, gear purchased directly from China, is quite simply, affordable. And for me that is hugely appealing.

Nitecore is no exception.

I discovered this brand after hunting for a new headtorch. I know most headtorches are made in China – probably all of them.

First I looked at Alpkits range. Out of stock, and the one I was replacing was Alpkit and honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with it.

I couldn’t justify a Petzl. I don’t have £80.00 to burn on a light.

And everything else I looked at on Amazon was questionable.

Then I thought – what do long distance hikers in South East Aisa use? That’s when I came across Nitecore, only to find out, it’s got quite a following here.

Nitcore do a number of torches, from heavyweight ones designed for caving and rescue, to lights designed to be positioned on top of a gun to see the people you are shooting.

So if it’s good enough for shooting people, it’s good enough for use on the trail or around the campsite.

Perfect.

I dug deeper into the extensive product range and discovered the Nitecore NU25 – An ultralight headtorch that packs a reasonable punch considering its size and weight.

This is what the review will be about. The nifty little Nitecore NU25, is your new best friend at night, while on the trail, or setting up camp.

Ultralight hikers, take heed, this one is for you.

Product Specs

Weight: 28 g without headband, 51g with headband.
Dimensions: 2.19″ x 1.36″ x 0.91″ (its really small!)
Built in power indicator (more about that shortly)
USB rechargeable
Cable included
Lockout functionality
Three colours to choose from (I went for black 🦇)

Nitecore NU25 Brightness Levels

Nitecore publish the following brightness levels for the torch

Turbo: 360 lumens – 30 mins runtime
High: 190 lumens – 5 hrs runtime
Mid: 38 lumens – 8 hrs runtime
Low: 1 lumen – 160 hrs runtime
High CRI White Light: 20 lumens – 6 hrs 15 mins runtime
Red Light High: 13 lumens – 7 hrs 45 mins runtime
Red Light Low: 0.9 lumens – 68 hrs runtime
Red Light Caution: 13 lumens – 13 hrs runtime

For the purpose of this review, I wanted to test the Turbo to see if it ran for 30 minutes, from new as suggested. Given the nature of lithium-ion batteries which pretty much all modern electronics use, these times will reduce with use.

Upon testing the torch on Turbo it ran for 40 minutes. I expect that to reduce over time.

Turbo has more than enough power for a spot of Nav, and actually isn’t that much brighter than High, which offers 5 hrs of runtime.

Nitecore NU25 Review

Honestly, I am impressed with this torch.

For the price it’s a bargain, and it performs remarkably well, by that I mean it has a good focus of light, without being too directional, or too spread out.

Some head torches can be very spread out making them great for lighting up a whole tent, but awful for navigation or use in the hills.

The Nitecore NU25 is a good compromise. It reaches ahead by about 20-30 meters on Turbo and 15 meters on High making it good enough for a bit of night Nav, but perhaps not suitable if you are planning to walk in difficult terrain over bad weather during the night.

The headtorch is very ergonomic despite the size. It features a single rubbery button on the top. Hit the right of the button as many times as you need to select the brightness of the main light, or hit the left side for the red light.

In addition, it rocks back and forth on its frame, so positioning is easy, and without much friction.

The torch can be charged via the Micro USB slot, which is hidden under a water-resistant flap at the bottom of the torch. The slot is well made, with the rubber flap being quite substantial and unlike some Micro USB slots isn’t difficult to put a cable into, or isn’t too loose either.

I would however have preferred a USB C slot, which I find more durable in the long run and as they are double-sided, you don’t need to faf around trying to get the plug into the jack.

The headstrap is also well designed. It’s not just a simple elasticated strap. Instead, it features raised rubber ridges to allow for better friction against your head or headwear. It’s easily adjusted, and due to the low weight of the torch, doesn’t need to be overtightened as it really doesn’t pull down at all, unlike some heavier torches.

The torch itself is very light. This will appeal to the ultralight hikers here. Its held together in a robust plastic shell, which doesn’t seem to have any give on it or any points where it can be pressed in or easily crushed in a bag or by stepping on it. Overall the durability is on point with the Nitecore NU25.

Product name – the bad

Honestly, other than the poor choice of USB connection, I’m struggling to figure out what I don’t like about this headtorch.

As with any product from China, don’t expect aftersales. I’m not speaking from experience with this particular product, but I am aware that you are unlikely to find any warranty or guarantee on most products sourced from China.

Product name – the good

I love the low weight of this headtorch, and of course the price, given the quality of the item, especially when compared with other headtorches of a similar specification.

I also really like the look of it. It’s low profile, not looking like a cheap headtorch with a sticking-out lamp or any nonsense that shouldn’t be there. It looks great and most importantly its practical.

Overall thoughts on Product Name

Frankly, if you are in need of a half-decent headtorch that is affordable then I think the Nitecore should be on your shortlist of purchases. You could buy a Black Diamond or Petzl, but expect to pay 2-3 times the price for the same level of performance and durability.

Summary

Nitecore NU25

Reviewed by Matthew Usherwood, Editor at DistanceHiker.com

PRICE / VALUE
90%
DURABILITY
90%
WEIGHT
90%
COMFORT
100%
PACKED SIZE
100%
WEATHER RESISTANCE
100%

Last Thoughts

An excellent headtorch for the ultralight enthusiast, novice, and expert alike who don’t want to buy into ‘big brands’ yet want the performance. You cannot really go too far wrong here.

95%

Distance Hiker Diaries – Walking the Dales Way in 5 Days

Tracy and Martin, two members of our community, recently shared a day-by-day account of their Dales Way walk.

They chose to walk the Dales Way, enjoying the finer things in life as they went – B&B’s, Pie and Beer, including the beer of the day after each overnight stop.

Thank you Tracy for allowing us to repost your Dales Way, in 5 days long distance walk!

Day 1. Ilkley to Grassington – 17.5 miles

Woke up in our room overlooking the River Wharfe and we kept the same river in view for 17 miles. Seas of bluebells and carpets of wild garlic led us up to Bolton abbey where we treated ourselves to a brew and a slice of lemon drizzle cake.

Then onwards through pretty woodland and farmland with the few cows that we encountered being very well behaved.

Most people stop at Burnsall on the first day but we just stopped for a pint before cracking on to Darrowby. Staying in the very nice Black horse hotel but no sign of James, Tristan or Siegfreid.

Ale of the day: Timothy Taylor’s Landlord Dark

Day 2. Grassington to Hubberholme. 12.5 miles

The black horse at Grassington will take some beating in the best accommodation of our adventure competition. Great room, fantastic food, friendly staff and I always get excited when I’m offered something other than a fried breakfast. Today it was pancakes with local honey and a right big banana. We woke to the rain hammering at the window but by the time we’d collected some provisions from the bakery, it’d fined up and we headed up the village to the fields above the Dales Dairy.

I had put my big girl pants on and made a decision that the bovines aren’t going to bother me on this adventure. Martin assures me that all the cows are friendly around here anyway 😬.

We were soon high above the valley in limestone country before dropping down into Kettlewell through a series of stiles that the guide book described as like the 110m hurdles with just sheep for spectators.

We thought that we’d better have a mug of Yorkshire tea in a village with this name, before returning to our friend the river Wharfe and following it down the valley. A detour to investigate a 400-year-old pub just off the trail then onwards along the river bank.

When the heavens opened, we thought it “sensible” to shelter in the next pub, the Buck at Buckden. Here the landlady offered to give us a lift to our B&B if “the weather got stupid”.

Luckily after 3 pints, the sun was shining again and we trotted on to the hamlet of Hubberholme, which consists of a church, a farm and an amazing pub.

Ale of the day: Respire by the Black Sheep Brewery

Day 3. Hubberholme to Dent – 21 miles

I awoke this morning still full from the award-winning pie that I’d had for my tea in the George the night before, which wasn’t good seeing as the lady from the B&B was busy preparing another full English breakfast for us downstairs.

Opened the curtains to see a woodpecker on the bird feeder outside our window to my great excitement. After breakfast, Gillian sent us on our way with our packed lunch, following the Wharfe again until it became a trickle and we left it behind to head up over boggy land to join the Pennine Way and the highest point of the Trail.

The wind had been getting stronger all morning and as the mighty Ingleborough came into view, it really picked up. Soon Ingleborough had its friends alongside, Pen Y Ghent and Whernside, with the majestic Ribblehead viaduct between them.

No photos of this as by now my hands were so cold that they were gripping my walking poles like crab’s claws and I was seriously regretting my decision to wear shorts. We found an old barn to shelter behind for lunch. It smelt of wee but we were grateful for any break from that wind and quickly donned every item of clothing in our rucksacks, once Martin had managed to prise the walking poles from my frozen hands.

After lunch, we took a wrong turn but luckily a friendly farmer arrived to point us back in the right direction after only a few minutes of shouting at each other in the middle of a field. We descended into Dentdale but still had another 8 miles to go before we staggered into Dent itself, more than ready to get the rucksacks off our backs, the boots off our feet, and between me and you, that’s far too long to be strapped into a sports bra!

It’s felt like a long day, but there are two cracking pubs in Dent and there’s a bath in our room, so I’m sure I’ll wake up fully refreshed tomorrow, ready to face another 20 miler!

Ale of the day: T’owd Tup from Dent Brewery (6% and we need it to numb the aches!)

Day 4 – Dent to Burneside – 20.5 miles

The last time I was in Dent it rained so hard that it washed the coat right off my old basset hound’s back. Today it was just a light drizzle as we left the cobbled streets behind to more river side walking along the Dee, the Rawthey then the Lune, through the outskirts of Sedbergh.

Shortly after my Garmin told me that I’d walked 13km on Friday the 13th, I felt a bit of a sore heel. I applied the compeed and Martin administered a chocolate chip cookie and on we went.

We left the Yorkshire dales behind and saw the first Herdwick sheep instead of Swaledale, under the shadow of the Howgill fells.

After lunch we soon saw the M6, carrying its convoy of Home Bargain trucks. We crossed this, followed by the West Coast mainline and the A6.

One minor bovine incident was when a herd of cows came charging down a field towards us. Luckily they wanted a drink from the stream, not to trample us into the ground with their hooves as I’d first thought!

The last few miles felt like a never-ending trudge through endless fields, with my ankles screaming that 2 days of 20 miles plus was a stupid idea.

Thankfully tomorrow is a shorter day to the finish line in Bowness and tonight we have the pleasure of the jolly anglers. 3 beers brewed less than a mile away and I’ve got a seat next to a baby whippet.

Ale of the day: Handsome Hound (obviously named after Nancy!)

Day 5 – Burneside to Bowness. 9.5 miles

After perhaps the deepest sleep in my life and another full English breakfast, we set off on our final day.

It began with another section of beautiful Riverside paths beside the crystal clear river Kent, accompanied by the biggest herons I have seen in my life.

We then passed into the Lake District National Park and unsurprisingly, it got a bit lumpier.

For the final few miles, we were overtaken by ultra runners competing in The Lap which put our achievements into perspective. “We’ve walked 81 miles in 5 days!”, “Yeah, well done, I’m doing 47 miles today!”. But we told the volunteers at the feeding station that we’d walked from Ilkley and got a cheer along with the runners.

There’s some dispute about the official end of the Dales Way – the bench, the pub, or the lake. So we sat on the bench, had a pint in the pub, and as for the lake,

I’ll be dipping more than a toe in that in a few week’s time! 🫣The Dales Way is said to be one of the easiest of the more established trails but we’ve had some long days due to difficulties with accommodation and it certainly isn’t flat.

It’s a beautiful part of the world and we will certainly be back with the dogs to explore it more.

So that’s it, job done. But wait, there’s a bus to Ulverston. We don’t need to be back at work for another week. Doesn’t the Cumbria way start in Ulverston??? 🤔🤣

Ale of the day: Swan Blonde from Bowness Brewery

Walking LEJOG for the Planet

I meet (virtually) a lot of people through Instagram.

Mostly, it involves me stumbling across somebody who long-distance walks, or something similar, getting excited and introducing myself, unannounced in their DM’s.

Stephanie Killingbeck-Turner, who is featured in this article is no exception. What prompted me to pop up in her inbox was that I’ve been consuming a lot of content about the environment in recent years.

Haven’t we all? It’s hard not to.

Slogans like, ‘There is no planet B‘, remind you that we are facing an inevitable mess if we don’t play our cards right and take the action needed to curb global warming, which has a huge domino effect on life here on our beautiful planet.

It’s hard not to be scared, especially with all the main media outlets sharing nothing but warnings of untold future horrors.

But what of those who are working hard to make positive change?

That’s where Stephanie comes with her walk from Lands End to John O’Groats while visiting environmental projects along the way, and inspiring us all to be activists and custodians of our planet. I’ll let Stephanie do the talking from here but

Hi Stephanie. It’s great to interview you. So, tell us a bit about yourself, and what inspired you to take on this challenge?

My environmental journey began with a plastic free July challenge in 2016. Over the intervening years my awareness of the climate crisis deepened. I joined local groups, took part in climate protests and gave a number of environmental talks and zero waste workshops. However I kept feeling drawn to greater action and in 2020 I left my job in the museum sector to begin volunteering on an organic farm in Scotland. Whilst this was a fulfilling experience, I came to feel that the actions we take, need to be bigger than the individual. As a keen walker and with the growing belief that community action is key to tackling climate breakdown the idea for this project was born. 

Can you give some examples of the environmental projects you are visiting as you walk?

I am visiting a range of projects, some focus on nature and our connection with it, others look at how communities are coming together to tackle the climate crisis and a few offer courses to help people build the skills in this arena. The projects I am visiting include:

  • The Eden Project
  • Totnes Renewable Energy Society
  • The Sustainability Centre
  • Knepp Estate
  • BedZED
  • The Food Rescue Hub
  • Ron’s Plot
  • Green Meadows
  • Incredible Edible
  • Fossil Free West Yorkshire
  • Transition Stirling
  • Findhorn
  • Black Isle Brewery garden
  • Trees for Life

What do you hope to achieve, in terms of awareness as you do the walk, and share it online and offline?

My main aims for this project are to raise awareness of the climate crisis and to inspire people to get out into nature and to build a relationship with it themselves. A relationship which will lead to a desire to look after and protect the natural world and the knowledge that they can do so through the many fantastic projects that are happening up and down the country.

Initially I thought this would be an online project however something I have really enjoyed is the conversations I’ve had with people along the way. I have had the opportunity to meet and chat with so many different people I would never meet in real life and the encouragement I have had has really spurred me on and made me feel that I am doing something worthwhile.

Have you done anything similar in the past?

I have done some long-distance walking. Each year my mum and I take on a new national trail however the longest we have done to date has been the two weeks of the Coast to Coast Path! 

I have also been involved in environmental movements and attended protests but this is the first time I have combined the two.

What kind of preparation has gone into the walk, and what sacrifices have you made to do the walk?

I have a lot of spreadsheets! Initially, I started looking at routes, and then I switched tack to research projects. Once I had decided on the projects I wanted to visit I then looked at how to weave them together. I chose to follow National Trails or walks that already had planned routes and link them together myself. 

Knowing I wanted to do a bigger project I had saved up some money, some of which I used to upgrade my gear and treat myself to some ultralight stuff knowing that I would be carrying it for a long time. 

I knew that one of the biggest sources of waste on my trip was going to be re-supplying and so I made the decision to dehydrate backpacking meals to take with me. Given the environmental message of this project I wanted to try and be conscious of my own impact as well. It’s also nice to know that I’m getting a nutritious meal in the evening. The dehydrating was quite time consuming and my poor husband is still continuing to dehydrate meals for me in my absence! He sends resupply boxes to me which I collect from the projects I visit along with any maps or anything else I might need for the next stretch of the walk. Of course it is not possible to get everything I need this way and so I am picking up other food on route. Unfortunately a lot of this is in single-use packaging.

I was fortunate that having made the decision during the pandemic to give up my job and to do some volunteering (we have been wwoofing on the Black Isle) I was able to embark on this project relatively easily. The main challenge is being completely self-sufficient for such a long time. I am teaming up with friends and family at some points but of course I do miss them in between.

Where can we follow you and learn more about what you are doing?

You can follow me on Instagram or Facebook. I am posting under Steph’s Environmental Odyssey. I am also filming as I go along and hope to create a small film of the trip once I have completed the challenge. However I will share more about how people can view that via the social media channels once it has been completed.

Trail Snapshots – Golden Miles | Derbyshire

Welcome to Distance Hiker Trail Snapshots, where members of our community share a Q&A snapshot of a trail they love!

In this article Alex shares a throwback snapshot of her hike along the Golden Miles Trail in Derbyshire – a small 35 mile circular route, starting from Ashford-in-the-Water. The route circles through Derbyshire villages such as Monsal Head, Great Hucklow, Hathersage, Calver, Endsor and Bakewell.

What made you choose the Golden Miles trail?

A short circular through the White Peak and lower Dark Peak, my favorite areas. It was my first LDW and a trial for both me and my dog before going on longer ones. I needed something with plenty of places to stay that were dog friendly and villages and towns along the way for food and any other necessities I might have forgotten.

What were the highlights of the trail for you?

Sunrise at a quiet Monsal Head. A rewarding bitter shandy and roast dinner at my night’s accommodation in the afternoon sun. Catching the last of the May bluebells. A cream tea in Edensor, Chatsworth. The beautiful Peak District views.

Coming to the realisation that walking many miles with my dog with nothing to worry about but food and sleep is possibly one of the greatest enjoyments in life.

Can you tell us about some great overnight spots you found, whether it’s a wild camp, B&B, or campsite.

The Plough Inn, Hathersage. A luxury stop on my first LDW. Would highly recommend as a treat. These days it’s a tent or bivvy!

Were there any parts of the trail you didn’t enjoy?

It was all stunning, maybe a little disappointed that we stayed in the valleys and never really got up high.

What would you do differently if you were to walk it again, and what advice would you have for anyone else looking to walk the trail?

I would maybe camp and do it over 3 days instead of 2 as I don’t need to test myself, it’d be lovely to take it all in. I would advise doing it in Spring or Autumn when the white peak is at her best.

Where is your next long-distance hike?

The Herriot Way

You can learn more about Alex and see some of her previous hiking, travel and long distance hiking photos on her Instagram @alibongo_

Trail Map

Would you like to be featured?

Here at Distance Hiker we are always on the lookout for great new long distance hiking content. Our Trail Snapshots are a great place to start. If you have a long distance trail you would like to share simply fill in the form linked here and email some photos to matthew@distancehiker.com.

Small Home Grown Outdoor Brands Making A Big Impact

Where there is passion, there is progress.

This certainly applies to the Outdoor Industry – which makes all of our awesome gear for long distance hiking adventures.

The big brands are consistently pushing the envelope of what’s possible in terms of fabric, design, and scale of manufacturing.

However, when some customers don’t find what they need, naturally, necessity breeds innovation.

This post intends to shine a light on some of the exciting garage grown / cottage industry outdoor gear companies, from backpacks, to tents and everything inbetween.

Atom Packs

Atom packs certainly deserves the top place on this article, gaining a cult following over the past couple of years as a go-to ultralightweight brand. It ticks all the boxes of being a successful business, from sporting made in Britain credentials, to outputting a high quality product.

You can find more out about Atom Packs on their website.

Thrunotes

Ever used those ‘Fieldnotes’ notepads? They look great on your desk, in a ‘Layflat’ insta shot with a coffee, your Mac and a few nice pens, but try taking one into a field and using it to record notes.
Yea, that paper ain’t going to hold up to any bad weather. Fortunately we have Thrunotes, which as the name suggests is inspired by a love of Thruhiking. Founded by Russ Hepton, AKA Trail Hunter, Thrunotes makes for a durable, and attractive choice for your long distance hiking journal, or sketch pad.

You can find more out about Thru Notes on their website.

Outdoor Provisions

I often make snacks for my longer days out, such as high-energy peanut butter, honey and nut filled flapjacks, but honestly, I don’t always have time.

For this reason alone, brands such as Outdoor Provisions are fantastic as they sell high quality energy loaded snacks for the trail.

If you love peanut butter you will love Outdoor Provisions. Lugging a jar of nut butter up a hill isn’t always the best weight saving option, BUT with Outdoor Provisions nut butter sachets, you can have nut butter on hand at all times for your nutty fix.

You can find more out about Outdoor Provisions on their website.

TentMeals

If tins of beans and surviving off porridge while on the trail isn’t your cup of tea, ration packs or camping meals is the next best thing. Some options are questionable (avoid those Military ration packs that never expire).

Fortunately the folks at TentMeals have come up with a great solution.

TentMeals mostly sell vegetarian/vegan options, loaded with dried couscous, or freeze-dried rice, nuts, dried veg, and spices.

Their rave reviews, due to the compact packaging, and great taste win them a space on this article.

You can find more out about TentMeals on their website.

Buffalo Systems

Lets get this straight. Buffalo systems make excellent gear, but it is not ultralight if thats what you are looking for. Buffalo run a small-ish operation, concentrating on unchanged timeless designs. Their kit is generally made with pertex, and by an experience team of seamsters and seamstresses who know the gear well (kind of like Atom packs!)

If you want good quality gear that lasts then Buffalo is worth considering.

You can find more out about Buffalo Systems on their website.

Kula Cloth

As the shake to dry type, as my gender allows, a Kula Cloth isn’t much use to me. However for women who hike, the Kula Cloth has been a big hit and has even reached mainstream news in recent weeks. The Kula cloth is essentially a re-usable antimicrobial pee-cloth which allows women to clean.

The Kula Cloth is a USA brand but7 Wonderful Benefits of Long Distance Walking available in the UK through friend of Distance Hiker Vampire Outdoors.

How to walk long distances without pain

Before I get into this article, I wanted to set the record straight.

You cannot walk long distances without any pain. The longer you walk, the more likely you are to get pain. Pain could be a blister, a strain, or just muscle fatigue.

Also, I’m writing here about distances of around 20 miles and over, done on a single day, or multiple days of walking of around 10 miles or over per day.

What you can manage to walk each day, with our without pain will be hugely personal and will of course depend on age, fitness, conditoning and terrain.

So, you are here to discover how to walk long distances without pain.

The article, is based on my personal experience, and the advice i’ve learned from others.

Of course nothing beats your own experence, but as you continue through with your career in long distance walking you will of course figure out what works, and what doesnt work.

Walking pain free, is as mentioned very difficult over long distances, but with some preperation, it is possible.

Here is how to walk long distances without pain.

Socks!

Socks feature top of our list of important things to limit your pain when long distance walking.

Consider this. Most of the pain you will experience will start in your feet, often because of a blister.

Good socks will allow you to get through to the end of your long distance hike blister free, and therefore feeling relatively comforable.

Muscle pains can be eased through effective rest, but a blister can carry with you for a long time and cause a significant amount of discomfort.

The first line of defence against a blister is your socks.

Not cheap socks from Sports Direct, or Decathlon, or ‘walking socks’ found in supermarkets.

Please for the love of all that is right in this world don’t use those.

No, i’m talking about merino socks.

Merino socks are superior over sythetic counterparts. Please, whatever you do avoid cotton.

Why? Well, they manage moisture better by moving it away from your skin, to the outside of the sock, while not leaving your feet too hot. Snythetic socks are less good at this, and will often have grids on them, or patches of thinner fabric to aid moisture management.

When moisture builds up in your shoe you get problems. First, your feet smell, second, your feet start sliding around in the sock and shoe, causing rubbing and hot spots which results in blisters.

Some merino socks may be mixed with synthetic fibres, such as nylon. These a are also fine, and often result in a lighter sock which is more breathable.

Think of it like this. Would you buy a new car and put on some budget tyres? Probably not, you would want a pair of nice tyres to go with your car.

The same applies for walking boots. Why spend money on good boots, when you have cheap socks which will cause you to get blisters anyway. You won’t regret the spend if you walk blister free.

In additon to a merino sock, consider a liner sock. Some hikers swear by them, as the liner can take the friction away as it will be the socks that rub together rather than your feet.

Foot care

Foot care on the trail is one of the best ways to manage blisters over long distances.

You know I said you need merino socks? Sorry, you need a few pairs. Why?

On big days out, over 20 miles and beyond, you may want to consider changing socks occasionally and giving your feet some drying time. Talc powder or similar, and a small cloth is a great way to drive moisture out of your feet. Also letting your feet air for 10-20 minutes can reduce swelling, and fully dry them out.

Giving your foot a massage will also help to alleviate any aches and pains.

This is also a great time to apply tape, and compeed to any developing hot spots.

Hot spots will always turn into a blister if you continue to walk on them. Applying compeed before they develop into full on blisters will allow you to talk unhindered by a blister.

Training

Moving away from blisters, and onto muscular pain, training is vital if you want to avoid pain, or too much of it when hiking.

That being said, for most of us walking trail in the UK, unless you are planning on putting in 15 – 20 miles of walking each day, training may not be necessary.

For an averagely fit walker who is walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path over 10 days, you will be fine with no training. Your fitness will build on the trail, even within this timeframe.

However, for longer hikers with big miles and big ascents, training is important.

I’m not going to go into the training here, as I am not qualified to offer this advice, nor do I want to. Instead, I would like to recommend the wonderful Elements Programme written by the very knowledgable Chase Tucker from Chase Mountains.

If you are like me and worried about being fit enough for your walk, a structured training plan is helpful.

You may for example be worrying that your fitness will cause injury, or the need to leave the trail early. Perhaps you have been out of fitness for a long time, and just need some support to get you back on track.

The course has everything you need to condition your body (and mind) for the trail, and is a fantastic post-walk training solution.

You can view the course here.

Stretching

Stretching is that awful thing that you do at the beginning of any form of exercise which doesn’t really feel like you have done anything at all.

Stretching is however of great importance to your repertoire of anti-pain tools.

By stretching you keep your muscles flexible, strong and therefore healthy.

By conditioning our muscles to be more flexible, we maintain a healthy range of motion in the joints. Muscles which are not stretched actually shorten over time, which causes tightness. Walking long distances will only expose the tight muscles and cause you pain as the muscle is unable to fully extend, and therefore causes pain as its stretched repeatedly.

Yoga is of course a brilliant post walk form of conditioning. With the rise of video classes and fitness tech you don’t even need to leave the house to do yoga. Try Down Dog yoga for affordable and very good online classes.

Knowing your limits

Above all else, know your limits.

By this I mean, don’t expect yourself to be able to walk big miles without pain if you are just starting out. Choose miles which you know you can comfortably walk within a day, and fit your walk around that.

If you are planning on walking the Pennine Way, yet only have a week, consider breaking the walk into sections, rather than injure yourself with big miles your body isn’t conditioned to walk.

Like most good things in life, the fitness required for long distance hiking big miles over multiple days takes time, practice and patience to build up.

Be sensible, know your limits, and above all else, have fun.

FAQ

How do I prepare my feet for long walks

There are a few simple things you can do prior to walking to get your feet in good condition for your walk. For example:
– Buy the right socks
– Clip toenails
– Break in your shoes
– Tape up ahead of time

Which shoe brand is best?

I want to tell you which is best. Honestly I do but it would be cruel and wrong for me to do so. I’ll tell you where not to buy shoes from.
Discount sports stores and supermarkets sell horrible walking boots. The price may look good, but you will soon regret it. Get to a good outfitter selling walking boots/trainers and get a professional fitting.
Failing that, buy a load of shoes online and see what feels good.

How much training should I do?

Walk as often as you can. Add some mobility training into the mix and you will be golden. But the key is to get those miles in!

What If I do get pain?

If you do get blisters, then it’s time to apply Compeed. If you can burst the blisters comfortably then apply a sterile wipe to a needle and give it a prod coming in from the side so as not to jab yourself. This will reduce pain after Compeed is applied.
If bursting a blister is not something you are comfortable with, just put your Compeed on. It will help to reduce the discomfort.
As for aches and pains, frequent stops and massaging will help.
Failing that, unless the pain is a show stopper, there reaches a point where you need to embrace it!