Walking the Dales Way in 3 Days

Through the Dales Way in 3 days

Somehow I managed to train my body and legs to take me for these long distances walks and hikes. And I am also lucky enough to have friends that support my crazy ideas – like this one. We walked Dales Way in 3 days – according to the sign 82 miles, according to my Strava just little bit over 84 miles. But we all know how it works. 🙂 My friends are used to me lying about how many miles we have to walk each day, I am used to the smiles and shaking heads when I tell them “maybe I lied little bit”. Also I like to get lost at least once a day, or twice. But that is very beneficial as I am attending my own personal challenge #walk1000miles2022 (again) so do my friends (fully voluntarily and absolutely not under any pressure).

But let’s go back to the Dales Way. I usually try to plan my walks – not fully to every single detail as that never works. I am more of “we gonna wing it” planner. But I still plan as many details as possible. Because we walked in March, we decided to be a bit “fancy” and book some accommodation – mainly because of English weather. The distance I wanted to walk every day had to be modified little bit as the options for accommodation were limited (we used Booking.com and Google). I also use my app mapy.cz where you I can download offline maps and the walks there are very detailed. The whole walk was well sign posted apart from few places.

Day 1. Ilkley – Buckden / 29 miles

We started in Ilkley at 7am. I expected the worse weather and I told everybody the same. Bit of reverse psychology – everybody was happy as it did not rain at all the first day and we even had some sunshine. The walk was not difficult in elevation. The first day was mostly following river Wharfe and through beautiful places as Bolton Abbey and villages like Burnsall (where we stopped for a coffee), Grassington and Kettlewell. We ended our day in Bucked in sleeping pods and after few pints we all slept like babies. You can easily get some food and water in the villages, there are all on the way and no detour was needed.

Day 2. Buckden – Sedbergh / 28 miles

We started little bit later at 8am as we knew we do not have to rush as we had good walking pace and we tried to avoid morning rain. Second day we lost one member of our expedition, but we gained another one who decided to join us for one day – I always joke that 20% loss is allowed (when I organized walks for our CZE/SVK hiking group) – but this time guys took it literally. But that is a different story. 🙂 From Buckden the walk was amazing as we could see all peaks from Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge – luckily this time we did not have to go up. We all worn our heavier waterproof walking boots which we all hate and it made our life (and walk) bit harder. The day was lovely again with bit of rain, but then beautiful sunset followed. The second day was the day with highest elevation, but it was just about 500m. And we stayed in Sedbergh, so the vision of beer and hot food was good enough. The accommodation in Sedbergh was bit more expensive then the pods in Buckden as all we needed really was to get shower and bed, but there was not many options to chose from. There were not many places on the way on the second day, if you would need any supplies. You could walk to Dent, but that was not as far from Sedbergh.

Day 3. Sedbergh – Bowness-on-Windermere / 26 miles

The last part of the walk was leaving Sedbergh and Yorkshire dales to Bowness-on-Windermere in Lake district. We did leave again just after 7am as we ended up going to shop to buy some food. The day started lovely with amazing views of Howgill Fells and many viaducts on the way. Some parts were following the motorway which was bit noisy. But the last 10 miles was just walk in the rain. Little bit of hint there – Yorkshire was lovely all the way through. So we actually just put our heads down and walked. We managed to finish in very good time and for a change in a pub for some needed beer and food.

The whole walk was combination of paths, roads and fields. I would say pretty well signposted. In some parts there was no signal – not as great if somebody is joining you on the walk and you need to tell them, where exactly you are.

How Much Water Should You Carry When Backpacking And Trekking

It’s always a bit depressing when you have nailed a healthy base weight on your pack, complete with

your trimmed toothbrush, and ultralight sleeping bag, only to put another 2kg in your bag of water.

Yet, water is essential for survival, and we need to drink regularly to avoid sunstroke, dehydration, and a range of other unpleasantries.

I’m not going to suggest the formula to how much water to carry, as this would vary depending on where you are walking. Influencing factors could include, age, weather, sweat rate, body type, and how strenuous the trail is

However, as a guide, a half-liter of water per hour is a good starting point.

In this article, I will lay out how to prepare for water, how to carry water, and how to find water
on the trail.

Water prep

First, lets talk about bottles.

Take yourself down to any outdoor shop and you will find a wide range of bottles, from Nalogen flasks to soft flasks and bladders.

All are fine to use, and your bottle of choice will really depend on how you wish to travel.

The choices of the bottle, with pros and cons, generally tend to be:

Hard bottles, such as Nalogen (plastic) and stigg (metal)

Pros: They are tough as nails. You can scratch, puncture and drop these bottles and they are unlikely to bleed the wet stuff.
Cons: They are heavy…

Bladders, such as playtapus, and camelback

Pros: They fit neatly in your bag, close to your back and can be accessed easily with a straw.
Cons: When they leak, they can ruin your day

Softflask such as …..

Pros: They weigh very little
Cons: They won’t last as long as other bottles

The other option is a smart water bottle. You know the ones. Pair this with a sawyer water filter, which screws on top, and you have yourself an ultralight refillable bottle.

Testing your gear

Having a pre-hike shakedown, especially if you are not yet sure on the best setup for your needs is strongly advised.

Planning refills

If you are not planning to carry a filter, which will vastly improve your ability to collect water from a range of sources (stream, resivour etc), then I strongly suggest having a water plan.

by this I mean, at least spend 20 minutes checking possible refil stops on route. This can include towns, where it will be obvious where you can fill up, shops and supermarkets, water fountains, and campsites. Bascially, having a list, or markers on a map of possible refil oppoortunities allows you to keep your water topped up. For well populated long distance trails (Thames Path for example) this is less of an issue, but for routes like the Pennine Way, or West Highland Way I strongly suggest a bit of planning ahead.

Carrying Water

When carrying water you need to make sure its actually accessable.

Bladders by their nature are designed to be accessable with a straw being available by your mouth at all times – perfect for frequent sipping.

Softflasks are also great if paired with a bag which allows you to holster bottles at the front since they can be accessed without any difficulty

Bigger bottles like a nalogen or sigg tend to get stashed at the back of your bag where the water bottle pockets are big enough to take them.

A Handpicked Selection Of The Best Short And Easy Long-Distance Walks, UK.

(Cover photo credit: Jeremy Segrott)

Ticking off long distance hikes is addictive, but often difficult to do as many take a week, or more to walk. For a lot of people, especially in their 30s – 50’s this kind of time isn’t available. Our list of Easy Long-Distance Walks, UK, will certainly wet your tastebuds for some weekend adventures.

Not surprisingly, it can take some hikers years to walk the whole of the South West Coast Path, and after you are done, you could have walked 20 smaller trails.

So why not walk smaller trails over weekends? You get the benefit from traveling to all corners of the UK, AND you get to tick off a high volume of high quality trails.

In this case, where there is quantity, there is also quality! 

But where to start? Here of course, with our 12 smaller trails for weekend trail ticking (note, some trails made need 3-4 days, but you get the idea).

Ok! Lets begin with our list of of the best short and easy Long-Distance Walks, UK.

Three Castles Path (England)

For those who live in the big smoke (London) the Three Castles Path will certainly be of tempting allure. 

This long distance route is only 60 miles, and offers easy walking through peaceful countryside, from Winchester to Windsor. The route is inspired by a 13th century journey of King John between WIndsor Castle and WInchester, via the castle he erected near Odiham. 

You can find out more on the Three Castles Path website.

Ceredigion Coast Path

If the Pembrokeshire coast path has either been a) completed or b) deemed too long for your busy schedule, then the Ceredigion coast path will certainly appeal.

Starting at St Dogmaels, the start or finish of the PCP, the Ceredigion Coast Path travels 60 miles further north along the Wales Coast Path, offering views of Snowdonia in the North and Pembrokeshire in the south. Much like the Pembrokeshire Coast Path expect stunning views, lots of wildlife, and probably more coastline to yourself as you walk. 

You can find out more on the Discover Ceredigion website.

Millers Way

Dropping by the Lakes any time soon?

Fancy ticking off a long distance trail? Look no further than the Miller’s Way. This 51 mile walk stretching between Kendal and Carlisle was created by Carr’s Breadmaker commemorating the businesses 175th anniversary. Ohhhhh that’s why it’s called the Millers Way. Nice.

The route follows the journey made by Quaker Miller, Jonathan Dodgson Carr, who founded Carr’s flour in Carlisle.

You can find out more on the Visit Eden website.

Wanderlust Way

Created by the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Rambling Club, the Wanderlust way is a short 20 mile long route originally named The Bradley 20. However it was renamed to commemorate the founder of the Wanderlust Rambling CLub, Nev COle. 

The route follows a waymarked circular route, in the Lincolnshire Wolds area of outstanding natural beauty.

You can find out more on the Wanderlust Rambling Club website.

Gowar Way

The Gowar Peninsular is a very pretty piece of countryside close to the less pretty town of Swansea in South Wales. The Gower Way runs 35 miles from Rhossili at the SW of the Gower Peninsula through to Penlle’r Castell at the other end. 

Expect varied geology and a range of scenery, despite the lack of distance. For all the beauty of the Wales Coast Path, and none of the busyness of Pembrokeshire (for example).

You can find out more on the Visit Swansea Bay website.

Coleridge Way

The Coleridge Way, inspired by the late Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was inspired by the somerset countryside and hills of Exmoor.
This 34 mile route from Nether Stowy to Exford takes you through varied and interesting landscape, with view over the coastline looking into Wales.

You can find out more on the Visit Exmoor website.

Viking Coastal Trail

if you believe Valhalla awaits at your end, the Viking Coastal Trail awaits. This is actually a cycle route but by its nature makes for easy walking. Explore 32 miles of coastline and inland Kent exploring Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

The route draws inspiration from the Romans, saints and saxons who draw their inspiration from the area.

You can find out more on the Explore Kent website.

Diamond Way

You are probably familiar with the Cotswold Way. But have you ever heard of the Diamon Way long distance route?

The Diamond Way starts, and ends in the Cotswold village of Moreton-in-Marsh, and offers a quieter adventure than the Cotswold Way following imaginative routes through Gloucestershire. 

The route is 65 miles in length, so can easily be done over a 4 day trip by most.

You can find out more on the LDWA website.

West Devon Way

Going back to Dartmoor, we have the West Devon Way – a 37 mile walk, which goes from Okehampton to Plymouth. The route is also formulated around the use of public transport!

This waymarked route is easy to follow, with a few harder to navigate moorland sections.

You can find out more on the Visit Dartmoor website.

Romans and Reivers Route

 The 52 mile Romans and Reivers route follows old roman Roads, forests and lanes through the Reivers country. The route is very up and down, providing a bit of challenge, and is in a quiet part of Britain, giving you a feeling that you are in the middle of nowhere for much of the trip. 

You can find out more on the Scotland’s Great Trails website.

Three Lochs Way

If a mixture of craggy mountains, and lochs takes your fancy, then the Three Lochs Way is certainly worth your attention. The route crosses the Highland Boundary Fault, and winds towards the mountains of the Southern Highlands.  Expect a fascinating journey through the beautiful Scottish countryside, over 34 miles.

You can find out more on the Three Lochs Way website.

Cateran Trail

The Cateran Trail is a waymarked 103km long distance trail which travels through Perthshire and the Angus glens. This is an ideal route for a weekend break, not only for its length, but also because its circular meaning you can start, and finish at any point along the route.

The trail can comfortably be walked in five days or less and follows old drove roads, tracks and a mixture of terrain including farmland, moorland and forest plantations. The trail is named after the Caterans – cattle thieves from the middle ages.

You can find out more on the Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust website.

How to long distance hike if you are time poor

Perhaps you are like me, frequently daydreaming of time on the trail, away from kids, stress, surrounded by nature, and good trail vibes.

Your dreams are then interrupted by the clashing and banging of kids bouncing around the house on a rainy day, and yet it’s only 11 am. Another 9 hours until bedtime and another day away from the trail slips by.

If you are a parent, you feel my pain. I love my kids unconditionally and I’m happy with my choice to be a father, yet as a parent, the desire for solo outside time never fades.

When you pair up a busy and active family life, with full-time work, commutes, keeping a house in order, trying to be a good parent/partner, and keeping a social life alive, there is often little time left for anything else.

But what about that most time-consuming passion of yours – distance hiking? Why could I not have picked gardening as my hobby…

What time is left to indulge in the stress-free joys of the trail? Where do you fit it in?

I’ve battled with this, and still battle with it as time goes on and my kids grow up (they are only little still) but I have gained some perspective.

I feel parents often fall into two categories with kids:

  1. They go too far and hardly ever engage with their kids or family by getting away with every opportunity, missing the all-important here and now with kids. I think this is a shame as it deprives kids of their parents.
  2. They don’t get out at all, building resentment for a lack of personal space and free time. I fell into this category

My answer to this is finding a sweet spot in the middle between overindulgence at all costs and simply not having a life.

But how can you get your nature fix with kids? Here are my suggestions.

Plan ahead

No, don’t get your maps out at this point. Plan ahead with your family. Let your spouse know that you want to get away, and block it out in the calendar.

Want to get good brownie points? Suggest that they get to go away a different weekend, or better still, see if your kiddies can be left with a friend/relative for a night while you hit the trail together.

Walk trails in sections

Section Hiking, as it’s called is walking long-distance trails in sections. For time-strapped walkers, it’s often far easier to do it this way than to walk trails in long stints.

This is easier done with two people, and two cars, so aren’t going to win any safe-the-planet points, but it does allow you to eat bite-sized chunks of a trail.

Embrace the Micro Adventure

The term Micro Adventure was coined by Alistair Humphreys back in 2009 and is an excellent way of getting yourself outside on mini-adventures that are fulfilling and memorable.
For long-distance hikers that could include:
Walking somewhere local, camping for the night, then rising early and walking home
Finding somewhere nice to camp for a night, with a good view
Simply getting out for a walk, but adding some interest, such as a wild swim at the end of your hike or some outdoor cooking

Take the kids

For the brave – take your children. Camping with young kids is hard work so depending on your patience levels, and the amount of stuff you want to take, the B&B and hostel option may be best.
But taking the kids on a long-distance hike can be hugely rewarding experience.

I hope there are some ideas and thoughts above which help you to find more time doing the thing you love – long distance hiking.
If you have any ideas don’t hesitate to put them in the comments and I’ll be happy to add them in!

A fresh start for retired outdoor gear

Fran is a single mum enjoys sharing her love for the outdoors with her two kids. Together they hike, camp, and wild swim.

One day, Frans kids bring home a kit list for a scouting event. As a low income family, Fran was lucky that while in work she had previously got together much of the kid needed but began to wonder how others may not have this luxury.

Fran considered that not having kit or the means to affort it can be a real barrier to accessing the outdoors. Missing out on the physical and psycholical benefits of the outdoors simply because of a low income and lack of resoruces seemed such a shame, and hence Kitsquad was born.

Fran approached me recently asking to share Kitsquad on our community page. I’m always excited by, and open to innovation and had to learn more about this up and coming charity/nonprofit.

So without further delay, here is a Q&A with Fran, from Kitsquad.

How did the idea of Kitsquad come about?

My children both attend scouts and they came home with their kit lists for scout camp. We had everything on the list already, as being outdoors is what we choose to do for our family time.

I had to give up a full time salary 6 years ago to become a full time family member, losing that income and becoming reliant on benefits was tough and absolutely not part of my life plan. I would not have been able to afford the items on the kit list, had we not already had the gear to hand.

This got me thinking that there must be families out there that are unable to afford this and their children are missing out on these opportunities as a result.

Since the scheme has started, I’ve supplied gear to many people, including items to enable young people to complete scout camps and DofE expeditions. No one is excluded from benefiting from the scheme, as long as they are classed as low income.

As a family, we are very aware of the impact people are having on our planet and we try to minimise our carbon footprint where we can. A great way to do this is to recycle. This scheme shares that same ethos.

As far as I’m aware, there is no other nationwide scheme that supplies adventure gear to low income individuals in the whole of the UK.

Where do your donations typically come from?

I receive donations mainly from individuals who have found they have items that have become surplus to their requirements.

Until recently, I have been operating the scheme on word of mouth, only just publicly launching Kitsquad in January 2022.

The scheme has dramatically grown in this short space of time, confirming there really is a need for it.

As a result of this growth and a clear need for adventure gear, I am currently contacting companies, that make the kind of kit the scheme needs, to see if they would be willing to support us by donating slightly damaged goods that cannot be sold on, but their original purpose is not compromised.

As it stands though, this scheme wouldn’t operate without the incredible individual donations folk send in. They are the real heroes here, I am just the person in the middle that completes the logistics.

Describe the logistics behind getting donations back to you, refurbishing them, and getting them ready for gifting to those who need them?

The concept is quite simple. People donate gear, it’s sent to me. Once received, it’s logged, checked, cleaned, and reproofed (if needed).

I am currently operating this scheme from home, so having a quick turnover helps me cope with the minimum amount of storage that I have here.

Washing and cleaning clothing and boots and shoes are done at home.

Sleeping bags and garments requiring more specialist cleaning are taken to my local laundrette / dry cleaners.

Probably the most challenging task I have is turning the donated tents around. This is easy in the warmer months when I can put them up, check them, and reproof them in the garden. Over the winter months, this is proving a challenge, as I lack the room indoors to do this.

Whilst I was operating this scheme solely on word of mouth, I would typically receive 2-3 parcels a week of donations and would be sending out a similar number of parcels every week to recipients.

Since the scheme was officially and publicly launched in January 2022, I am tripled the number of parcels going out to recipients, with many more requests for gear and pledges of donations coming in daily.

The quality of the donations continues to be of a very good standard. My local delivery drivers have been very busy!

Once the recipient has received the donation, that is theirs to keep. Though I do request that if they find it has become of no further use to them for whatever reason, its re-gifted back to the scheme for someone else to use.

I cover the whole of the UK

Who receives your donations?

The only requirement my beneficiaries have is that they must be low-income. This scheme is targeting people on benefits, whether that’s universal credit, tax credits or unemployment benefits.

The best thing about hiking, wild camping, and wild swimming is that it’s free, but to participate in these pastimes safely does come with a certain amount of personal responsibility.

One of the responsible aspects is having the necessary and correct gear, with appropriate clothing and footwear being the obvious example.

The benefits to physical and mental health through being in the great outdoors are well documented and everyone should be encouraged to do this.

This scheme aims to remove the financial barrier that could stop someone from reaping the health benefits of being in nature.

I should point out at this point, I do not supply community groups as a whole with gear, I operate purely on an individual level. There are schemes out there that do support community groups and I would be happy to pass on their details if required. However, if a teacher, scout leader, or equivalent wants to liaise with Kitsquad on behalf of one of their service users, this can be accommodated too.

Do you have any stories for recipients of the donations and how it has impacted them?

I have also provided an entire kit list for a person, who had found herself becoming reliant on benefits (not unlike myself) and she was participating in a fundraising trek to Everest Base Camp. This was a huge expedition and I’m so pleased Kitsquad was a contributing factor that allowed her to complete this. I have to point out though, that many requests are from people who want to engage in more micro adventures local to them, Adventures big or small, Kitsquad will try its best to accommodate.

The details of beneficiaries of Kitsquad are kept confidential.

What are your ambitions for the project?

There is currently no other scheme like this that covers the whole of the UK. So this little project that started at home in my lounge has the opportunity to become pioneering in its field.

There is clearly a great need for this scheme and I really believe that it has the potential to be huge. I am currently writing grant applications and I am hoping that as the scheme continues to grow, I am able to move into more suitable premises, with more storage facilities.

My aim over the next year is to move this scheme from a not-for-profit community scheme to a registered charity.

This will enable Kitsquad to continue to grow and to support more people getting outdoors and having great adventures.

What gear to you need? Is there any adventure gear you wont accept and what is your most requested items?

Imagine yourself going on an adventure and then have a think of what kit you might need to enable you to complete that adventure. This is the kit we need. A more comprehensive list is on the Kitsquad Facebook page. It is not a complete list, with anything being considered.

The most requested items are walking boots, rucksacks, waterproof trousers and waterproof jackets

How can readers get hold of Kitsquad?

Kitsquad can be found on Facebook

The email address is: kitsquadsecondhandgear@gmail.com

Phone, text or WhatsApp: 07385204692

There’s something about these Coast Walkers

When I first discovered this long-distance hiking scene of ours, I noticed a trend.

Coast Walkers.

Here were individuals, posting about their coast walks online, most of whom were raising money for charity, and using social media to support their endeavors.

I was, like the thousands of followers each had attracted, enthralled by their commitment.

I was also somewhat perplexed as to how they found the time to embark on this walk.

I was curious, and if I’m being honest, somewhat jealous.

The latter feeling has passed, since I’ve realized at this point in my life I am enjoying the comforts of home and the busyness of my two children.

Still, the curiosity remained, and so I started digging a little deeper.

What I discovered was a cohort of ordinary folks, who had made a simple choice – to stop delaying what is important to them. A choice that is often coupled with a change of circumstance. That circumstance was turned into an opportunity, and that opportunity, action.

So here we have, ordinary folks, temporarily living extra-ordinary lives.

Without further ado, here is my round-up of Coastal Walkers.

Chris the Coast Walker

Chris Howard is probably the Coast walker who I’ve had the most to do with, and the joy of speaking on multiple occasions. Chris is walking in support of Children In Need. 

Chris has attracted a dedicated following due to his honesty, and gratitude for the support he receives while on the trail. Chris somehow finds the time to blog while on the trail, which has really helped to engage his followers on Social Media and to bring them along with him as he walks the UK Coastline. 

Find Chris on Facebook

View his webpage

Walk with me, Tracey and Aggies Epic hike around the UK Coastline

I’ve really enjoyed following Tracy online as she walks around the UK Coastline. Much like Chris, she is filled with honesty and brings you along with her every step of the way.

She shares a lot on social media from the highlights to the lowlights and really doesn’t gloss over the hard times. 

Tracey is raising money for Mind charity and is really open about mental health which can often be seen through her poems which she frequently shares on her page.

Find Tracey on Facebook

Chris and Moose’s Waggy Walk

I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris on the first episode of the Distance Hiker podcast. Chris started walking the Coast Path with his dog Moose pre-pandemic and is very much walking the Coastline in stages in between work commitments. 

What I particularly enjoyed about Chris’ story is that he very much took a change of circumstance and saw in that an opportunity to do something he had been wanting to do.

When Chris is on the trail you will frequently see him doing video updates on his Facebook page to keep his followers in the loop. 

Find Chris on Facebook

View his webpage

Chris and Jet

Chris, Jet (his dog) and sometimes Chris’ partner Kate (who you can also follow here!) has gained a lot of attention while walking the UK Coastline. Chris started out from Swansea to raise money for SSAFA (Armed forces Charity), but since adopted his dog (Jet), found live (Kate), and now has a baby on the Way. 

Chris’s story really quite lovely and how it’s played out so far is worthy of a movie deal in my opinion (I’m sure Chris would hate that idea), but you get the picture. 

Find Chris on Facebook

Jim Morton – I may be gone a while

Jim Morton, supported by his wife Sue in his motorhome, is walking all of the Mainland Britain Coastline. Jim, a retired Royal Navy Veteran, is in his 60’s averaging 20 miles daily. 

Jim’s inspiration for his walk was sparked in 1967 when he watched a show about lighthouses dotted on Britain’s coastline. He then vows to visit them all and is finally achieving that dream while raising money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust. 

Find Jim on Facebook

Christine Saul – Yappy Hikers 

Christine Saul, who is from Matlock is another of our Coastal Walkers, also, like others above walking with a pooch Gino in tow. 

Christine is raising money for the Yappy Ever Dog Rescue and is taking a career break from the head of Customer Services at a Contours Walking Holidays (plug!) to do it.

Find Christine on Facebook 

My Legs Hurt – Emma

If you want a perfectly honest and rather entertaining account of what its like to walk the perimeter of the UK then Emma is worth your attention. 

This snippet, stolen from Emma’s site sums up her experience; 

“You might be wondering why I’m doing this, and the honest answer is I don’t really know. It’s not for anything meaningful like charity, I don’t even particularly like walking, and I have no fond memories of camping”

Visit her webpage

The Penny Rolls On – Karen Penny

Karen Penny completed her walk-in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK last year, raising over £107,000! 

The walk took Karen two and a half years, and in addition to walking the mainland coastline, Karen also found time to walk 1100 islands as part of her journey, 

Find Karen on Facebook

Daniel McNeil’s walk around Britain

Daniel McNeil, a former soldier, is walking to raise money from SSAFA. Daniel, who is 25-years-old wants to give something back to the charity after is helped him when he left Royal Artillery Regiment in 2017.

The idea for Daniel to walk the coastline was conceived when he was struggling with his mental health during lockdown. He sold everything he owned, and the rest is history

Find Daniel on Facebook

Tony Urwin – Closer to the Edge

Tony Urwin frequently posts his progress on UK Long Distance Hiking and started his coastal walk by tacking the Saxon Shore Way in 2020. He hasn’t stopped since finishing” 

As part of his early retirement, Tony is walking the coastline a little differently to some, walking for 5 days, then having 9 days at home. 

Tony writes a compelling daily blog on his website complete with some pretty breathtaking photos. 

View his Webpage

Walking the Cotswold Way with a Ruptured Disk

“Here we were walking the Cotswold Way, laughing a lot, and enjoying every minute whilst meeting some amazing people but had we listed to the doctors she’d still be in bed feeling sorry for herself.”

When my wife Jo ruptured her L5S1 disc in February 2021 she was immediately paralysed and left bedbound.  Both A&E and her GP said, “it’s sciatica, it’ll take you 6 – 9 months to recover.”  

We thought that walking was over for us for the rest of the year but fortunately her sister pointed her to a chiropractor.  

Seeing her twice a week, the chiropractor had Jo hobbling on crutches by the end of March.  It began with 50 paces, then 100 paces and so on.  

On 19 April it was a whole mile on the flat on the top of Leckhampton Hill, which is part of the Cotswold Way trail.  And then she was just using one crutch and then no crutches. 

Recovery on The Cotswold Way

We decided to see if we could manage to walk the 102 miles of the Cotswold Way path.  We knew it would take a lot of planning because much as Jo was walking, she couldn’t drive her car and so we had to manage the walk using one car and doing short circular or there and back walks.  

This meant that much as the Cotswold Way is 102 miles, we walked nearer to 180 miles to complete the walk.   

On the days we couldn’t get out walking Jo was able to research the routes to find shortcuts back to the car and places to park.  

One trick we learned was to move the car from the starting point to a mid-way point.  This meant that we did two short there and back walk a day with a good break in the middle of it.  

We also became experts at spotting places where we could park the car for free. Over the 23 walks we spent just £4 to park in Broadway 

We set off from Chipping Campden on 8 June 2021 hoping to walk as far as Broadway Tower but with several ‘escape’ routes if it was too much.  

We made it and took a shortcut to the car in Chipping Campden by avoiding Dover’s Hill on the way back.  

We walked a total of 7 miles that day and our pace was just under 1.5mph but the euphoria of being out walking was exhilarating.  

By the time we walked into Bath on 25 August we were managing 12 miles a day and averaging just over 2mph.  It took us 23 walks in total, although that included some very short evening walks and an extra Cotswold Way loop taking in Selsley Common near Stroud.  

We also took two bus journeys.  The first from Dursley to Coaley Peak to walk back to Dursley, and then from Wootton under Edge back to Dursley having walked to Wootten from Dursley. 

What gear Jo used on the Cotswold Way

Jo did the whole walk in a pair of Reiker sandals because they were the most comfortable footwear for her back.  Walking poles were essential to help with balance and support too.  

I carried her walking boots in my rucksack just in case we came across terrain she couldn’t manage in her sandals.  Going through muddy patches was hysterical with Jo tip-toeing and trying to avoid mud and puddles whilst I just stomped straight through the quagmires without a care in the world.  

She started off with a small rucksack which we joked only carried a lipstick and nail file (it had her water bottle in it) but we quickly realised that even at about 1kg the rucksack was too much and she soon stopped taking it and everything was put into my rucksack. 

Joe wasn’t alone with her back injury

We met numerous people who had similar back injuries and their stories seemed so similar.  Some had had disc operations, some physiotherapy, but they all said the same thing.  

At the end of the day, it was walking that really helped their sciatic back problems.  Right at the beginning, the chiropractor had said to Jo to walk through the pain and he was so right.  

Here we were walking the Cotswold Way, laughing a lot, and enjoying every minute whilst meeting some amazing people but had we listed to the doctors she’d still be in bed feeling sorry for herself. 

We also met numerous walkers doing the Cotswold Way in 5 – 7 days, often wild camping, and we were a little envious of their adventure.  

We simply cannot carry the gear to wild camp or do overnight stops at the moment, but it is a goal we are aiming for.  

However, our slow walking pace and short distances mean that we can stop to absorb a view or explore a church or village and take lots of photographs.  

Our challenge for 2022 is to do the Ridgway, although the Coast to Coast, West Highland Way, and Offa’s Dyke are on our radar too when we get a bit fitter.  

We will be using the Windrush Way, Warden’s Way and parts of the Cotswold Way as our training walking over the winter and in the spring hope to be out on the Ridgeway, covid permitting. 

The Yorkshire Dales Top 10

The Yorkshire Dales Top 10 is an unofficial route that encompasses the top 10 mountains of the Yorkshire Dales. It does so by starting and finishing in Hawes and covers about 79 miles. The trail itself is quite challenging and often cuts across moorland and up steep embankments.

I decided to depart on the trail In January 2022 with the aim of doing it over 3-4 days.

The mountains the trail covers are (in order of Height):

  1. Whernside – 736m
  2. Ingleborough – 724m
  3. Great Shunner Fell – 716m
  4. High Seat – 709m
  5. Wild Boar Fell – 708m
  6. Great Whernside – 704m
  7. Buckden Pike 702m
  8. Gregory Chapel 695m
  9. Pen-Y-Ghent – 694m
  10. Hugh Seat – 689m

I did these in a slightly different order which I’ll cover below.

Day 1

I started the day early morning, parking my car in Hawes. I put my boots on and hit the trail heading along the Pennine way towards Hardraw. Once there I began my ascent up the third highest peak of Great Shunner Fell.

The trail is well marked at this point and is a case of following the Pennine Way to the summit. It isn’t too challenging as it covers about 4 miles before the summit. The weather was shining bright, and the views were amazing as I travelled at a leisurely pace along the flagstones. Considering it was January, it wasn’t too boggy, and I found it easy going.

At the summit I was feeling fresh and enjoyed the amazing views, I sat and aired my feet out and took the time to eat some food. A couple of other guys came and chilled with me, they were doing another trail and we enjoyed a good conversation before they headed back down as one had lost his car keys on the ascent.

Next for me was a Western path along an unmarked area and across the open hill and moorland towards Hugh Seat, High Seat and Gregory Chapel.

I descended a couple of hundred metres and had to traverse some very rough ground with no discernible path available. I managed to avoid most of the heavy bog and peat soil erosion areas before ascending Gregory Chapel and then onto High Seat. I realized on my way back past Gregory Chapel, that I had missed Hugh Seat.

Luckily it was a short way off the unmarked path I was already following along a riverbed. I decided on taking the direct route straight up the hill and to High Seat, simple right!


As always with a Mike shortcut, it went tragically wrong and turned out to be a terrible decision, and one that I paid for.

As I was hiking down a section before the final ascent, I noticed a flat patch of sphagnum moss and thought to myself, this looks like an ideal place to pitch my tent. I should have thought to myself why would there be a perfectly flat section on a hill. Unfortunately, I didn’t, and I stepped well above my waist with momentum carrying me forward into a Sphagnum bog. Luckily, I managed to stop myself from submerging completely with my hiking pole, but this changed my whole trip.

After dragging myself out of the bog and having an angry spat I calmed and assessed my situation. I decided that as it was winter, and my boots were now soaked along with all the clothes I had on, it was best to take a long tiring walk back to the car and switch out my gear for trail runners and my spare clothes in the pack.

I finished ascending Hugh Seat and set back along the open moorland towards the side of Great Shunner Fell. It was slow going but the views were absolutely amazing and as much as I was cold and wet, I enjoyed the tough ground and made sure not to repeat my mistake.

I finally found a farmers track that led through Cotterdale and I was able to follow a small trail back to the Pennine way just before Hardraw.

The section from Hardraw to Hawes was tough on my feet and the wet boots were taking their toll on them. I could feel the blisters bubbling now and knew that I wouldn’t be able to complete the route as I had hoped and so would have to adapt my plan.

Once back at the car I changed out my clothes and reassessed my situation and what I would do.

Ultimately, I decided on car camping and driving to the mountains, with the aim of completing each of the remaining 6 as fast as possible.

I scored some pub food and then drove over to Wild Boar fell which would be my 5th on the trail and slept the night in my car near the base.

Day 2

I woke up early and decided to hit Wild Boar fell with a vengeance, I think I was just taking my frustration out on the incline and summited within an hour. The views were amazing on the way up and it looked like a mini version of the Matterhorn from the route I had taken.

Once at the top I spotted some cool cairns and had to take a small detour to check them out. So glad I did as they were beautiful and so unusual in their layout. I chilled at the top enjoying the beautiful sunshine before heading over to the trig point which marks the highest point.

I decided to have a little run back down and was making good time until I took a bit of a tumble and rolled a good 15m downhill across the frozen ground. Luckily, the only thing damaged was my pride. I opted for a brisk walk back down after that and quickly found myself back at the car with 5 out of 10 ticked off.

I decided to assault Whernside next and parked at the legendary Ribblehead viaduct. Unfortunately, once over the pass from Hawes Whernside and Ingleborough were completely steeped in clouds making the area seem very formidable.

I made my way up Whernside following the Yorkshire 3 peaks route which was very familiar to me from the Dales High Way. I made quick time and considering the weather, the trail was still busy. As I got higher, the wind became strong and was absolutely freezing against my skin. I pulled my hood tight and pressed on, I soon found myself above the cloud base and the views were spectacular as the clouds rolled over the mountains and hills in the distance. I soon summitted and enjoyed a little rest bite before snapping a couple of pics.

I could make out the peak of Ingleborough as the cloud base ascended over the top which was brilliant to see. I quickly descended towards Chapel-le-Dale and made my way along the path towards Ingleborough.

I met an awesome lady who I spent 5 minutes chatting to, she was leading her friends back down from Ingleborough and told me the views were amazing up top. This boosted my spirits and abated my fatigue as I was able to make my way up the steep scramble before the summit. I spent some time here, watching the clouds roll over the hills around me and felt truly blessed to have witnessed it.

I made my way to the summit of Ingleborough and chilled at the top speaking to people who were sat up there.

After a while I decided that I had best start heading back down and chose to opt for a descent via Simon and Park fell. The route was straight forward and followed a very steep section along a wall down to the road near to where I had parked the car.

I debated heading over to Pen-Y-Ghent but my stomach decided against it and I made a night of it at the Station inn, where I spent the night in the bunkhouse.

Day 3

I woke up before dawn and set off towards Pen-Y-Ghent which would be my 8th mountain out of the 10. I decided on taking the less severe route up as it was icy and I wasn’t sure about the scramble near the top. The path was lit with the beautiful shine from the moonlight and It was almost as if the great moon goddess herself was guiding me. I was feeling very fatigued by this point and had pains and groans in most parts of my body but I pushed onwards regardless.

As I ascended I could see the faint glow from the coming sunrise and hoped I could outpace the light to the summit. Luckily, when I reached the trig point at the top I was in luck and I got to witness a beautiful sunrise that lit up Great Whernside like a beacon.

I chilled here for a little stretch before making a quick descent down the Pennine Way and into Horton in Ribblesdale.

My next and 9th peak was to be Buckden Pike which I’ve not summited before. I parked in the carpark and noticed how much colder it was here in comparison to Pen-Y-Ghent. I made haste as I knew the ascent and pace would warm me considerably.

As I went up I noted how remote it felt in this area considering I was crossing farmland. The path was frozen which aided me and kept me from getting wet feet. As I ascended I met a guy who was building one of the dry stone walls that are dotted around the Dales. I stopped and watched him for a good ten minutes as I was mesmerized by his swiftness and skill before carrying on my way upwards.

The path was getting ever steeper and I knew I wasn’t far off the summit now, so I carried on slowly. I reached the summit absolutely shattered but knowing I only had 1 peak remaining.

I watched the sky from the summit almost hypnotised by the rolling clouds that formed such pretty shapes, thinking I was literally in them the day before whilst summiting Ingleborough and Whernside.

I made quick work of my descent and soon found myself back in the carpark ready for the final challenge of my trip.

I parked up in Kettlewell and made a very hasty and steep ascent of Great Whernside. I thought I was ready for a direct attack but man was it steep.

I followed an unnamed stream all the way to the summit which was tough going and slower than I would have liked as my legs were completely shattered by this point.

I could hear my heartbeat in my ears and a quick check of my watch showed it hitting well over 180bpm but I persevered nonetheless, slowly making my way up the steep embankment. Eventually I reached the summit and was greeted by a group of people who looked surprised by the route I had taken up. I had a quick chat and told them I’d done all 10 peaks now and they snapped a pic of me atop the trig point which turned out well.

I left them and descended via the route I had taken up. It didn’t take half as long and I was down within a short period and soon finished with my peak bagging trip.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the highs and lows of my trip and even though it didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped, I enjoyed every second of it and wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

Remember to tap me up on Instagram if you want to follow more of my trips @pack_backer

Peace out and happy trails.

Have you heard of the Snowdonia Slate Trail?

Published on behalf of the Snownonia Slate Trail

This 83-mile trail takes you on a journey back in time when Snowdonia was the centre of the
slate industry. While experiencing the haunting, and maybe sad beauty of this abandoned
industrial heritage, now a World Heritage Site, the Snowdonia Slate Trail walker will also
have the opportunity to walk past working quarries while the National Slate Museum of
Wales and a number of slate-related attractions are also visited.

This Trail is also a joy for narrow gauge railway enthusiasts and visits the Penrhyn Quarry
railway, Llanberis Lake Railway, Snowdon Mountain Railway, the Welsh Highland Light
Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway.

But this Trail is not just about the slate industry and its railways. It visits less-frequented,
but beautiful, parts of Snowdonia, passing through all the major mountain ranges, offering a
range of experiences from mountain to forest, lake to river, from the valley to the sea. All
along the trail are fascinating things to be seen and experienced. From small sleepy villages
to the honey pots of Llanberis and Betws y Coed, this trail provides a wealth of variety.

Route Description

The route starts at Port Penrhyn, on the outskirts of Bangor, and follows the Lon Las Ogwen
cycle path and North Wales Path for a while, before following field paths, farm tracks and
country lanes to arrive in the large slate village of Bethesda, which lies beneath the vast
slate tips of Penrhyn Quarry.

Crossing the River Ogwen, the route continues along field paths and tracks to Mynydd
Llandegai, a remote hill village which lies just above Llanberis, the next destination. In
Llanberis, the National Slate Museum can be visited for free or the train to the summit of
Snowdon can be taken at rather more cost. Alternatively, take a full day out and walk it.

From Llanberis, the route climbs over to Waunfawr, across little frequented moorlands,
passing many abandoned slate quarries. This scenery continues to Dyffryn Nantlle where
the village is dominated by slate tips and sinister flooded slate workings. Continuing
between the steep cliffs of Mynydd Mawr on the left and the Nantlle Ridge on the right,

Rhyd Ddu is reached, where sustenance and lodgings can be found, as well as a pub. If
you`re lucky, you might just see the huge Garrett double bodied engines of the Welsh
Highland Light Railway pass through.

Through the Beddgelert forest, the trail meanders into Beddgelert itself before negotiating
the beautiful Aberglaslyn Pass, eventually reaching Nantmor. From here, field, forest and
moorland paths take the route to the isolated slate village of Croesor, overshadowed by
Cnicht, the Matterhorn of Wales.

Following old quarry tracks, the trail ascends to the remote and derelict Rhosydd quarry
before descending through the slate spoil heaps to Cwmorthin valley with its ruined village
and chapel. From here, crossing the Ffestiniog Railway, the route continues to the significant
slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog before carrying on by way of Cwm Teigl gorge to Llan
Ffestiniog and its historic community-owned pub, the Pengwern.

Across fields, the impressive and unfrequented gorge of Cwm Cynfal is reached and
followed for some distance before taking to the high and desolate moors of the Migneint
above Cwm Penmachno, which is reached by way of the abandoned Rhiwbach quarry with
its derelict village and slate mills. From Cwm Penmachno, where the drop-in Heritage Centre
can be visited, the trail follows field paths and tracks to Penmachno.

After calling at the café at Conwy Falls, a good path and a quiet lane take you to the hustle
and bustle of Betws y Coed. Following the Llugwy River, past the steeply sloping Miner`s
Bridge, Swallow Falls and the Ugly House, the route takes to the open moors before calling
in at Capel Curig.

From Capel, a broad track takes the trail back into the heart of the mountains at Ogwen
Cottage before continuing along the old highway and Lon Las Ogwen cyclepath. This path is
left to cross the Ogwen once again to finish in Bethesda, the home of slate.

Want to learn more about the Snowdonia Slate Trail? You can visit the website here, or visit the Facebook page here.


Turns out, I’m not a winter walker.

Hibernation isn’t good for getting hike fit, but the shorter days and colder weather make inside much more appealing than outside. With the solstice behind me and a New Year started, I’m ready to get back out there – but with new gear. And what better time to buy new stuff than in the sales?

First stop, a down jacket. That was a mission in itself as I wanted room to fit a fleece underneath and my waterproof coat over the top, but I managed to pick one up in the sales that will do the job

Next up, boots. My Merrell boots are fine until it’s wet underfoot, when they become downright dangerous as they don’t offer any grip. That’s the kind of thing you can’t find out til you’re out walking, so they’ve been relegated until we have better weather and in their place some shiny new Scarpa boots which were a whopping half price in the sale

While I was at it I upgraded my cook set to an Alpkit BruKit, and picked up their Hippo mini water filter at the same time. Not that I’ll need either of these while I’m walking round my local area, but because I’m doing the Cleveland Way later this year – guidebooks/maps were also purchased, including a 1990s Paul Hannon from a charity shop – and I can’t resist a sale

So that’s where we’re at – still middle aged and unfit, but all kitted out and full of enthusiasm. Hike fit will hopefully follow, not the super athletic kind but the not needing mountain rescue or dying on a hill kind