Memorabilia For Long Distance Hiking

To most of us, long distance hiking is a hobby, and even a lifestyle. We often obsess over the next long distance hike, engulf ourselves in its community and subculture.

We also like purchases related to our favourite pastime, including, but not limited to outerwear, camping kit, maps, lots of lovely maps, and anything else which enhances our enjoyment of long distance hiking.

Souvenirs, and reminders of trips are often a wonderful way to jazz up a bookshelf and to remind ourselves of our achievements.

This short guide has been put together by searching for small businesses which make memorabilia for long distance paths. I hope you find something you like here.

Bucket List Prints

Bucket List Prints sells posters of popular locations from around the world, but has a section for National Trails and other long distance paths. The designs are commissioned, and then sold through the website and can be purchased in a variety of sizes, with or without a frame. 

If you want a stunning poster of your favorite long distance trail sat behind your sofa or bed, then look no further than bucket list prints.

Splashmaps

Splashmaps make fabric maps, which are “waterproof, washable and wearable”. They now include a small range of long distance trail maps, such as the Cleveland Way, Thames Path, and Great Glen Way. 

Great for wearing on your head in warm weather to keep the sun and swear off, or using as a lightweight picnic blanket.

Gosshawk

Gosshawk sells a range of hiking and biking t-shirts, and this includes long distance t-shirts. The best bit is that you can contact them for a customised design. For example if you are walking for charity, they can alter the wording, if a t-shirt isn’t in stock it can be printed up on demand.

The Adventure Patch Company

The Adventure Patch company don’t sell long distance hiking specific embroidered patches, but they do sell some for popular challenge walks, such as the  Wainwrights, Welsh 3000’s and the 3 Peaks Challenge. 

These patches are sold either individually or in small batches and need to be sewn onto a bag of your choice. Preferably cotton canvas for maximum retro-vibes.

Trails Shop

The National Trails shop has a great selection of National Trail gifts for long distance hikers from maps, guides and even my favourite – Trail Signs.

If posters, maps, t-shirts and maps were not enough for you, a trail sign may satisfy your appetite for trail souvenirs. 

Note. It’s unethical and somewhat naughty to pinch trail signs on the route. Also, somebody may notice it sticking out of your bag. You can however purchase them from here.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and found it helpful for decorating your house with memories of trails past. Please share with your hiking friends, and if you do purchase, let the companies above know what you were recommended by DistanceHiker.com. Happy Trails

Episode 1: A Walk Around The UK With Chris and Moose

I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris, and Moose for Episode 1 of the Distance Hiker Podcast. Chris took a chance on circumstance and decided to take on a coastal walk around the United Kingdom, starting back in June 2018. In this Podcast, we unpack what it takes to do such an involved walk, not just for himself, but with a large, and very lovely labrador mastiff, named Moose. I hope you enjoy the show with Chris and Moose.

Hadrian’s Wall Path Boutique Itinerary

If you are planning on camping, staying in hostels or bunkhouses while you travel along the Hadrian’s Wall Path over 5 days, this article may not be for you. However, if you are looking for a luxury walking holiday experience along the Hadrian’s Wall walk 5 days itinerary you have come to the right place!

This 5 Day, 6 Night itinerary mixes up challenge with comfort. Take on the Hadrian’s Wall Path, with a daily average mileage of 16 miles, meanwhile, stay in some of the finest accommodations along the route.

I suggest breaking up the route with a few rest days, especially around Gilsland at the halfway mark.

The Itinerary

Travel to Newcastle and enjoy your first nights stay prior to walking Day 1: Wallsend to Heddon-on-the-Wall – Approx 15 miles
Day 2: Heddon-on-the-Wall to Chollerford – Approx 15.5 miles
Day 3: Chollerford to Gilsland – Approx 20 miles
Day 4: Gilsland to Carlisle – Approx 19 miles
Day 5: Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway – Approx 14.5 miles
Onward travel from Bowness-on-Solway

In More Detail:

Travel to Newcastle and enjoy your first nights stay prior to walking

Your first night in Newcastle, with enough forward planning leaves you with a large array of rooms and hotels to choose from. Some are excellent, and some not so. However, you are here for excellence – unique experiences in unique, beautifully presented accommodation.

When in Newcastle, I suggest visiting the Sidney Grove Hotel. This uniquely furnished Scandi-Brit decor hotel oozes quality, charm and city chic. Expect continental or English breakfasts, good links into the city center and en-suites in all rooms.

Walk from Wallsend to Heddon-on-the-Wall

Heddon-on-the-Wall lacks higher-end accommodations and leaves you with a good, yet a not-quite-boutique selection of accommodations. However, we have you covered.

For your stay in Heddon-on-the-Wall, I recommend Close House, which is an 18th Century Mansion (the photo below is the restaurant). The accommodation is outstanding, with marble tiled bathrooms, 24-hour concierge service, separate lounge areas and beautiful grounds to enjoy.

Walk from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Chollerford

James & Emma who run The Coach House Bed & Breakfast has done an excellent job of renovating a period property into a modern accommodation that retains its charm. Big bay windows, spacious room, all with ensuites and subtle yet somehow bold furnishings help to create an excellent accommodation option for walkers wanting to stay in the Chollerford area.

Walk from to Chollerford to Twice Brewed

I wasn’t kidding when I promised a boutique list of B&B for your Hadrian’s Wall Walk. Check out Ashcroft Guest House in Haltwhistle, a short transfer from Twice Brewed, This former Victorian Vicarage rests in 2 acres of grounds and looks over the South Tyne Valley.

The B&B boasts luxury accommodation with elegantly furnished rooms, comfortable beds and a 5 star rating and Visit Britain Gold Award.

Walk from to Lanercost to Carlisle

Ok, I admit that picking a boutique hotel/B&B in Carlisle was tricky. Honestly, I struggled to find a quirky small B&B which is obviously independently owned and had the charm I was seeking. However, I found Willowbeck Lodge, which offers 5 en-suite rooms, 2 with corner baths and each overlooking the B&Bs own lake! The Rooms are wonderfully furnished and the B&B itself is full of interesting architecture and modern charm.

Walk from to Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway

Sadly Bowness-on-Solway has struggled to attract and retain B&Bs over the last few years. Many walkers simply stop here for a celebratory pint before heading back to Carlisle for onward travel.

10 Great Reasons To Buy A National Trust Membership

I’m a huge fan of the National Trust, and I believe that buying a membership for yourself, and your family is a great investment.

Here’s why.

1. You are supporting a great cause

From Protecting the Puffins on Farne Island, to the Otters and Bats at Stackpole. You are helping to protect vulnerable environments by joining the National Trust.

Not only that, but your money also goes into maintaining and improving the properties.

2. Exclusive entry to the best tourist attractions

By joining the National Trust you get unrivaled access to the best UK tourist attractions.

You can enjoy free parking at some of the UK’s best beauty spots and free unlimited entry to any National Trust property.

The attractions are all clean, well maintained and focused on providing you with an excellent day out.

3. The coffee is amazing

Most locations have one of two on-site coffee shops or at least a coffee van. The coffee is always great, so is the cake.

In fact, the coffee alone, along with the discount on the coffee shop your membership gives you is worth it alone.

4. You can keep on going back

The wonderful thing about a National Trust membership is that you can keep on going back.

You can spend all day, every day, from 9 until 5 enjoying as many properties as you can manage to visit, regardless of where they live in the UK.

5. It opens up a whole world of places you never knew existed

Before I purchased my National Trust membership, places which I never considered opened up to me.

Armed with my car sticker, and membership card, a whole world had unfolded.

I would scour the map on the web page for my next visit, checking out its attractions, kids’ play area, what food it served, and what else there is to do.

6. It encourages you to be active

Having access to acres of well-maintained estate is a great way to remain active. Many properties also host weekly park runs, festivals, and frequent sporting events.

But when they are not on, you have some wonderful places to enjoy walking, cycling, swimming, and running.

7. You can have lovely conversations with the volunteers

One of my favorite parts of joining the National Trust has been the volunteers.

Picture this, your walking through a house, and curious about a small detail in a room where no information is available.

Ask your nearest volunteer (they are always close by) about the detail, and you will always get an answer, with extra history which you were not expecting.

The knowledge, interest, and dedication is impressive and is a unique part of being a National Trust member.

8. It's a great way to entertain guests

Do you have guests visiting? Not sure what to do with them, or where to take them. Fear not, a National Trust visit is a great way to entertain guests, for all the reasons above.

Not only that, but you can also show off your impressive history skills (learned through the volunteers).

9. It's wonderful if you have children

I hate softplays. They smell funny, the coffee sucks, and there is always a group of unruly kids tearing up the place, while their parents stare at their phones.

Fortunately, you have a National Trust membership, and you don’t need to go to a soft play.

Instead, you can take your kids into nature, and let them loose as they dirty themselves up, and get a good healthy dose of Vitamin D.

After they have finished, you can treat them to a hot chocolate, while you get yourself a decent coffee.

I’ve not been to a National Trust property which wasn’t great for kids. Most have some interest for children, whether its a nature trail, or an excellent playground.

The properties are family-focused and it shows.

10. Its worth it just for Christmas

Christmas at the National Trust is a real spectacle.

Houses beautifully decorated with traditional Christmas decorations and 15ft Christmas Trees.

Gardens lit up, and that fun festive feeling resonates through the whole charity. The National Trust at Christmas is not something you want to miss.

WHW

Walking The West Highland Way in 8 Days

The Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail is a thoroughly rewarding Coast to Coast walk which takes you from Newcastle to Bowness-on-Solway while following the Hadrian’s Wall Path. The Hadrian’s Wall Path is one of Britains largest archaelogical monuments, and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The route opened in 2003, and takes walkers on a 86km journey across Northern England. The wall itself isn’t the only attraction of the route. In addition to the wall you can enjoy stopping in some delightful towns and villages, exploring the museums and discovering a variety of places to eat and stay along the route. With so much to see and do as you walk, its no surprise this is one of Britain’s most popular long distance walks. 

To help you enjoy this wonderful route, we have put together this Hadrian’s Wall Path 9 day itinerary for you to self-book your walking holiday. Click any of the overnight stops below to quickly scroll down to that section on the page. 

The accommodation on this page have been hand picked, and checked on Facebook, TripAdvisor, and via Google Reviews to ensure they are of an acceptable quality. Most can be booked direct, online either via booking.com, or through their own website. We have also added some super handy distances from the trail so you know how far you have to travel each day to start walking.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Please note, some of the accommodation options below include an affiliate link. If you book through these links Distance Hiker will receive a small percentage of the total price. This allows us to keep producing excellent resources to help you book your trail. Thanks, Matthew.

Arrive in Milngavie for your first night's stay

West highland way rooms

Rooms from £69.00 per night

The Kirkhouse Inn

Rooms from £110.00 per night

Day 1: Walk from Milngavie to Drymen - 12 miles

The winnock hotel

Rooms from £118.00 per night

Ashbank Bed & Breakfast

Rooms from £75.00 per night

Buchanan Arms Hotel

Rooms from £72.00 per night

Day 2: Walk from Drymen to Rowardennan - 14 miles

Rowardennan Hotel

Rooms from £64.00 per night

Rowardennan Youth Hostel

Rooms from £64.00 per night

Day 3: Walk from Rowardennan to Inverarnan - 14 miles

Ardlui Hotel​

Rooms from £74.00 per night

The Drovers Inn

Rooms from £74.00 per night

Day 4: Walk from Inverarnan to Tyndrum - 12 miles

Tyndrum Lodges

Rooms from £70.00 per night

Day 5: Walk from Tyndrum to Inveroran - 10 miles

Inveroran Hotel

Rooms from £70.00 per night

Day 6: Walk from Inveroran to Kingshouse - 10 miles

Kingshouse Hotel

Rooms from £108.00 per night

Day 7: Walk from Kingshouse to Kinlochleven - 9 miles

Tigh na Cheo

Rooms from £79.00 per night

Day 8: Walk from Kinlochleven to Fort William - 14 miles

ALEXANDRA HOTEL

Rooms from £108.00 per night

The Best Places To Buy Used Outdoor Gear For Long Distance Hiking

It used to be the case that if you wanted to buy used outdoor gear you would need to head over to eBay and start bidding on a tatty down jacket being sold by WonderSteve65. The jacket would arrive in a bin bag wrapped up in copious amounts of tape and a barely legible address label leaving you scratching your head how it managed to reach you.

Yes, we have all received one of those before. But what if you don’t want to buy from eBay? Sure, it’s a great website for buying used gear, but there are other options out there. 

Lets take a look at your alternatives. 

Facebook Marketplace

I’ll be surprised if you don’t know what the Facebook Marketplace is. But did you know, if you look in the right place you can get used outdoor gear? 

One group, with endless buy and sell listings for outdoor gear is Outdoor Gear Exchange.

Now be warned, if you join this group, you are likely to want to mute it until you need to rummage through and look for something as your feed will be full of endless used items for sale. 

Also, the bargains go very quickly, especially with big ticket branded items such as Patagonia jackets.

That being said, its definately worth looking at for buying used outdoor gear.  

Sportpursuit

Sportpursuit is an excellent place to go for gear bargains. They don’t sell second hand, but they do sell cheap.

How do they do this? Well, it’s quite simple. Sportpursuit buys big quantities of clearance items from outdoor brands. I’m talking boxes and boxes of goods which the brands cannot sell elsewhere due to the issue of diluting new in-season styles with a flood of discounted items.

Sportspursit does an excellent job of then selling those onto their ‘members’. 

Expect half price of RRP deals on all sorts of goods. Shipping can be slow though but the price is often worth it.

Revivo

Revivo is probably my new favourite website. 

I’ve raved about Vivobarefoot shoes for a while now after owning 3 pairs, which have outlasted any big brand shoes i’ve ever owned. As somebody who can burn through a pair of vans in 4 months, this is quite an achievement. 

Vivobarefoot have recently released a new store, selling refurbished shoes. 

Customers can send back their shoes, which will be repaired, refurbished and sold on again via revivo. It’s a wonderful idea, and allows you to pickup some hiking boots at a good discount. 

 

Asos Marketplace

With ASOS Marketplace you are more likely to find fashionable bargains, over functional ones. By this I mean, expect a lot of lightweight down jackets, stylised outdoor fleeces and generally more stuff designed for looking good, over being functional. However ASOS marketplace should certainly be on your radar when looking for used outdoor it, as the prices are often competitive, and you have the security of buying through a reputable outdoor store. It’s also popular for ‘vintage’ outdoor items, such as Patagonia classics.

USA!

If you are lucky (or unlucky??) enough to live in the States, you are in for a treat, but much of the above won’t apply to you. Many big brands now have their own stores where they sell their own used/returned gear. Arc’teryx, Patagonia and even REI are examples of these stores.

The price is still high with many of these refurbished items, but compared to the full RRP, it knocks a good amount of money off the total and outfits you with quality kit for a fraction of the price. 

 

Vinted

Unlike Gumtree, which I have not included here as I feel its days are numbered (Facebook Marketplace), Vinted focus on used clothes rather than everything under the sun. 

After searching it, its noticeable that people selling on there do price higher than what you may find on other marketplaces, but the quality of descriptions, and photos are good. What I like about Vinted is that you get to buy goods with ‘buyer protection’, paying Vinted, who then pay the seller. 

It makes it more like a shop, reducing the risk. 

What are down jackets?

The first ‘down jacket’ I owned was a Rab Neutrino Edge jacket. I purchased it for £60.00 from the Rab outlet in a size large. I was probably more of a small medium but having seen many friends wearing down jackets, I was keen to get one regardless of whether it was actually the right size for me or not.

Honestly, I had little clue back then what a wonderful piece of kit a down jacket could be, but I did know it was designed to keep me warm, and had feathers inside which were lovingly donated from a clutch of geese.

Since then i’ve owned many more down jackets, and come to understand these coats consideraby.

What are down jackets?

A down jacket is simply an insulated coat, filled with duck or goose down which keeps you warm in cold environments.

The coat works by the heat from your body getting trapped in the down which is held in place with baffles. The baffles are the sewn tubes on the jacket, which make the user look like they have skinned the Michelin Man and worn him as a trophy.

The baffles act like loft insulation, holding the heat, therefore allowing your body to remain warm as the heat isn’t escaping at a rate it would if you were wearing thin layers.

What are the differences between different jackets?

I would say you could divide down jackets up into 4 categories:

Micro Baffle Down Jackts

Mid-Baffle Down Jackets

Large-Baffle Down Jackets

Expedition Jackets

Micro Baffle Down Jackets

Micro Baffle down jackets are probably the type of down jacket you will see when out and about. But what are down jackets with micro baffles all about?Thin down jackets which are smaller and lighter, and not so traditionally puffy are considered a Micro Baffle down jacket. They are not quite so warm as thicker models, and may only be suitable in the Autumn, or Spring as a stand alone coat, when worn with a T-Shirt for example. If you want a Micro Baffle down jacket to keep you warm in the winter you may need layers under it.

Mid-Baffle Down Jackets

Mid-Baffle Down jackets are a step up from a Micro-Baffle Down Jacket, and tend to be noticably warmer and ideal for use in the colder months especially in the Northern Hemisphere. A lot of brands will sell these jackets as Mountaineering and Alpine jackets as they strike up the perfect balance between warmth and low weight and bulk.

Large-Baffle Down Jackets

Large-Baffle Down Jackets are the next natural step up from the Mid-Baffle Down Jacket and are best for use in cold environments. For example, Canadian or Scandinavian winters where temperatures can plummet down to -15C with ease.

Expedition Down Jackets

Expedition Down Jackets are the final category of down jackets, and again may be worn casually in very cold environments but are predominantly made for expedition use in very cold places as the name suggests.

Now these categories are open to some interpretation and different brands will usually suggest a particular use for a down jacket which is a good place to start if you are trying to weigh up the difference between several styles.

How warm is a down jacket?

Any manufacturer giving temperature ratings of a down jacket has either a). Lied or b). Knows something the rest of us don’t.

There is no way to temperature test a jacket. Why? Because there are too many variables when testing a down jackets to determine an accurate temperature – wind chill, fatigue, layers under of over the jacket, etc.

So how do you work out the temperature rating of a down jacket?

It’s simple, you don’t. Trust the manufacturers suggestions as they are usually right but consider if you are a hot, or cold person. Do you get cold easily? Go for a bigger jacket. Do you really feel the heat? Go for a thinner jacket.

Despite this, down jackets come in different grades of down.

Down Grading

You will notice that different jackets have different ‘fill powers’.

‘Fill Power’ is short for how fine the down is, relative to its ability to trap heat. Basically new batches of down are transported to a factory which sorts them.

Down is sorted in a very simple, but effective way. Unsorted down is blown up a tall metal cylinders, and while the heavier down won’t make it past a certain height, the lighter down works its way to the highest point in the cylinder. At various points on the cylinders there are pumps which take turns in pulling in the down where it is stored with down of the same grade.

After sorting, a mix of feather and down ends up being sorted into 600, 650, 700, 750, 800, 850, 900, 950 and even 1000 fill power down.

600 tends to be bigger clusters of down, mixed with feathers, whereas 1000 fillpower is for eye wateringly expensive, but also lightweight jackets.

Most people don’t need a fillpower greater than 850 – and thats for a very lightweight technical jacket.

The fill power doesn’t determine the warmth alone. Yes, the finer the down does make a difference to warmth as there is more air available to trap, and therefore to warm up. However a very well filled 600 fill power jacket will trump a lightweight jacket for warmth any day as there is simply more filling, and therefore more space for the air to warm up.

Esentially a down jacket is designed to warm a pocket of air between you and the outside. The down acts a a tool to keep the baffle lofted therefore trapping air which heats you up. The down itself does not keep you warm, the air does.

Frankly, you would be just as well off with an inflatable jacket.

The only difference here is that your inflatable jacket would pop.

Limitations of down

Down is a wonderful material, however it does have its limitations. Depictions from outdoor brands, and the like tend to suggest that down makes a great midlayer when hiking.

This is totally untrue. Down makes a horrible midlayer. Why? Because its job is to trap air, and therefore heat. When you are moving and working up a sweat when walking uphill, what do you do need to do? Breathe! However a down jacket inhibits this, as its the job of the jacket to not let too much air through and trap heat.

Therefore I don’t recommend using down as a midlayer.

Also down is not great for wet weather. If you do want to use a down jacket for wet weather I suggest shopping for a waterproof down. Although down will resist some water, its not designed to withstand heavy rain, and after prolonged use in the wet, it will start to wilt. And wilted down won’t trap heat, therefore, causing you, the user to get cold.

Wrapping it up

Picking a down jacket can be confusing but hopefully this article has helped to make sense of what a down jacket is and its limitations. Of course if there is anything I’ve missed just pop it in the comments below.

7 Wonderful Benefits of Long Distance Walking

The benefits of long distance walking

Walking, and in particular long distance walking is an addictive hobby, and lifestyle for many. But that are the benefits of long distance walking which draw so many people to this wonderful past time?

It offers so many people an escape away from the idea of a conventional holiday (sitting by a pool), where they can instead stroll through extraordinary countryside, and stay somewhere interesting each night.

And for those long distance walkers who prefer single day walks of 20 miles and more, there are a number if events frequenly held around the UK. Many hosted by the Long Distance Walkers Association.

What then, are the benefits of long distance walking?

Lets jump in and take a look!

It Helps Your Longetevity

Its proven that walking for a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes each day can help to drastically reduce your chances of developing heart disease, some cancers and dementia in older age. Better still, it reduces cholesterol and blood pressure. Not only is walking amazing for short term health, but also a part of building a foundation of health for older age.

It’s Great For Your Head

Walking can help to keep your head sharp, and alert. In a study published in the Neurology paper, 2008, it was shown that older adults who never exercise show clear signs of cognitive decline. However with just 6 months of walking, this can be reversed considerably.

Another study, undertaken by the University of California measured the cognitive abilities of 6000 women over 65 years old. They discovered that the mental decline was lower in women who walked the most.

It’s A Great Way To Socialise

As above, with so many events on (if that’s your thing), long distance walking offers a great way to socialise with other hiking enthusiasts.

Moreover, if you enjoy hiking long distances over multiple days the chances are you will be traveling in the same direction as other walkers who you will end up getting to know while walking.

This is a great way to meet new friends, some of whom you may know for life.

And It’s A Great Way To Find Solitude

One of the other benefits of long distance walking is solitude. Yes, you can get the best of both worlds. Walking, one step at a time does nothing but force you to slow down, calm your thoughts and enjoy the experience of being immersed in nature. The dose of vitamin D will help bone health, alleviate stress, and even provide some protection against disease, the natural light will help you sleep well (helpful for long days on the trail). And frankly, being in nature will help you to disconnect.

It Supports Rural Economies

If you embark on a walking holiday, over more than a day, you are helping rural economies. There are thriving economies in some small towns with the help of long distance walkers who fill the pubs and cafes, support the corner shops, and offer custom to the local hotels.

Long Distance Walking – It’s A Safe Activity

Perhaps skateboarding just isn’t your thing. 6 weeks in plaster when you have a busy grown up schedule just doesn’t appeal. Well don’t worry because walking is pretty safe. Obvious there are trips and falls to think about, and they do happen but most of the time you get back up, brush off and carry on. Just make sure to pack the right kit for your long distance walk.

It Opens A New World To You

The UK along has several lifetimes worth of long distance trails to walk. The rest of the world.. well you could enjoy it’s beauty for the end of time. Be sure to check out our money saving tips before you embark on your long distance walk.

There are so many wonderful long distance paths to explore around the world. From the popular Everest Base Camp Trek, or Inca Trail, to the Austria, Slovenia, and Italy’s Alpe Adria Trail.

Well I hope that has helped to inform you on the benefits of long distance walking. If your in any doubt of any of these benefits, check out our Facebook Group for some inspiration.