Photo Above: Serpentine Road Among Green Hills of Peak District National Park
Clearly, we are still under lockdown and Government guidelines must be observed, but there’s no harm in looking ahead a little and dreaming…
The staycation could well be the holiday of choice for summer/autumn 2020. With foreign travel restricted and the possibility of coronavirus lurking in every corner, a UK break is now top of the bill.
Fortunately, this is no hardship because from Land’s End to John O’Groats there’s a whole world of beauty available on our doorsteps. It seems likely that our beach resorts, Bournemouth, Brighton and even Blackpool could be busier than they’ve been since the 1970s, meanwhile, the British countryside offers other hugely appealing options and potentially fewer crowds.
Take a walk on the wild side
What better way to view the British Isles than by donning your walking boots and taking to the hills. Whether you’re a weekend rambler, appreciating the rugged beauty of Britain’s coastal paths, or are ready to get your teeth into a bigger challenge and take on the Munros, we really have got it all. Here are just a few of the better-known locations:
• The coastal paths of Cornwall and Devon
• Cheddar Gorge & the Mendip Hills
• The Cotswolds
• The North and South Downs
• The Breacon Beacons
• The Peak District
• The Penines
• The Lake District
(N.B. tends to get very busy during holidays)
• The Grampian Mountains
• The Highlands
• The Trossachs
See more on Walking Britain
Photo: Lake District views of Hayeswater, the summits of Gray Crag,
Thornthwaite and a cloud covered Stony Cove Pike in the distance.
The right kit
If you’re thinking of heading off the beaten track you’ll be needing the right kit. Here’s a list to start you off, though you can adapt and develop this as you increase your range.
- Sturdy walking boots – trainers just aren’t robust enough and you’ll likely regret it.
- The right socks – invest in good quality socks and always carry spares, wet socks are a misery.
- Backpack – a 20L daypack should suffice unless you are planning to camp.
- Water – always carry a water bottle, it gets lighter over the course of the journey!
- Provisions – don’t go hungry. Unless you’ve planned a pit stop at a known pub or cafe, it’s wise to take a packed lunch. Bananas, nuts and cereal or protein bars are ideal emergency supplies – because you never know.
- Walking maps – there’s a huge range of trail maps and books available, make sure you know where you’re going and keep a map to hand.
- Waterproofs – OK, we all know that the UK weather is changeable, so a good Gore-tex® jacket will be your friend for life.
- Warm layers – The most versatile way to stay warm is layering, that way it’s easy to put something on or take it off as necessary. A woolly hat and thermals or a fleece are ideal.
- Small first aid kit/ blister kit – it’s a good idea to keep a small emergency pack in your rucksack.
- Telescopic walking poles – walking poles are great up hill and down, taking some of the strain and impact off sensitive knees or sore shins. If not in use, they can be compressed and attached to your backpack leaving hands free.
Profeet have a carefully selected range of walking/hiking boots and shoes plus some hybrid footwear available to buy online.
The right approach
Like all sports, if you haven’t walked or hiked much before, you need to work up to it. Start with shorter walks on the level, invest in some decent waterproof walking boots and wear them in. Figure out the best socks for you – a thin or thicker sock affects the fit of your boots and the overall comfort. Notice any physical niggles or issues such as knee pain or foot arch pain before you take on a long walk or hike. Address these either with specific exercises designed to stretch or strengthen muscles, or get some custom insoles fitted to support your feet correctly within your boots.
Once you’ve got yourself set up and have found your walking legs, a vast landscape of variety and wonder awaits. Whilst the UK weather can vary and we don’t have the near-guaranteed sunshine of Ibiza or the Greek Islands, the misty mornings and post-shower dampness of the UK, interspersed with ambient warmth and sunshine can be beautiful, atmospheric and evocative. It has a charm all of its own.
Photo: Glencoe Loch in Scotland
Every location has its features and landmarks, be it an ascent with a lookout point, a ruined castle or folly, a lake or river. But it’s the actual immersion in the countryside itself that brings the greatest gains. There is something about the greenness of the rolling hills and woodland, wildflowers, flora and fauna. In Japan, they have a concept known as ‘tree bathing’ – the simple act of being in a forest. The ozone and innate energy emanating from mother nature have a restorative and cleansing quality – something we could all do with right now.
Photo: A wildflower meadow on cliffs above Crantock Beach at West Pentire near Newquay, COrnnwall
Whilst at the end of a hike your legs may ache, you’ll have seen some sights, burnt some major calories and be ready for a reward – a fish and chip supper perhaps, or maybe even a Michelin starred dinner if you’re lucky.
Either way, time spent in the great outdoors is good for the mind, body and spirit and now’s the time to get your boots and start wearing them in!
Read our: Lowa Renegade Review
Contributed by our Profeet Team Member: Jo Parsons