The easiest way to get outdoors – minimal equipment, leave from your front door or pop in the car and you can reach some of the wildest places in the UK.
Here is a little collection of useful bits and pieces for planning, inspiring and getting outdoors without having to call out mountain rescue!
Blog posts about hiking
Also try using the destinations menu as a lot of my trips are hiking based so the links are all there depending where you want to hike!
Useful guides – online and in traditional paper form
livefortheoutdoors.com – website for Britain’s biggest hiking magazines, limited free content but I love the routes in Trail magazine – really good mix, pretty accurate and often the free gifts that you get with a subscription means that magazine pays for itself – they recently gave away a Jetboil stove worth £80 for a years subscription which cost about £30.
Cicerone guides – really good detailed guides for lots of popular and less well known walking, hiking and climbing areas in the UK and Europe
Dash4it – an online map superstore – whats not to love. I’ve been impressed with their range, prices and speedy delivery
A little bit of knowledge goes a long way on the hills and will hopefully keep you out of trouble enjoying your day out.
Beginners – the best way to get outdoors is with someone else, that can be a trusted friend or as part of a club. Finding a club is easy peasy and often a great way to meet like minded people. I have to admit that I thought clubs might be full of people ‘not like me’ but it turns out they are full of a wide range of lovely people all with a common love of the outdoors. Find a club through the BMC, the ramblers, meetup (more informal) or good old fashioned google. Ordnance Survey do some great online navigation tutorials for a bit of brush up.
Getting more confident? – If you feel comfortable with a map and want to push yourself a bit more a course is a great way again to hang out with like minded people and really get your skills up to scratch, I have been on courses with both Plas Y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge but there are also lots of independent instructors and guides who will offer courses in everything from a days brush up on navigation skills to winter mountaineering. I can’t recommend a course enough, they have given me the confidence to go out in the hills on my own and also to take less experienced friends out to share my passion for the outdoors with them.
What next? – the world is your oyster! Stay close to home and tick off the Munro’s or the Wainrights or look further afield for hiking in Europe and beyond. You might be inspired to share your passion with others or get involved in conservation to help with the constant upkeep that paths and wild habitats need. You might even want to make the outdoors your career in which case check out Mountain Training.
Getting out and about needn’t be expensive as there are many ways to keep accommodation costs low. I’m a big fan of a hostel if the weather is a little unpredictable I generally use YHA or SYHA hostels as I know that standards are high and I can be sure of a hot shower, a well equipped kitchen and a warm welcome at the end of a big day outside.
If I think I might be in luck with the weather or I’m touring around I love to camp. I really love my tent (an Alpkit Jarran 2 since you ask – which is currently on offer at £140 an absolute steal! – No I don’t work for Alpkit and I paid full price for mine – still money well spent). I really like the website Cool Camping to find some interesting and picturesque sites. My favorite so far has been the site in Rhyd Ddu run by the folk at the Cwellyn Arms. To camp comfortably and cheaply check out my post on outdoor bargains here.
Happy hiking gang!