Anyone looking to embark on a multi day challenge, whether it be one of the traditional A to B National Trails or something you have made up for yourself should be aware of the 3 key stages of planning which will make or break the enjoyment of the walk.
1. Footwear. Sore feet on a multi day walk is simply no good. The pain of blisters will probably not stop you but it will stop the enjoyment. On my recent Coast to Coast walk I swapped shoes 3 times in 9 days, only putting on the Scarpa leathers for the wet and mountainous sections over Nine Standards and the Lake District. Softer trainer style shoes are fine the rest of the time and make sure your instep is well supported and include a good foot bed for any tarmac. Ankle support was not essential for me off the hills. Do not feel that because you are walking that leather solid boots are neccessary all the time
2. Pack Weight. On the Southern Upland Way I had to ditch the pack half way through the walk at Moffat. A sore back may well finish your walk altogether, I believe there is nothing worse on a walk. However if you are camping it is inevitable that you will have a heavier pack, my only advice here is to pack it before you go and try it out in your local area on a walk of at least 4 hours. During that time keep readjusting it till it feels right and ensure the weight sits as much on the waist band as shoulders. Pulling on the shoulders is what usually causes the problems.
3. Maps. I have found that maps are much better to use than following a guide book. An OS map puts the walk in to perspective to the surrounding areas. A guide book cannot do this. Guide books are fantastic to read at night and to plan the walk before you go but not for use during the day. I usually draw in pencil on my maps the route I plan to take; however the fact that you are carrying a map means you do not have to stick to the route (using a book generally means you do) and therefore more of the little off route gems can easily be discovered.
With these 3 simple bits of advice a Long Distance Walk or multi day trip in to the English and Scottish hills will be considerably more enjoyable. Over the years of climbing in Scotland and more recently on the Long Distance footpaths these have been my most memorable mountain experiences. Certainly for those who have not one yet I can heartily recommend them. Forget going abroad, make it your main holiday!
In the last few weeks I have added a section on Places to Stay in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. If you are interested in promoting your own property through these web pages please click here for further details
Click below on ‘Previous Posts’ to see older blogs on the Mountain Rescue Teams, the Where2walk challenge and the potential impact of government cuts on footpaths.
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