Long Distance Hikes
Going several days without showering, sleeping on the ground, subsisting on boil in the bag meals, consistent physical exercise from sunrise to sunset... What motivates people to hike long-distance trails? All of the above!
Whether you head up into the high mountains of Scotland, scramble across craggy Snowdonia or bumble merrily along the stunning south coast — long distance hiking helps you discover not only the most beautiful corners of the UK, but the deepest corners of your own personality. And if you don’t feel like you encounter either on your trip, you simply haven’t walked far enough!
And the best part? You don't have to be a pro or spend a fortune to do it. Simply mark the days in your calendar, wear-in your hiking boots, throw a few supplies in your backpack and off you go!
Long-Distance Hiking Trails For You
Choose from our ready-to-go Collections with handpicked Tours and lots of handy information, created by passionate people like you.
The right season
The best time to trek a long-distance hiking trail depends on where you’re going. Naturally, the summer months will promise better weather in the mountains and along the coast, although you’ll have to contend with more people. You’ll also have to factor in the ever-present annoyance of a billion midges (especially if you’re adventuring through Scotland). Whenever you go, however, a good experience is the result of good preparation, so always pack your waterproofs, take care of your feet and be sure you’re bringing the right gear for the job.
Tips For Your Feet
Wear In Your Boots
New boots tend to be a little harder and less malleable. By wearing them for several hours before you hit the trail, you give them a chance to soften into the shape of your feet, lessening the chance of blisters in the process.
A Variety Of Socks
Your feet will change with the miles you hike. If you get pressure sores, thicker, thinner or simply different socks can make all the difference.
Take them with you. Just do it. If you feel a blister coming on, apply one immediately. Don't wait until the skin is coming off.
Kick off your socks and shoes and submerge your feet in cold water. You'll feel like you just entered paradise.
Cut Those Toenails
Keeping short nails prevents blisters and other pains. But be careful not to overdo it – an unfamiliar length of nail can cause inflammation, too.
Check Your Laces
Every now and then check whether your shoelaces are rubbing each other too thin. Before they fray (and you having to walk in untied shoes), adjust them so that a different part is being rubbed.
Your Place For The Night
Every long-distance hiking trail is different. Some have accommodation and warm meals along the way; others only campgrounds or wild camping spots. Some have pre-determined stages and are well-marked; others are completely overgrown. The most important rule of thumb: Do your research ahead of time. This will help you plan what to bring and impact the weight of your backpack. It will also help you plan whether to reserve a spot ahead of time. Finally, make sure to test your setup and equipment before you hit the trails. Experiencing a night out in your own tent or in a bothy is more valuable than any online guide (like this one).
List of bothies and places to stay
- Hiking clothes for all weathers (code word: Layering)
- Sun protection for your head
- Sleeping bag liner / sleeping bag (depending on your accommodation, make sure to check temperature forecasts)
- Blistering band-aids (we can’t say this enough)
- First aid kit with blister plasters, tweezers for removing ticks and just-in-case meds for headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and inflammation
- Emergency energy bar (small snacks for quick energy)
- Water bottles
- Water treatment device/agents (puri-tabs or water filter)
Safety In The Mountains
Just like a hearty breakfast, checking the weather forecast is an important part of your daily mountain morning routine. At high altitudes, you may experience heat, rain, high winds and even snow — all in the same day. When packing, check the weather and take equipment for every possible outcome.
Rough terrain, narrow and steep paths, falling rocks – all are risks when traversing the mountains and along the coast. Thorough preparation, suitable equipment and an honest evaluation of your own skills are key to staying safe. If you don’t have any experience in certain environments, it's best to bring someone who does.
Whether you are on a popular trail or off the beaten path, make sure to show respect toward other people and the environment. Beware of other people around – below steep slopes there are often other trails, so don't kick down any rocks. Always leave a place as you found it and show respect for your companions, people you meet and the environment.
Research and keeo the phone number of the local mountain rescue on hand. Make sure you always have some battery left on your mobile device and be cognisant of where you are at all times so you can accurately communicate your location in case of an emergency.
- Call 999 and ask to be put through to mountain rescue in case of an emergency. Mountain rescue Germany: 112
- Mountain rescue Austria: 140
- Mountain rescue Italy: 118