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The non-walker’s guide to preparing for a walking holiday

Trekking getaways are as old as the hills (if you’ll excuse the pun), but their allure has increased in recent years as the nation’s obsession with getting fitter and healthier takes hold. Rather than spend countless hours in the gym every week staring at a blank wall while on the treadmill, people are instead choosing to head for the fells and beauty spots the UK has to offer and love going on a walking holiday.

We’re blessed with some of the most attractive scenery in the world, which is why a UK walking holiday could be the best choice you make this year.

If you’re up for it, but you’re something of a non-walker, we’ve got seven steps you’ll need to take before heading off:

1. Research some routes

The best thing about walking holidays is that they give you the opportunity to explore places you’ll simply never discover while sat behind the wheel of a car.

You need to know where you’re going, though. Don’t ‘wing it’ – make sure you find and fully research some proper, often-used routes before you go.

2. Take a proper compass (and learn how to use it)

Your smartphone may have a compass built in, but it’s an electronic device, and electronic devices run out of battery and contain bugs. Real compasses, by comparison, don’t.

Thankfully, they can be picked up rather cheaply on the web and a quick scour of Google will provide plenty of tutorials for how to use what might become a saviour for you at some stage.

3. Spend big on boots

Decent footwear is essential if you’re to enjoy a walking holiday rather than spend it constantly cursing the blisters on your feet.

If you splash out anywhere, do so on walking boots. Go for those of the waterproof variety and with plenty of insulation.

4. Accept you’ll probably get lost

Even seasoned walkers with the best compass and map skills still manage to get lost while hiking. You’ll almost definitely get lost at some stage, due to the fact you’re a novice. But that’s ok – really.

The key thing is to accept you’ll get lost at some stage. Doing so will prevent any unnecessary dramas from taking place at the top of a mountain and prepare your brain for the fact that it’ll have to perform some problem solving along the way.

Plus, getting lost can be quite fun (sometimes).

5. Take an Ordinance Survey map

Again, you may look at Google Maps on your phone and think “pah! Who needs a real map?”, but, remember – your phone can run out of battery, while a map will last for decades.

Find an Ordinance Survey (OS) map of the area you’re visiting and plot out your routes before you leave. It’ll be the most valuable thing you carry in your backpack.

6. Train for your walking holiday

Hiking is a proper workout, and if you’re not fit enough, you’ll struggle on the steeper climbs and seemingly endless linear tracks.

Hit the gym or start running regularly before you set off. Set aside time to run up and down the stairs a few times each evening. Get fit – you’ll thank yourself. A walking holiday can be challenging.

7. Find a decent backpack

Don’t go too big or too small – find a backpack that is big enough to carry the essentials, yet small and compact enough not to be a burden. Make sure it’s waterproof, too!

Wrapping up

Walking holidays are hard work but fantastically rewarding. Follow our tips above and you’ll come back refreshed, a good degree fitter and feeling even more appreciative of the UK’s stunning beauty.

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