Man and woman hiking in mountains

UK Hiking Tips for Beginners

If you’re a nature trail tenderfoot looking to become a hiking hotshot, get the know-how here.

Here are some solid ground rules to keep you prepared, equipped and safe this hiking season.

What Is Hiking?

Hiking describes the activity of extended, energetic walking outdoors. But, hiking for beginners doesn’t have to be extreme. A hike can range from an hour long walk around a local park or countryside footpath, to a days-long expedition including camping or overnight stay at bed and breakfasts. It provides a great number of benefits, ranging from the physical and mental payoffs of the exercise itself, to the more spiritual satisfaction of being out amongst nature.

Why Hike?

A well-established but maybe a little-known fact, is that walking is one of the best forms of exercise. Walking for just 30 minutes a day has been shown to increase brain activity and function, improve your overall mood, promote weight loss, reduce risk of disease, and even improve digestion. Hiking’s added challenges of rougher terrain and carrying kit, increases walking’s benefits tenfold. Here are some top hiking tips to ensure you are equipped, prepared and ready for your first ramble.

Hiking Tips And Tricks

Mum with two kids out for a hike

# First Time Hiking

If you are heading out on your first hike, you don’t need to trek through the Yorkshire Dales or scale Mount Snowdon. For your first few attempts, less can be more. As with any exercise, starting off too hard can lead to injury, or be overbearing and put you off in the future. Begin by getting some good quality hiking boots and testing out your new gear in some big parks or short woodland trails.

Women with hiking poles

# Check the route

Becoming familiar with your route is vital. This may seem over the top for a test run of your new boots, but it is useful to get your hiking protocol in check for future trips. Use a map. Of course, smartphones and their various mapping applications can be used, but always have an actual map and compass handy in your pack. Make sure you have familiarised yourself with the route beforehand and pencilled in key locations.

Shoe in a paddle of water

# Check the weather

Checking the weather guides your preparation, what you need in your pack, and how you should be dressed heading out for the hike. Of course, your first walks across more local, shorter trails doesn’t need the items of longer, more challenging treks, but why not practice run with a full pack? The added weight will improve the physical benefits of exercise.

Family on a hike

# Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to get back

Hiking can be a great time to bond with friends or family. Hiking can also be a great time to spend some time with yourself. Reflection and active meditation go hand in hand with immersing yourself in outdoor pursuits. Though, whether you are going at it alone, or with a group, always let others know where you are heading and when you plan to be back. Batteries can die, and signal can be sparse in the countryside. It could even be a nice idea to turn your phone off? Power down and save battery for necessity, giving you some disconnect from the screen and immersing yourself fully in your surroundings.

Open quechua backpack

# Make sure you have packed correctly

Especially for longer hikes, where you may be stopping overnight, you won’t want to be forgetting anything. Keeping a list and double-checking your items will ensure you are properly stocked and ready to adventure in comfort and safety. 

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