View Full Version : Long distance walks in the UK

2nd Apr 2004, 20:17
Well, just about every other subject has been covered on JB ;) so I thought I'd pose this question:

Anyone have a favourite long distance walk? Pennine Way? Coast-to-Coast? Offa's Dyke Path? (and many more of course)

How many JB-ers have actually done any of these?

What did you like/dislike about each (or any) of them?

Recommendations for people planning a walk?

Boss Raptor
2nd Apr 2004, 20:20
The Ridgeway is very nice in Summer...only done the odd part

2nd Apr 2004, 20:56
Like wake walk. I think thats what its called, but apart from that, anything that involves walking stupid distances for little personal gain.

a is dum
2nd Apr 2004, 20:59
Thank you for your contribution, Dead_Heading. :ok:

Ric Capucho
2nd Apr 2004, 21:09
Pennine Way.

Marvellous thread, by the way, Mr Dummy. Keep it up.


PPRuNe Radar
2nd Apr 2004, 21:16
West Highland Way has some nice stretches and great scenery.

Speyside Way .. easy to divert to a distillery or two :)

tony draper
2nd Apr 2004, 21:25
How about the Lyke Wake Walk.
They say tiz unwise to do it alone. :uhoh:

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
-- Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet and candle-lighte,
-- And Christe receive thy saule.

When thou from hence away art past,
-- Every nighte and alle,
To Whinny-Muir thou com'st at last;
-- And Christe receive thy saule.

If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon,
-- Every nighte and alle,
Sit thee down and put them on;
-- And Christe receive thy saule.

If hosen and shoon thou ne'er gav'st nane
-- Every nighte and alle,
The whinnes sall prick thee to the bare bane;
-- And Christe receive thy saule.

From Whinny-muir when thou mayst pass,
-- Every nighte and alle,
To Brig o' Dread thou com'st at last;
-- And Christe receive thy saule.

From Brig o' Dread when thou mayst pass,
-- Every nighte and alle,
To Purgatory fire thou com'st at last;
-- And Christe receive thy saule.

If ever thou gavest meat or drink,
-- Every nighte and alle,
The fire sall never make thee shrink;
-- And Christe receive thy saule.

If meat or drink thou ne'er gav'st nane,
-- Every nighte and alle,
The fire will burn thee to the bare bane;
-- And Christe receive thy saule.

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
-- Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet and candle-lighte,
-- And Christe receive thy saule.


2nd Apr 2004, 21:27
Thank you, a is dum. :)

And thanks to Mr. Draper for saying how to spell the Lyke wake walk.

Umm. Recommendation bit.
*rummages around and finds bits of completely ignored paper work from DofE training*

Use good boots. If tyou have just got some new ones, walk 'em in for about 5 miles or so (I didn't do this before a 12 mile walk once. First time and last time I've ever had blisters)

Best thing to wear I find is a long sleeved shirt. Stops sun getting to your neck, and the sleeves can be rolled up or down.

Take 2 hats. a sun one and a cold weather one.

Plan route and write down the landmarks and times. Its a very nerdy thing to do, but it helps to have a schedule.

Take a couple of walking poles strapped to your pack. If you or anyone else falls, they're great for twisted ankles etc.
have a group first aid kit to be shared, and everyone has a personal one.

Walk with the slowest in front. Not only does it speed them up, but means you can't leave 'em behind.

Check the weather forecast, but take everything you COULD need.

share out the tents (if you need 'em) One has poles, other has inner etc.

Make sure someone knows ure walking+where/when etc. that way, if anything does go wrong, the authorities will be alerted.

Have 2 navigators, one to route find, the other to check decisions.

Plan checkpoints for rest/bag shifting/clothes on the map. one per 2k is what I generally stick to.

If its cold, always be on the lookout for any symtoms of hyperthermia

If its warm, look out for signs of heatstroke

Stay hydrated, even if it rains, because you will sweat a lot.

theres more of this stuff, but most of it is common sense.

a is dum
2nd Apr 2004, 21:33
So am I right in concluding, "Dead_Heading" you've never done a "long distance walk" before?

Not even some distance in Estados Unidos?

2nd Apr 2004, 21:42
No, U'd be wrong! Done the Lyke wake walk, bits of the pennine way, and about 20 miles of the one that goes all the way round the coast.

Apart from that, I've done over 50 or so between 10 and 15 milers with me family, and 15 over nighters with DofE. I've also climbed Scarfell pike, and am climbing Snowdon in a week or so. Spent 3 weeks in the lakes last year walking most days (not the touristy bits) and have also spent about 4 years of 2 week hols in yorkshire walking, as well as a couple of 2 weeks in Scotland, not to mention walking in my local area.
So I have walked quite a bit, am doing my Gold DofE in a month, and have young leader training over easter. So I'd say I have had some experiance with walking.

a is dum
2nd Apr 2004, 21:48
In that case D_H, I stand corrected. But why the sarcasm about LD walking? Or do I not understand?? :confused:

2nd Apr 2004, 21:50
A misunderstanding, I'm afraid! That was me taking a jab at myself. Nothing makes me laugh more than laughing at myself.

(Believe me, you would laugh at me too if you saw me in my "walking hat")

a is dum
2nd Apr 2004, 21:53
OK, no doubt my wrong understanding of the British knack of 'understatement'.

Cheers, :ok:

3rd Apr 2004, 00:31
I did the 3 Peaks(Ingleborough.Whernside and Pen-y- Ghent) in the sixties.I was a lot younger then but it still nearly killed me.I have never been as knackered in my life. I used to walk every weekend with my dog and thought I was fit. I started off caving first .My first experience of potholing was Alum Pot.This was the reason that we did the three Peaks,because we could see them when travelling to the various cave systems and some idiot suggested that it would be fun to climb them.It starts off nice and easy but by the time you near the end its hard work.It was an achievement to finish but if I had known what I know now I would never have started.I would love to be able to tackle it now
but after 1972 when shattered my ankle my walking days are finished.I can still dream though.

3rd Apr 2004, 00:42
Have a crack at this one (http://www.lycianway.com/about/about.html) then. It's a walk and a half, and you won't need a rainhat.

3rd Apr 2004, 04:20
I, along with some others when in the RAF at Finningley, became "Masters of Misery", having completed the Lyke Wake Walk many, many times! It was a hard slog most of the way, especially if wet, but great fun, nonetheless. Easy to say, while loooking back, but true.
Drapes - whence the poem, old son, it rings a dim, distant bell in the grey matter, but I can't remember where I heard it.

I had intended the Pennine Way, but left the RAF, and the UK, before summoning up the courage! My most recent trek was back in 1996, when SWMBO and I trekked up part of the Red Centre of Aus for 4 weeks, absolutely glorious fun!

Kind regards,


Anthony Carn
3rd Apr 2004, 05:24
Page 2 and nobody's mentioned Wainwright yet !

Following in his footsteps would keep you happy for a lifetime. :cool:

Hostie from Hell
3rd Apr 2004, 05:30
Drapes poem is the lyke wake durge.... very appropriate in the early hours when its hissing with rain, and you are knee deep in the peat !
Mr Wainwrights coast to coast comes highly recommended.. both as a book and a walk.
Have to try the SW penninsular one day... just give me 2 months and a gold visa card :=

Ric Capucho
3rd Apr 2004, 05:52
I did the Pennine Way in my mid to late twenties, when already pathetically unfit.

I started off with a mate, who way much much fitter, and very gung-ho. It was Easter, but it was one of those 'early Easters', so the weather was fcuked. We laughed and leapt across groughs, bounded across bogland, and climbed and descended Kinder Scout, forced march style. After three days, my mate's arms and legs fell off, so he had to drop out. We managed to stuff his legs into a rucksack, and tuck his arms behind his ears, and then he used his tongue to drag himself onto a bus home.

And then I was alone...

Anyway, by that time both my hips were knackered, as were my knees, ankles, feet and even (really) my left shoulder. I was also fcuked, but too daft to admit it. In way over my fitness head, blisters behind my ears, never mind on my feet, a rucksack that weighed just under three tonnes wasn't helping me much. Oh, and I kept getting lost.

A damn fine beginning, in anyone's book.

Soooooo, after sextuple-limping for a day or so, I had the first of my 'rest days'. This entailed staying in bed at whatever B&B, groaning, hot baths, whining, and much book reading. The nice lady there advised that I have a rucksack rethink. So, I emptied out my rucksack, and mailed home everything that I thought I'd need, but didn't really. Off went the eight maps (I stuck to Wainwright), sundry books, fifteen pairs of socks, ten pairs of trousers, and my black-tie evening wear. Spare kagoul, one spare set of clothes, and that was it. Then there was the other stuff; I had to struggle with myself, but I finally relented and sent back the Walkman, sundry cassettes, iron and ironing board, and the vacuum cleaner.

I picked up my rucksack again, and it kept going up, it was so light. I caught it bobbing against the ceiling, and decided that if I'd done that in the open air, then there'd be trouble. So, I put one or two socks back in, and that seemed to weigh it down a bit. For the rest of the hike, I had to keep an eye on it on windy days.

Sooooo, onwards.

My sextuple limp became a quintuple limp, as my left knee got better. Minor improvements elsewhere, other than my right knee.

After a day or so after my solo hike began, it started snowing. "Good", quothed your lonesome adventurer, "makes it all the more 'authentic'". And it was true, I had authentic snow collecting on my hat, and my authentically unshaven chin started to ice up, just like Ranulf Feinnes. My hips got better, and my combination limp simplified.

Onwards and onwards, a few wayside adventures (got laid, heh heh heh), and my body repaired itself, except my fcuking right knee of course. I started to quite enjoy myself, and even the snow became a sort of macho challenge. Yep, Britain's can be a very beautiful country, and you'd do well to have a sniff along the Pennine Way, even if your walking days are over. Take a car, and amble about.

And then there's the fact that if you want to see a landscape properly, then walking's the best way. Motor bikes, cars, bicycles and prams are fine as they go, but standard issue legs have a lot going for them. Ever stopped a car to poke a bit of moss on a wall? Or peek through a crack in a fence to see what's what? Maybe, but you'd not do that every five minutes.

About half way, I popped into a sort of outdoorsy shop, and bought a walking stick, that a farmer would have been proud of. All knurls and knots and woody stuff. Hmm, looking back I think I bought a bloody branch for ten quid. At least they'd stripped the leaves off it. Anyways, as I'd limped in, there was the most gorgeous vision of an angel serving, that I'd ever seen before or since. I could see the impression I made by the look in her eyes. I jauntily limped to the sticks, scratching my ten days of whiskers, trying to show my best side, the one with less mud and ice water, and regaled her with witty adventurer stories. Yes, she was blown away by my machismo, intellect and good looks. Anyway, I left the shop with a limp-click-swagger, but she didn't run out to ravish me, so she must have also lost her legs, poor girl.

Onwards, and I found my speed limit had been set by my crook right knee, the fcuker. The stick helped, really it did, but I found I could walk about 5-6mph on the flat, regardless of mud and stuff, about 3-4 mph up hill, even quite steep stuff, and about 0.005 mph downhill. Really, I tried everything with that knee going downhill, including walking backwards. Didn't work. At one point, during my reverse downhill experiments, I fell over backwards. Right there, in the middle of a bloody snowstorm, middle of nowhere, about 10am on a Wednesday morning, I stood up to howls of laughter from the biggest school party of walkers I've ever seen.

Damn damn damn.

And a girl's school too, which normally would have been a bonus.

Buggah buggah buggah.

Onwards and upwards, Jockland approaching. The short day I had walking across Hadrian's Wall was the toughest of the lot, believe it or not. I'd done a few 30 mile plus days, by then, so I thought I could p1ss the 12 miles in a couple of hours. Anyways, that Hadrian went and built his wall on an endless succession of small hillocks, what did for my bollocks.

Roman git.

And then Kielder Forest... the Cheviots (rather impressive, and surprisingly barren under the snow) and then down to the end.

Me done it, mostly on me tod.

And... there's a lot to be said for day after day of time to think. Time to watch the landscape change. I loved how Wainwright made references in his book to ridiculous landmarks ("...turn left at the small pile of horse poo, and stop. In the far corner of the field you'll see a dwarf feeding a giraffe. Walk just to the left...") that somehow are still there; that was a blokey who knew how time in't country slows down. I loved the road movie adventure of it all, the people I met and talked to, some for days, some hours, and some fleeting minutes. I loved the weather, both brutally bad, and beautiful. And there's a strip of Britain running along the spine that I know very very well. Sometimes at night, I 'walk' the Pennine Way in my head. Time's blurring a few points now, and I never was one for names, but it remains the singlemost arduous physical achievement of my life.

And I'm dead dead proud of it.

Believe me, for a year or so afterwards, I was as fit as a buchers dog. The right knee limp sorted itself out after about 6 months, but the rest of me was iron man material. I could bound up stairs faster than an eight year old, run across carparks without drawing a breath.

I wasted not this precious gift, and spent it wisely on fags and beer.


tony draper
3rd Apr 2004, 09:49
Tiz the Lyke Wake Dirge Mr Nightowl, only those who have completed the walk are entitled to chant it,
Tiz the ancient Dirge the mourners chanted as they accompanied the deceased on their last journey along the Wake path across the wild moors, hense the name of the walk.


3rd Apr 2004, 10:41

3rd Apr 2004, 10:55
If you're up for a challenge, try the Three Peaks. Myself and some colleagues did it for charity last year and I have to say it was bloody hard work. We did Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike and Snowdon in under 24 hours....10 hours travelling in a cramped van and 13 hours 42 mins on the hills. The hardest of them had to be Scarfell Pike, but I think the full English breakfast I had 2 hours before the climb didn't help matters....nor the fact that we started on it at 6am without a wink of sleep during the drive down from Nevis.

At the end we all went for a well needed wash and scrub up before some nosh and quite a few beers. The toilets of the hotel were upstairs and it took a good 10 mins round trip to get there and back as the old legs had started to stiffen up quite dramatically. Still, it was worth it and I'm quite proud of the fact that we did it and managed to raise quite a bit for a good cause to boot. :ok:

3rd Apr 2004, 16:04
Thanks for all the replies and contributions. I very much appreciate all the recommendations, tips, and details of your personal experiences.

So many to ponder! Pros and cons to each, depending on the time of year, level of fitness, etc.

Thanks again -- I'll keep you updated on which one we do.

Keep up the great responses -- I look forward to reading more posts from PPRuNe walkers/hikers.

3rd Apr 2004, 16:27
Not sure I would count the Lyke Wake Walk as an enjoyable experience as there really isn't much to see up there on the North York Moors along the route. However, the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge is a very pleasant beer stop (though it was unsurprisingly shut at 5am when I crawled past). Having almost died from hypothermia due to being an inadequately equipped numpty, I dare say my experience is somewhat biased.

As ILS said, the Yorkshire 3 Peaks is a good walk with far better scenery and more challenging terrain, especially the trek up Inglebrough from Whernside.

The National 3 Peaks is OK, but the vast amount of time spent cooped up travelling and trying to get some sleep between climbs is a regular pain in the backside. If your walking is for pleasure rather than the challenge, do them separately at your leisure instead.

If you really are from the sado masochist school of walking, try the Welsh Three Thousander, that might float your boat. Again, rather spoilt for me by having a fellow walker airlifted to hospital after falling off the ridge at Garnedd Ugain - he was very lucky to only fall 20ft before hitting a ledge and landing on his backpack.:ooh:

3rd Apr 2004, 18:08
When serving her majesty several fine fellows & myself decided to do the Pennine Way in 10 days (270 miles). My recollection is wet, muddy and full of other walkers!

I would (whilst its not a long distance walk) recommend the Lharig Ghru in the Cairngorms. One word. Fantastic!


3rd Apr 2004, 20:03
I walked round the whole coast of Britain in 1986/7, a distance of nearly 5000miles, over 11 months. This included a few "official" footpaths - SW Peninsula Coast Path, Pembrokeshire Coast Path, and one in Yorkshire whose name I've forgotten. I never did the training for it that I'd planned to; I just started off slowly, and speeded up...a little bit anyway. I bought maps and things as I went, and got rid of things which turned out to be non-essential at frequent intervals. And it was lots of fun. :ok:

Since then I'ver walked the Offa's Dyke Path, and followed the River Wye from it's source to mouth...I have a photo of me drinking from the spring at its source on Plymlimon in mid-Wales.

I have a bit of knee trouble these days so don't do any really long walks, but I'm not too worried; there are loads of other things to do.

I still have a few copies of my book about the round Britain walk; pm me if you want to buy one.

3rd Apr 2004, 20:59
All these fine walks are oop north, no ones mentioned the South Downs walk or the Test Way. I believe the Test Way can be covered in a day just about but if you do it north to south it ends at the Salmon Leap, one of my local pubs, anyone up for a pint?:D
During my schooldays I took part in the Duke of Edinburghs Award. Our expedition part was in the Lake District. On the second day we planned a route that was about 15 miles long, the last few being up and down Scafell Pike. Bloody hard work but the sense of achievement when we got to the top was something I'll never forget.

3rd Apr 2004, 21:01
I take the bus. It's much quicker.:cool:


John (Gary) Cooper
3rd Apr 2004, 21:13
Eastbourne Pier to The Visitors Centre at Cuckmere Valley.

This is something I have always wanted to achieve. We started at 0930hrs from the Pier to the top of Beachy Head, refuelling stop, continued to the pub at Birling Gap for lunch but taking in all the wild flowers and those magnificent white cliffs of the Seven Sisters Country Park. I found the next stage to Cuckmere Valley gruelling to say the least but the agony was worth it for the views. We arrived at the Visitors Centre for 1645hrs for tea a trek of 10 - 12 miles or thereabouts and a bus journey back to our hotel.

Pen-y-fan in the Brecons was worth it too but that was after my two heart attacks but before my By Pass op, so if you have an inkling to do something like this, do it now. An elderly lady who was in a distressed state met us going the other way from Milldale to Dovedale and wanted to know how much further there was to go, we said she was about half way and retorted I have to do this just once whilst I can, fortunately another couple joined in the conversation and chaperoned her along.

I wish I had taken the opportunity to do all of these walks years ago.

4th Apr 2004, 16:40
Once again, many thanks for all the very useful information. I think at the moment, I'm leaning toward the Offa's Dyke Path as my next adventure (mostly because the location is convenient to where I will be already; the transportation to/from the start/end points will be easy for me to arrange). I don't think I'll do the entire walk this first go; probably just the southern half (-ish), from the Sedbury Cliffs to Knighton.

But looking at all the posts, I think I'll plan some more walks in some of the other recommended places for future years, as well. I'm going to compile all the above posts (and additional ones which follow) into a file and save it on my hard drive for reference and planning.

Whirlybird, I'd very much be interested in your Offa's Dyke Path experiences. I'm sure it wasn't nearly as challenging as your around-the-coast walk, but I'd really like to know any specific "lessons learned" from which I, and others, might benefit.

Who else has walked the Offa's Dyke Path, especially the southern bit?

6th Apr 2004, 04:09
I used to do a lot of walking when I was younger. Did the Pennine way and Coast to Coast with most of the stages on the Pennine way covered twice. Covered the first few stages of Offa's Dyke before an ankle injury forced me out. I felt as though 70% of the stiles on the UK were on the Northern part of that route. :ouch:

Of the three I'd say the Coast to Coast was the most enjoyable. As all walkers know this mainly means that the pubs on route are of a superior quality, with a particularly fine specimen generally hoving into view just as one's stomach begins to rumble. Might be an idea to book accomodation for the second night though, we walked past numerous places, all of which were full, before bedding down in a bus shelter in Grasmere without any supper (we only got in at 10:30). If you include a couple of hours of walking in the wrong direction due to my Dad's navigation that must have been a 40+ mile day with hardly any of it on the flat... The third day was a toughie too, all the way to Shap with 9 miles to do before any breakfast was to be had....

My favourite walk by far though is the Snowdon Horseshoe. Only a fair weather route (they trained for Everest on whatsitcalled during the winter) but wonderful views and strenuous climbing. Its only 8 miles but feels at least double that. Its an ideal single day walk, you never seem to get bored of it.

If anyone fancies making more of a holiday out of it then I'd heartily recommend the Camino de Santiago. You start out in the Pyrrenees and walk right the way across Northern Spain to Santiago and beyond. Its an old Pilgrimage route and you are issued with a passport which gets stamped along the way. On receipt of a passport there are various local hostelries which offer accomodation for a very nominal (100 pesetas!) fee. Don't expect luxury but it adds greatly to the experience if you acept whatever is going. Some are rustic a la Black Sail and some more comfortable, either way it gives you a great excuse to spend the money you have saved on fine wine and Brandy, which are so rediculously cheap (some of the rounds of wine came to all of 30 pesetas) that you'll be drunk half way through lunchtime and once again at night. Need I mention Rioja??

The scenery is wonderful and you see a side of Spain that few realise exists. Little villages without even a road leading into them which somehow still serve food which would be considered as exceptional if you were paying £40 for it, rather than the 600 peseta menu del daya. Lunch everyday would resemble a delicatessen's counter, Olives, cheeses, hams, wine and freshly baked bread. All cheap too...

Can get a bit warm and crowded during summertime but Easter was about perfect for the weather.

We walked past a monastery with a mural and a tap on one of its walls. Being a cantankerous ****** I had to open the tap, from which poured free wine. Free wine for the pilgrims, our water bottles were promtly emptied and a grand pissup occured a mile or so down the track. Wonderful stuff, rather good quality wine too....

Once you reach the end and present your completed passport you receive a certificate which entitles you to spend half as much time in pergutory as you deserve. That of course means twice as much sinning to be done, and one has been busy ever since. I'd love to go back some day, given the cost of flights its a very cheap holiday and, other than a memorable one in Sri Lanka, definately my favourite.

Mebbe I'll try the pilgrimage to Jerusalem some day too, walking is definately the best way to really see a country and get to know it... I reckon anyone trying out the latest fad diet should be given a stout pair of boots and sent into the hills for a week.

6th Apr 2004, 04:22
walking is definately the best way to really see a country and get to know it

Used to think that, then decided an Autogiro at a couple of hundred feet above terrain was better. Could land in most pubs back gardens. Less blisters.

Ric Capucho
6th Apr 2004, 09:15
Ahh, Mr Chaffers, Snowdon. One remembers edging along the ridge of Crib Goch one snowy Spring. The closest I've ever come to death. Fcuking madness without crampons.


6th Apr 2004, 17:02
I was up there once in apparently reasonable weather when a thunderstorm appeared. Sat on our packs with lightning passing between us and hair literally standing on end. I thought fast jets passing just overhead were loud before that.....