Climbing may be number one on the hobby list for many of us, but typically hiking isn’t that far behind as we try to maximise our adventure time.
In the UK we’re blessed to have some of the most stunning long distance hiking routes. So to help you plan for UK based adventure holidays in the future we’ve pulled together five of our favourite routes to get you inspired. From week-long wanderings to mammoth month-long trips, there’s something to suit everyone. But don’t feel like you need to complete these routes in one trip, the beauty of many of the UK’s long distances routes is that they can be split into shorter chunks.
Before you choose to venture out of the door on these hikes, or indeed any others, please make sure you are doing so in line with the latest advice for your region. Lockdown restrictions are being lifted in different ways in different parts of the UK.
1. Hebridean Way
In the wildest reaches of the British Isles, the Hebridean Way takes in 252km of trails across 10 islands in the outer Hebrides. If you’re looking for endless variety and exceptional wilderness then this is the route for you. Expect to take in vast sandy beaches, cliff top vistas, towering mountains and remote lochs as you hop along causeways and venture forward on ferries. If you’re lucky you might event see a rare Golden Eagle.
Distance – 252km
Time – 14 days on average
Is there climbing nearby – From mighty mountain routes to seaside crags there’s climbing to suit all in the Outer Hebrides. The islands of Lewis and Harris have the most variety.
2. Tour of the Lake District
England’s largest national park never fails to take your breath away and it should be on every hiker or climber’s list to visit. This circular trail takes in some of the region’s best loved peaks, providing 146km of Lake District perfection with endless mountain tops and crystal clear tarns, perfect for a quick dip on a hot day. We also love that there are so many variations that you can choose to make it harder or easier depending how you feel.
Distance – 146km
Time – 8 days on average
Is there climbing nearby – Some of the UK’s most iconic routes can be found in the Lake District, you won’t be short of choices here.
3. The Ulster Way
If you’ve got a spare three or four weeks to dedicate to a trail, why not take on the Ulster Way, a 1,000km circular route which takes in the six counties of Northern Ireland. Taking on this challenge will reward you with visits to some of the most iconic natural wonders Northern Ireland has to offer, such as the Giant’s Causeway, along with some steep inclines through both the Sperrin and Mourne mountains.
Distance – 1,000km
Time – 25 to 30 days on average depending how you follow the route
Is there climbing nearby – The Ulster Way passes through the Mourne Mountains, Ireland’s largest mountain climbing area, it’s home to over 20 distinct crags and more than a thousand trad routes.
4. The Snowdonia Way
Snowdonia has an incredible rugged beauty and The Snowdonia Way is the only long distance route which winds its way through the glaciated valleys of this national park. Despite being one of the newer routes on our list, it certainly still packs a punch, rewarding trekkers with never-ending vistas and views across the mountains and valleys. Something we really like about this route is that it has a low level and high level, so you can choose between winding through the valley floor or incorporating some of the region’s best-known summits, such as Tryfan.
Distance – 156km
Time – 6 to 9 days on average
Is there climbing nearby – Snowdonia caters to every type of climbing imaginable, but it’s one of the few places where you can climb on slate so it’s worth a visit to the quarries if you’ve got time.
5. South West Coast Path
This list wouldn’t be complete without the arguably best-known of all UK multi-day hikes, the South West Coast Path. Covering 1,013km, the South West Coast path is hugely popular, but despite being busy, it will never disappoint, delivering breathtaking views across the English coastline. The Coast Path is particularly special as it passes through a number of National Nature Reserves and Heritage Coasts, five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, two World Heritage Sites, a UNESCO designated Biosphere reserve and a Geopark, as well as one National Park. So if sunny days and salty sea air tick your boxes then make sure you add this route to your adventure plans.
Distance – 1,013km
Time – 46 days on average
Is there climbing nearby – The south coast features some of the most iconic sea cliff climbing in the UK. The route also runs directly past Berry Head near Torbay which has some of the finest deep water soloing in the UK.
Do you have a favourite hiking route? Tell us about it in the comments!
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