Types of walk.
Thank you for listening and welcome to my second podcast,
Today I’m going to be giving you a whistle-stop tour of the types of walking that are available to families.
In my opinion, the ultimate walk is to conquer a mountain, and sometimes several in one day.
You wouldn’t really start your walking adventures going up mountains, not with children anyway. So, like anything; start small and build up.
The walks that I recommend doing as a family; fall into several categories and almost every walk that I recommend will have a circular route where you start and finish at your four-wheeled basecamp; your car.
Every walk will have good views or some form of adventure (else why do it)
Since the right to roam came about, you can now access the majority of the countryside in the UK. There are still parts where you are not allowed though, but most national parks and forests are fine, if you are at all unsure, google it.
A walk that I’ll recommend will be a well-trodden route, it may include several different environments which will often follow or cross over a river, and the best start and end at a car park with a café, or country pub nearby.
Countryside: Archetypal rolling green hills, lambs, bluebells, oak trees, and turnstiles. Most of the UK countryside has been tamed over millennia by agriculture. This has introduced a massive benefit for ramblers in the form of paths, access roads, drystone walls, turnstiles and well pruned and drained hillsides. Wherever you go remember there is a poor farmer that will go further than you, in all weathers to salvage a lost sheep.
Moorland/Heath: these are vast open areas, with little in the way of features other than heather, gorse, bogs, and fog. Not my favourite environment as there is often not too much to see, there is no shelter from the elements and it’s easy to get lost in the frequent fog.
Trails: Trails are generally managed walks; which means there is a society or estate tending to the route. You often find that there is a well-maintained carpark at the start of the trail, often with clean toilets and a map of the walk. On the route itself will be; safe, well-maintained paths, stairways, bridges, vegetation, and waterways. A trail is one of the absolute best ways to get your family into walking. Many of England’s trails are managed by ‘The National Trust’.
As trails are maintained they require funding, and lots of volunteers to operate. Some trails have tolls or voluntary suggested contributions, others have elevated carpark fees.
Woodland: We are lucky in England to have so much woodland, and it can be found in, or near every town and city. Woodland can be great to walk through for its natural beauty and rejuvenating properties. Unfortunately, most woods close to towns and cities are blighted with dog dirt. It’s a bugbear of mine; as it looks terrible and is a health hazard especially when you are walking with your kids. Although a public place; woodland is an exception to the dog fouling law, so tread carefully.
Mountains: In the UK a mountain is considered as land over 2,000 feet or 610 Meters above sea level. The official government height is 600M when considering access. Several definitions also stipulate that a mountain must have a drop off of at least 30M in all directions to separate it from adjacent summits.
At 600M you will get exceptional views of the surrounding area, and a great sense of achievement.
I’m not a religious person but it is hard not to find it heavenly when among the god-like mountains with their majesty and serine reverence. Whether religious, spiritual, or neither there is something awe-inspiring; about been on top of a formidable elevation.
As far as walks go, trekking up mountains is generally the most physically demanding. Depending on the mountain and path you chose; the assent paths can vary from meticulously paved, well-maintained walkways, and staircases, to scrambles where you must use hands and feet, through to very narrow dirt paths clinging to the mountainside with ‘no second chance’ drops. This type of walk demands decent hiking clothes, a rucksack, and tough boots. You would not attempt a mountain without doing several low-level walks in all weathers, especially with kids.
Ridges: A ridge is often a part of a mountain ascent path; where if the mountain was say a dinosaur, the ridge would be its sharp spine traveling up its back. Most ridges span from part way up a mountain to its summit or from mountain to mountain. Some ridges may be a nice path with space either side, some are narrow paths with great drops either side. The most dangerous are where a path gives way to a knife-edge spine of pure rock where the only way to traverse it is to straddle it. Due to their very dangerous nature, I will not be covering ridges on The Walking Dad.
Caves: If you’re adventurous and not claustrophobic there are an abundance of caves in North Yorkshire, and the lakes. Some are natural, and some are man-made; caverns, tunnels, and shafts from historic mining activities. I’ve been in dozens; either with organised parties, friends who know them well or by myself with my family. Caves are magnificent, wondrous places with outstanding natural, primordial beauty; they have amazing forms, colours, features and unique wildlife. However, they can literally be hellishly dangerous if you don’t know 100% how to approach them. Aside from alcove type caves where you don’t need additional headlamps; I will be writing little to nothing concerning caves as The Walking Dad, purely and simply as the risk is too great. If you are interested contact a pot-holing group, an outward-bound centre, or visit one of many places that offer guided mine tours.
There you have it, so check out my website or google good family walks near you.
In the next podcast, I’ll be talking about the cost of walking.
I’ve been the Walking Dad, thanks for listening, please like and subscribe …
Get out walking and carry-on being awesome dads.