5 Greatest locations to hike within the UK (+ 4 Lengthy Distance Trails)

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The UK is an unimaginable place for climbing.  With over 100,000 miles of public footpaths and trails, there are countless choices for climbing all through this stunning nation.

This submit describes a number of the greatest locations to hike within the UK.  I grew up in England and have hiked extensively in all of those locations.  Whereas some are extra accessible than others, all can (at the very least theoretically) be accessed through the UK’s in depth public transport community.

However in reality, wherever you select to go to – from the picture-postcard countryside of southern England to the distant wilderness of the Scottish Highlands – one can find wonderful surroundings and climbing trails to swimsuit all ages and talents.

So pack your climbing boots and prepare for an unforgettable journey!

The Lake District

Lake with rugged green mountain in the background at the Lakes District in the UK
Lovely surroundings within the Lakes District

The Lake District is without doubt one of the hottest climbing locations within the UK and it’s simple to see why.  With its attractive surroundings, quaint little villages, cozy pubs, and an abundance of native wildlife, there actually is one thing for everybody.

The Lake District is legendary for its 16 picturesque lakes, surrounded by a number of the highest peaks in England.  It’s the second largest Nationwide Park within the UK and spans over 900 sq. miles.  Whether or not you’re on the lookout for a difficult hike or a leisurely stroll, you’ll discover it right here.

There are actually a whole bunch of climbing trails within the Lake District.  A number of the greatest embody:

  • Scafell Pike: Standing at 978 metres above sea degree, Scafell Pike is the very best mountain in England.  The hike to the summit is rocky and hard, however the views are unimaginable.  On a transparent day, you possibly can see all the Lake District and even throughout to the mountains of Snowdonia in Wales (see beneath).
  • Helvellyn: There are a number of routes as much as the summit of this mountain, starting from reasonable to arduous.  When you’re on the lookout for a problem, think about tackling the well-known Striding Edge route, which includes an exhilarating ridge stroll and a little bit of scrambling.  (Solely to be tried in good climate circumstances, and never within the winter until you’ve gotten the required expertise and tools.)
  • Buttermere Lake Loop: That is a straightforward, flat hike round Lake Buttermere.  This is without doubt one of the less-visited, quieter components of the Lake District, nevertheless it’s my favorite.  The surroundings is gorgeous and (exterior of weekends and holidays) you possibly can take pleasure in it virtually totally to your self.

The Yorkshire Dales

snow covered rocks and valleys in the Yorkshire Dales UK

The Yorkshire Dales is one other standard climbing vacation spot within the UK.  This Nationwide Park is legendary for its different surroundings, with inexperienced rolling hills, idyllic villages, lush fields and pastures, tranquil rivers, dramatic valleys, waterfalls and gorges.

You’ll see many dry stone partitions when climbing in Yorkshire, the origins of which date again to the Neolithic Age and are nonetheless used at this time to surround fields and farmland.

There are many trails to select from within the Yorkshire Dales.  My private favorite is the round hike from Malham through Gordale Scar and Malham Cove.  

This 7-mile route (which might be prolonged to 12 miles if you happen to like) takes in a stupendous waterfall (referred to as Janet’s Foss), a formidable slender limestone canyon with a waterfall (Gordale Scar), and the enduring limestone pavement on the prime of Malham Cove. 

Followers of Harry Potter would possibly recognise this as the placement of an vital scene within the Deathly Hallows Half 1 film…

When you’re seeking to push your self just a little, think about making an attempt the Three Peaks Problem.  This includes climbing up the three highest peaks within the Yorkshire Dales: Ingleborough (748 metres), Whernside (736 metres), and Pen-y-ghent (694 metres).  

It’s a reasonably standard problem with each locals and guests alike, and many individuals try to finish it in below 12 hours.

In fact, if you happen to’d desire one thing just a little extra chilled and manageable, you may all the time choose one of many three peaks.  Every has a very good path to their summit and the views from the highest of all three are glorious.

The Isle of Skye

jagged mountain ranges with a lake in the foreground on the Isle of Skye UK
The beautiful ISle of Skye

Situated off the north-west coast of Scotland, the wild and rugged Isle of Skye is residence to some actually epic hikes.  The most important island of the Inside Hebrides, Skye has no scarcity of dramatic landscapes, with jagged mountains, an untamed shoreline, and breathtaking vistas.

The most well-liked climbing trails on Skye can change into pretty busy, particularly throughout weekends and public holidays.  If potential attempt to keep away from these occasions if you happen to desire peace and solitude.  That stated, it’s nonetheless pretty simple to get off the crushed observe, particularly if you happen to’re on the lookout for longer and tougher hikes.

Scotland’s wild camping laws imply that you’re allowed to camp within the wilderness in most locations all through Scotland.  Importantly, these legal guidelines don’t cowl tenting in/with a car.  

However when you’ve got a good tent, spending an evening or two within the wilderness is without doubt one of the greatest methods to immerse your self in Scotland’s pure magnificence.  Simply bear in mind to be accountable, thoughtful, and go away no hint.

A number of the greatest locations for climbing on the Isle of Skye embody:

  • The Previous Man of Storr: It’s a reasonably quick and sharp climb from the parking space as much as the “Previous Man” – a big pinnacle jutting out of the mountainside.  Legend has it that this well-known landmark is all that continues to be of an enormous who used to stay within the space… Both manner, the views from the highest throughout to the mainland and the mountains of Torridon are merely unimaginable.
  • The Quiraing: This distinctive and otherworldly plateau was fashioned by an historic landslide.  It’s a spectacular place to hike, with jagged pinnacles, unusual rock formations and hidden valleys.  The hike itself is kind of quick, however might be difficult in locations, with steep drop-offs and free rocks.
  • The Fairy Swimming pools: Some of the standard trails on the Isle of Skye.  This simple path takes you to a collection of crystal-clear freshwater swimming pools, fed by a number of waterfalls.  If you wish to lengthen the hike, there are many choices.  You may proceed upstream to the supply of the waterfalls, or comply with one of many many paths that criss-cross the decrease slopes of the jagged Black Cuillin mountains.


mountain view from the summit of Mt Snowdon in Snowdonia Wales
View from the summit of Mt Snowdon | Deposit Pictures

Snowdonia is a big, mountainous Nationwide Park in north Wales.  House to the very best mountain in Wales, Mount Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh), Snowdonia is one other incredible place for climbing.

With spectacular surroundings and a wide range of trails, it’s excellent for each skilled hikers and inexperienced persons alike.

For a lot of, climbing Snowdon itself is a giant draw.  Nonetheless, there are a number of completely different routes, starting from reasonable to difficult.   

The Miner’s Observe is without doubt one of the best (and hottest) trails to the summit.  This well-marked path begins off very gently, passing a few picturesque lakes earlier than ascending extra steeply through a collection of zig-zags.

When you’re on the lookout for one thing tougher, think about tackling the Snowdon Horseshoe.  This route first climbs as much as the summit of Crib Goch, after which follows a particularly uncovered knife-edge ridge all the best way alongside to the shoulder of Snowdon.  After summiting Snowdon, you proceed alongside to the third and last peak – Y Lliwedd – earlier than an extended descent.

The east face and north ridge of Crib Goch with mount Snowdon in the distance, located in the Snowdonia National Park, Wales, UK
Crib Goch Ridge | Supply Deposit Pictures

Be aware: Crib Goch is rated as a grade 1 scramble, which signifies that it is advisable to use your palms to climb sure sections.  

Though these sections usually are not significantly troublesome, in some locations there are near-vertical drops down a whole bunch of metres, and the implications of falling (or being blown) off might be very extreme, even deadly.  Solely try this route in good climate circumstances.  You’ll want a head for heights!

Glenfinnan (residence of the Harry Potter railway viaduct)

Harry Potter Railway viaduct going through Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands
What a stupendous scene.

Glenfinnan is a small village within the Scottish Highlands.  Right here one can find a surprising railway viaduct that has featured in a number of well-known films and TV exhibits.  (One other one for the Harry Potter followers:  you’ll most likely recognise this place too!)

As well as, this stunning nook of the Highlands has some unimaginable climbing trails.  There’s an enormous vary, from quick and straightforward walks to very strenuous multi-day treks.

A superb quick route is the Glenfinnan Viaduct Path.  This gives excellent views of the viaduct (from above and beneath), in addition to the picturesque Loch Shiel and surrounding mountains.

For knowledgeable and match hikers who’re on the lookout for a difficult multi-day trek, Glenfinnan can also be the start line of the arduous three-day hike to Inverie, on the distant peninsula of Knoydart.  

Also known as the “Tough Bounds” this is without doubt one of the final true wilderness areas within the UK.  You’ll have to deliver tenting gear and all provides with you as there’s nowhere to restock en route.

the hiking trail into Knoydart in Glenfinnan in the the Scottish Highlands
Knoydart climbing path

The hike into Knoydart is admittedly epic.  Nonetheless, I’d solely suggest making an attempt this when the climate is nice.  I attempted it earlier this yr, however needed to flip again on day 2 as a result of, after a chronic interval of heavy rain, one of many rivers had risen so excessive that it was impassable… I’ll positively be again for an additional try quickly although!

Glenfinnan can also be pretty near Ben Nevis, which at 1,345 metres is the very best mountain in Scotland (and the UK).  The primary route up Ben Nevis is a extremely popular hike and begins from the small city of Fort William.  

To be trustworthy, this isn’t my favorite climbing path, because it’s almost all the time busy and may really feel fairly crowded.  However, if you wish to climb the tallest mountain within the UK, go for it.

Lengthy distance climbing trails within the UK

Pennine Way hiking trail through the mountains in the UK

The UK is residence to some unimaginable lengthy distance climbing trails, that are among the many hottest and scenic in all of Europe.

These embody:

  • The Pennine Manner: Some of the standard lengthy distance climbing trails within the UK.  The path runs for 268 miles from Derbyshire in England all the best way as much as the Scottish Borders in Scotland. The part of the Pennine Manner that runs alongside Hadrian’s Wall is without doubt one of the hottest.
  • Hadrian’s Wall Path: An 84-mile coast-to-coast path stretching throughout one of many narrowest sections of northern England, from Wallsend in Northumberland to Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria.  The path largely runs alongside Hadrian’s Wall, the ruins of an historic Roman wall constructed virtually 2,000 years in the past (in AD 122) to defend the Roman Empire from barbarians north of the wall.
  • The West Highland Manner:  In all probability probably the most well-known (and standard) long-distance climbing path in Scotland.  Stretching 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William, this unimaginable path passes by an enormous number of surroundings, together with the picturesque shores of Loch Lomond and the dramatic wilderness of Glencoe.
  • The South-West Coastal Path: A particularly long-distance path that runs 630 miles (!) all the best way across the coast of south-west England, from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset.  When you don’t fancy tackling all the distance (and I wouldn’t blame you), the part between Exmouth and Poole (often known as the Jurassic Coast) is without doubt one of the most spectacular.  Right here you’ll take pleasure in beautiful coastal views and loads of alternatives for wildlife recognizing.

Suggestions for climbing within the UK

two hikers on a rocky trail in the north west highlands
Mountaineering within the North West Highlands

Mountaineering is an effective way to discover the UK.  There are millions of miles of trails to find, and irrespective of the place you’re within the nation, you’re by no means too removed from a stupendous hike.

Nonetheless, there are some things it’s best to consider. 

Firstly, ensure you have a very good map.  The Ordnance Survey produces extraordinarily detailed topographical maps of each inch of the UK, so that you’ll by no means get misplaced.  (And paper maps by no means run out of battery!)

Secondly, pack appropriately for the climate.  The climate within the UK might be unpredictable, so it’s all the time greatest to be ready for rain, solar and every part in between.

Thirdly, concentrate on your environment and follow the marked trails.  Within the UK, there are various “rights of manner” which permit hikers to entry sure areas, nevertheless it’s vital to stay to the designated footpaths.

Lastly, if you happen to’re planning to hike in distant areas, ensure you inform any person else the place you’ll be, and have a plan for getting residence.  Public transport might be restricted in rural areas, so it’s all the time greatest to have a backup plan.

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Remark: The place do you like to go climbing within the UK? Any secret trails or tricks to share?

5 Best places to hike in the UK (+ 4 Long Distance Trails)

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