Planning UK Walking Adventure Ideas

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That's an awesome list of walking routes, not sure how many would fit your criteria of "mini expedition" though: for example the South West Coast path is about 650 miles, most of which are pretty steep, definitely not something I'd want to tackle in any kind of "bushcraft" style.

How much time do you have to devote to the trip?

I was thinking 5 days to a week, but I do have a pretty flexible job at the moment so I could take more or less time off.
I figure that even if I don't do a whole route, I can still pick up pieces of it here and there. I tend to be more about the
journey (the walking) than the destination (being able to say I did the whole route).
 

mousey

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
2,210
253
39
NE Scotland
That's an awesome list of walking routes, not sure how many would fit your criteria of "mini expedition" though: for example the South West Coast path is about 650 miles, most of which are pretty steep, definitely not something I'd want to tackle in any kind of "bushcraft" style.

How much time do you have to devote to the trip?


Are you sure the South downs way is 650 miles? I though the Pennine was the longest route in UK and is substantially less than that, 270 IIRC?
 

mousey

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
2,210
253
39
NE Scotland
Great, thanks all.
So far I have:
  • Chesterfield loop 45-50 miles
  • Carlisle to Newcastle along Hadrians wall 55 miles
  • Pennine Way 270 miles
  • South Downs Way 100 miles
  • Ridgeway Path 87 miles
  • Thetford Forest ??
  • Dartmoor ??
  • Pembroke Coast Path 186 miles
  • Offa's Dyke 177 miles
  • Lyke Wake Walk 40 miles
  • Anglesey Coastal Path 125 miles
  • South East Coast Path 192 miles
  • Llanwrytd Wells to Dolgoch Bunkhouse ??
  • Leeds to Liverpool along the canals 127 miles
  • Serpent's Way 64 miles
  • Coast to Coast 192 miles
  • North Norfolk Path 84 miles
Time for some research I think, I will pop back here when I'm done to let you know which route I'm going for.
Got a bit off googling done to try and find the lengths of these ideas...
 

shaggystu

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 10, 2003
4,345
30
Derbyshire
Are you sure the South downs way is 650 miles? I though the Pennine was the longest route in UK and is substantially less than that, 270 IIRC?

I'm relatively certain that the South Downs way is considerably shorter than 650 miles, however, the South West Coast Path is ;)
 

shaggystu

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 10, 2003
4,345
30
Derbyshire
I'm relatively certain that the South Downs way is considerably shorter than 650 miles, however, the South West Coast Path is ;)

Oh wait, I think I made the initial mistake here, I read South Downs as South West, you read South West as South Downs, we're both just as right as we are wrong, I need more coffee!

Apparently the official mileage for the South West Coast Path is 630, six times the length of the South Downs way: it'd be a great mix up at the planning stage.
 

mousey

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
2,210
253
39
NE Scotland
Oh wait, I think I made the initial mistake here, I read South Downs as South West, you read South West as South Downs, we're both just as right as we are wrong, I need more coffee!

Apparently the official mileage for the South West Coast Path is 630, six times the length of the South Downs way: it'd be a great mix up at the planning stage.

Oh Dear - I had to read your reply a couple of times to get that worked out in my head.... :) yes more coffee sounds like a good idea!

Edit
/////////////
Well that's a new one to me, I thought the Pennine was the longest in UK, That's the thing I'll learn today, I'll just have to work on remembering it!
 
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Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,259
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Cape Wrath Trail, the finest walking route the UK has to offer :)

Not ideal for hammocks but doable, the far north sections would be better with a tent or tarp/bivvy setup
 
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Artic Bob

Member
Feb 1, 2018
39
25
Marches
i'd echo @Bishop - the Great Green Desert from the north of Llandovery to Dollgellau - coach or train will get you to either, and theres the best part of 100 miles of not much between them.

there are the two hostels at Dolgoch and Ty'n Cornel around Lyn Brianne in the south, and then 5 bothies between the Abergeswyn Mountain road, Rhayader and Devils Bridge - and huge expanses of rarely visted areas of forest and some small wooded valleys to camp in.

a walking adventure isn't something that lends itself to lots of bushcraft and camp building, but a pleasent, gentle (if sometimes quite hard work, particularly the area between Moel Prysgau bothy and the Tiefi Pools) mooch through empty countryside would be a good opportunity to work on stringing up a basha, building and keeping a fire, general camp discipline as well as the more hillwalking skills like navigation, route finding, packing, gear selection etc..

i spend quite a bit of time in that area - sometimes i use the bothies, sometimes i camp out, but i rarely meet many people, so i can pretty much do what i like - even some naked rambling!
 
Hi all, an update on my planning process.

After a lot of research, deliberation and discussions with various others and a broadening of my search, I narrowed my choices down to:
  • The Pennine Way - Good amount of challenge and relatively quiet
  • Cumbria Way - Good for people starting out and looking for a short trip.
  • West Highland Way - Long route plus great scenery.
  • East Highland Way - Quieter Scottish route.
After deciding that midges must at least be experienced once (really asking for it now) and looking at ease of access and wild camping I settled on the West Highland Way. I figure it'll really challenge me and give me the chance to wild camp along the way.

So far I have printed off a map of the entire route (OS maps 7 day trial FTW) and I'm looking to see how far I can realistically travel in one day and how many days to book off. I am also looking at whether it would be possible to hammock the entire way, just finding the Black Mountain area a little difficult.

So if anyone else could offer some advice on:
  • Availability of trees
  • How people usually pace their trips
  • Experience using a Brown filter bag
  • Appropriate temperature sleeping bag for Scotland in May
  • Any other tips and tricks for WHW
I would really appreciate it.

Thanks again for the advice and ideas,
Bracken

p.s. found https://ramblingman.org.uk/ and http://londonhiker.com/ quite useful with deciding on a route.
 

Old Bones

Settler
Oct 14, 2009
740
63
East Anglia
If it's Scotland and midges, then Walk Scotland is a good place to start. When we were up there some years ago, my wife bought a load of Avon stuff to deal with the midges, but we didnt see one! All the stores seemed to stock it, so it's something you don't have to load up on before you go, but midges nets seem to be a good idea. I got really cheap ones from my then local surplus place.

We went to Scotland in July - and the day we arrived it was like November and we had to go to the Inverness Miller's to grab gloves and warm hats for us all. Two days later it was 25 degrees, and the next day after that it was blowing a 30mph gale. So the short answer for May is 'goodness knows. But a 3 to 4 season bag is the sort of thing I would be packing, and perhaps leaning more towards the four.
 

mousey

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
2,210
253
39
NE Scotland
I go for 2 miles an hour for ten hours a day as a general rule so 20 miles a day on a flat map. Worked quite well when younger as I'd walk quicker but the terrain was harsher, and works well enough now as I walk slower but over easier terrain :)

It's nice to have a schedule but don't beat yourself up if you don't keep to it.

Take plenty of photos and write up about it so I can live vicariously through your experiences :)
 
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Artic Bob

Member
Feb 1, 2018
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the West Highland Way will not be quiet in May, not only that but given the number of people walking it and the litter/mess they produce means that 'bushcrafting it' instead of using the more recognised overnighting spots is far less tolerated than it might be 5 miles either side of the route.

the area from Bridge of Orchy north is devoid of trees, or any other cover. from the top end of Loch Lomond to Bridge of Orchy its only forestry blocks - they are not nice places - dark, dank and absolutely rammed solid with midges. i'm trying to think what circumstances would convince me to sleep in one and the only idea i can come up with is a 3 day blizzard...

snow in the west highlands in May is not unusual - but neither is 25c.

i would say that the WHW is about the least bushcrafty, the most popular, most constrained route of all the ones you listed. its a fantastic walk, but its not a bushcrafty, alone-in-the-wilderness adventure - and if you're carrying all your gear, and it being bushcraft gear, rather than high-speen, low-drag hillwalking gear, then it will be very, very hard work.

my advice, genuine, done it advice? find another plan.
 
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Toddy

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Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,267
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S. Lanarkshire
If you do decide to do the West Highland Way, then Himself, who walks chunks of it as his day walk, says mind ticks and midgies, and buy a Beaton's Midge jacket, and decent tick removal tools....and clothing that prevents them getting inside if possible.
It's not just ticks, but keds, which are a larger version but can infest deer. So where there are deer there are keds, and they're big and they bite humans too.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipoptena_cervi

That apart, they're only a nuisance if you're not prepared for them, and the walk is beautiful :)

M
 
the West Highland Way will not be quiet in May, not only that but given the number of people walking it and the litter/mess they produce means that 'bushcrafting it' instead of using the more recognised overnighting spots is far less tolerated than it might be 5 miles either side of the route.

the area from Bridge of Orchy north is devoid of trees, or any other cover. from the top end of Loch Lomond to Bridge of Orchy its only forestry blocks - they are not nice places - dark, dank and absolutely rammed solid with midges. i'm trying to think what circumstances would convince me to sleep in one and the only idea i can come up with is a 3 day blizzard...

snow in the west highlands in May is not unusual - but neither is 25c.

i would say that the WHW is about the least bushcrafty, the most popular, most constrained route of all the ones you listed. its a fantastic walk, but its not a bushcrafty, alone-in-the-wilderness adventure - and if you're carrying all your gear, and it being bushcraft gear, rather than high-speen, low-drag hillwalking gear, then it will be very, very hard work.

my advice, genuine, done it advice? find another plan.

I'm always happy to take advice from people who have walked the walk and I am still open to changes of plan. I don't mind the trip being less 'bushcrafty' and do have bits and pieces of lightweight equipment, however, the picture you paint does sound more unappealing. Is there anywhere else in Scotland that you may be able to recommend to trek and hammock that is less 'touristy'?
 
If it's Scotland and midges, then Walk Scotland is a good place to start. When we were up there some years ago, my wife bought a load of Avon stuff to deal with the midges, but we didnt see one! All the stores seemed to stock it, so it's something you don't have to load up on before you go, but midges nets seem to be a good idea. I got really cheap ones from my then local surplus place.

We went to Scotland in July - and the day we arrived it was like November and we had to go to the Inverness Miller's to grab gloves and warm hats for us all. Two days later it was 25 degrees, and the next day after that it was blowing a 30mph gale. So the short answer for May is 'goodness knows. But a 3 to 4 season bag is the sort of thing I would be packing, and perhaps leaning more towards the four.

Yep, that's what I have heard, will be packing at least one set of winter clothing.

If you do decide to do the West Highland Way, then Himself, who walks chunks of it as his day walk, says mind ticks and midgies, and buy a Beaton's Midge jacket, and decent tick removal tools....and clothing that prevents them getting inside if possible.
It's not just ticks, but keds, which are a larger version but can infest deer. So where there are deer there are keds, and they're big and they bite humans too.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipoptena_cervi

That apart, they're only a nuisance if you're not prepared for them, and the walk is beautiful :)

M

I will look into those, thanks.

I go for 2 miles an hour for ten hours a day as a general rule so 20 miles a day on a flat map. Worked quite well when younger as I'd walk quicker but the terrain was harsher, and works well enough now as I walk slower but over easier terrain :)

It's nice to have a schedule but don't beat yourself up if you don't keep to it.

Take plenty of photos and write up about it so I can live vicariously through your experiences :)

I plan to take plenty of photos but still debating whether to lug my big camera with me for convenience and quality of pictures.



To be honest, based on my last walk, 5km per hour sounds quite rapid. Will at least use the terrain modification for timekeeping.
 

mousey

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
2,210
253
39
NE Scotland
Is there anywhere else in Scotland that you may be able to recommend to trek and hammock that is less 'touristy'?

Great Glen Way, East highland Way, The Rob Roy Way. Spey Way.

I haven't walked any of them - so I don't know hammocking suitablilty - but they are generally close to the WHW, I've fancied doing the spey for awhile now as it's one of the closer ones to me but don't have the time. Another closer one to me is the Buchan and Formatine Way, which starts at Aberdeen so it is easy to get to.
 

richy3333

Full Member
Jan 23, 2017
218
55
Far NW Scoootland
Forget the WHW and just get up to the west coast to avoid the people/hikers. Walk close to the coast and the midges will be ney bother. May is normally a good month for weather. Coastal foraging and camping. Clean water easily purifyed to use. There’s often little clumps of woodland about to hammock in.
 
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