How do self-guided walking holidays work?
Self-guided walking holidays are holidays on which you make your way along a pre-determined route following route notes and a map. Typical instructions would be along the lines of: “Turn right at the T-junction. After 250 metres climb over the stile on the right and enter the wood. Keep straight on through the trees for 500 metres, ignoring any side paths. At the gate…” The most rewarding self-guided walking holidays are ones that go from village to village, staying in different accommodation along the way.
What are the advantages of self-guided walking holidays?
The main advantage of self-guided walking holidays is that you choose who you walk with: with a travelling companion, by yourself, or with a few friends or family members. Another major advantage is that you can walk at a pace that suits you. Not just that, but you can set off when you want each morning, rest as often as you like, take as long as you like over your picnic, and decide which, if any, detours or visits to places of interest you make along the way. If all that weren’t enough, on organised self-guided walking holidays your luggage is transported where necessary, so you only need to carry with you the essentials for the day.
What do I need to pack for a self-guided walking holiday in the UK?
The essentials for a self-guided walking holiday in the UK are good waterproofs and comfortable, worn-in walking boots or shoes. What you pack clothes-wise will depend partly on the season, but good advice at any time of year is to take a range of layers (of breathable, fast-drying material) with you for your top half so that you are prepared for varying temperatures. For your bottom half, walking trousers and/or shorts with lots of pockets are a good idea. You’ll also want an outfit or two, along with alternative footwear, for the evening.
In terms of non-clothing items, you’ll need:
• rucksack (large enough to carry your picnic, waterproofs and the items below)
• water bottle
• high-energy snacks
• route notes and map(s)
• (sun) hat
• basic first-aid kit
• sun cream
• insect repellent
The following are useful, but not essential: walking poles, especially if the route involves regular ascents and descents and/or uneven ground; a map holder so that your map (and route notes) are easily accessible, and stay dry in the rain; and a GPS device.