At the beginning of August, my dog and I walked part of the Cumbria Coastal Path with friends, averaging 7 miles a day. We camped about halfway along the Path. I was so looking forward to it, fresh air, a chance to camp out, good exercise, time to slow down and not think about work & everything else going on that I call life.
I knew that we would not always be able to walk to the start of each day’s section, but that didn’t matter, it was going to be exciting, exhilarating and simply good fun with good company.
The first day was great, so exciting, as we buzzed along the trail. It was a bit windy, but nothing too hard going.
The second day was very different!! It rained and the wind blew – making the rain horizontal! I was wet, my dog was wet, my friends were wet. We couldn’t hold a conversation! It was a case of head down and push on. The views were out there somewhere but we couldn’t see anything. We looked forward to saying hello to the people we met along the path, but not today – there was no one out, maybe they had more sense!! There were no cafes to get a coffee and a bit of respite, not even a public loo to shelter in for a bit. It was the longest 7 miles of the trip.
The night was very long too as the rain didn’t stop and then, we had wet boots to look forward to in the morning. Things did improve a bit and we arrived in Carlisle with smiles on our faces as we had completed the walk, had managed a few conversations with people, learned a lot about the area which resulted in stories to tell, once home, with our weather worn faces. It had been so worth it.
Such is the reality of long-distance walking!
When taking on long-distance walks, there are a number of things to consider, as it definitely will have its challenges and forearmed is always forewarned!
There is something about getting up every day and facing 6 – 12 miles of walking, often over mixed terrain. As someone once said to me as I scrambled over boulders on a trail, ‘you don’t take this long walking up the high street!’ They had a point. It may take longer than you think when walking and you’ll need to concentrate on where to put your feet. Be aware that there may be some road walking, often linking paths together, and whilst this may be a bit ‘tedious’ it is part of the trail. Sometimes, the trails don’t have signposts at every junction, sometimes they do but they are hidden by undergrowth or weathered, so always keep a check on where you are walking. Maximum Adventure provides a guidebook with details of the trails, distances and ascents are to be used as a guide and it may be good to get an additional map and for some people, downloaded gpx files are a must. Just to flag, it’s not wise just to rely on your phone as the signal may not always be reliable.
- Train before taking on the walk.
- Have good footwear that have been broken in with good support for your ankles. Don’t forget, good socks to avoid rubs & blisters.
- Download onto your phone any map apps you will need and take a backup charger/power bank.
- Research where you are going and buy additional maps if needed.
There will be long distances without shops or supplies. That’s part of the appeal of long-distance walks – they take us away from the ‘rat race of life’, so you will need to take lots of snacks & fluids with you, especially if hot, to keep you going between settlements, bearing in mind that not all settlements will have shops. Think carefully about what to take as you will be burning up lots of calories, so always take extra – a good excuse to eat the calories that you would normally avoid!
- Check the route, gauge where there may be opportunities to purchase supplies.
- Take extra as already mentioned, the walking may take longer than you think!
- Take your favourite snacks with you as the back of beyond places may not stock them!!
Wherever you stay, the room & bed will not be like yours at home. At Maximum Adventure, our aim is always to get a good standard and welcoming accommodation, as we recognise that after a day’s walk, you want a comfy bed for a good night’s sleep. We have found that this is somewhat subjective! The standard of accommodation is as varied as the people taking the trips and one person’s idea of luxury can be another person’s ordinary! When embarking on the long-distance walks, this needs to be a consideration. A well-walked trail in the south of England may offer a very different interpretation of standard of accommodation to a trail across the outer islands of Scotland. And do you know, that’s OK, it’s what contributes to making the trails different and immerses you into culture of the area. It might be worth putting a bar of soap and toothpaste into your luggage in case the accommodation doesn’t provide it. You might not get en-suite facilities in some areas, but we look for private bathrooms, which may be along the hall. BUT, let me say again, at Maximum Adventure… our aim is always to get nice accommodation, as we recognise that after a day’s walk, you want a comfy bed for a good night’s sleep.
- The room and bed are not like yours at home. You may be staying in someone’s home and if we hadn’t had good feedback, we wouldn’t have booked it!
- Many places don’t have 3* & 4* standard hotels, and what is available may be the only accommodation en-route.
- Let us know if you need en-suite facilities, we do understand.
Taxi & Luggage Transfers
Maximum Adventure is a company that arranges walking holidays (as well as cycling ones!) Our aim is to enable you to walk from accommodation to accommodation. Sometimes, there is limited accommodation and sometimes limited availability, for example, over bank & school holidays. When the two happen together, we may transfer you to your overnight accommodation locally. We can also offer to change dates, we look to flex the route, we even look to new accommodation providers, but sometimes a transfer is the best solution. We look for collection points where you can shelter if it’s raining or get a drink while you wait. We give an estimated time of arrival, which is gauged by our experienced walkers and taxi drivers, and this might be a good time to mention, that, within our final details that you receive around 2 weeks prior to the walk, the timings and contact details for the taxis are noted.
- Sometimes it’s best to use a transfer to retain the integrity of the trip.
- The cost of a transfer may sometimes be considered a bit high, but for areas such as Scotland, the distances by foot may be 10 miles, but by road can be a lot more, as they meander around mountains and lochs!
- Please limit your luggage weight to the amount noted in your final details, and let us know if you need to bring another bag and we can book it in.
Maximum Adventure send these out to you around 2 weeks before your trip. This gives you some general information, including whether you should have received your guidebook or collect it from the accommodation, information about maps, if taxis are needed, with the provider, pick up times and collection points, who is doing your luggage transfers with contact details, the booking details for the accommodation, booking reference, address, email and phone number. It also confirms the room arrangement, information about packed lunches & evening meals and check in & out times, along with safety tips and out of hours contact information. It is important that you read it before your trip so that you are aware of what you need to do before you leave.
- Read through the final details and pack them for your trip.
- Do evening meals and packed lunches need ordering before arriving at the accommodation? Do you have special food requirements? Might it be a good idea anyway, to touch base with the accommodation.
- Check in & check out times are important to note. If your timings change and you need to get there a bit earlier, let your accommodation provider know. From our experience, they are really happy to help if the can.
- If timings change or you want to change pick up point, let the taxi company know – be mindful that they are busy although we know that they will do everything they can to help.
At Maximum Adventure, our aim is to give you the greatest holiday, filled with amazing experiences and the happiest memories and best stories to come home with. The above is all part of helping us achieve that.