(And reasons to persuade that pesky gremlin on your shoulder that you are ready to come out walking, whatever your fitness level or budget!)

The Peak District got its name for a reason! However, for each Open Walk, I list a full description of the planned distance, elevation gain and difficulty level. You should then be able to assess for yourself if joining a ‘strenuous’ walk may be a little above your fitness level. After all, you’ll want to enjoy it! If you’re unsure about what type of walk would be suitable for you and your friends/ family, please get in touch and I’ll suggest an appropriate walk for you.

If you hire me as a private guide, I will tailor a walk to your ability level as well as taking your goals into consideration. So, whether you want a leisurely, flat stroll along rivers or you want to gain 1,000 m of elevation in preparation for your trekking trip to the French Alps, WildWays can help.

I would recommend that you wear study walking boots with ankle support when you come on a longer, more strenuous walk with me. That said, on more leisurely, flat walks, a comfortable pair of trainers may be suitable. There’s no need to splash out and buy a top-end option of walking boots at £180 as plenty of outdoor retailers stock cheaper brands starting from just £25. Most importantly, your walking boots need to fit you properly and should be comfortable — you’re going to be wearing them all day after all!

If you’re unsure or have any questions, then please get in touch.

Depending on both the type of walk you want to do and the time of year you’re planning on walking with WildWays, then your minimum kit list may vary slightly. If you’ve got any questions about kit or need advice (e.g. how much you should be spending on kit and where to buy it), please get in touch.

Hill and Dales Outdoors stock a wide variety of kit.

Kit list

Essential kit

  • Sturdy walking boots and spare socks
  • Comfortable clothing (I would not recommend wearing jeans or cotton-based t-shirts)
  • Lunch, snacks and liquids (preferably water)
  • A spare warm layer
  • A waterproof jacket
  • A personal first aid kit, including any medication you require
  • A rucksack (25 to 35 litre capacity)
  • Cash (for car parking, ice cream/pub, etc.)

Extra kit depending on the season and the weather

  • Waterproof trousers
  • Gaiters
  • A thermos flask containing a hot drink
  • A warm hat and two pairs of gloves
  • A sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Insect repellent
  • A camera and/or a pair of binoculars

Check out my blog for recommendations on the best food and snacks to bring with you whilst hill walking in the UK.

Basically, you’re going to be using a fair bit of energy depending on the type of walk you’ll be doing. You will need to consider how long you’re going to be out for, how much ascent you’ll be climbing and how cold it is (the colder it is, the greater the number of calories you’ll burn and the more food you’ll need to bring). You want a mixture of carbs and protein, and I also find it nice to have a mixture of savoury and sweet snacks to choose from.

In terms of fluids, for a 5 hour walk during cold winter conditions, I recommend that you carry 1 litre of water and a thermos flask filled with a hot drink. For a 5 hour walk in hot summer conditions, I recommend that you carry 2 litres of water with you.

Here’s a list of some of the food and snacks I like to take out with me on the hills:

  • Bagels (they don’t tend to squash as much as sandwiches)
  • Hard cheese
  • Cured meat (e.g. salami)
  • Apples
  • Bombay mix
  • Trail mix (dried fruit and nuts)
  • Gummy sweets (e.g. Jelly Babies, Haribo, etc.)
  • Cereal bars
  • A flask of hot, sugary tea, Bovril or dilute juice

As with any outdoor activity, the weather can be changeable. This is especially true in the hills where, higher up, you may find yourself walking through low cloud or damp fog/mist. As the saying goes:

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing”.

If you have enough warm layers with you (I always carry a spare layer in my rucksack, even in summer) and suitable full-body waterproofs, you can be brave and embrace the British weather. I think we call it character building!

In the case of high winds, severe fog or adverse weather, WildWays may alter the planned route for safety reasons to ensure a safe environment and a better experience for everyone going on the walk.

Before every WildWays walk, I monitor the weather forecast closely using several sources, one of them being Met Office Mountain Weather, checking it a few days in advance, the day and night before, and again on the morning of a walk to foresee any adverse weather that could potentially be dangerous. Please refer to the T&Cs in the event of a cancellation being made due to adverse weather.

WildWays holds professional indemnity insurance. However, it is up to you to ensure that any personal policies you may have are suitable for the types of activities you will be participating in.

It would be wise for you to let me know (in confidence) about any existing medical conditions you have when you book with WildWays. On the day of the walk, you should let the guide know about any medical conditions you have. Any information I receive from you will help me to provide you with the best and safest experience, whilst also complying to strict confidentiality within the GDRP regulations.

Although you need to make your own transport arrangements to come on a WildWays walk, I am happy to provide travel information and any directions that you may require to get you to the walk’s starting point. If you think that getting your own transportation is going to be an issue, then please get in touch and I’ll do my best to assist you.

All well-behaved canines are welcome. I will normally bring my border collie, Lance, along, so as long as your four-legged friend is dog- and people-friendly and can walk the distance, then feel free to bring them along. Please respect other walkers on the trip who might not like dogs as much as you and I, and keep your dog under close control, especially if we encounter any livestock. Here’s the governments policy regarding dogs and open access land. Please get in touch if you’re unsure as to whether to bring your friendly canine.

If you’re attending an Open Walk, please make sure you’ve selected a walk that is within your physical capabilities. We will always walk to the slowest pace in the group so that no-one is left behind. If you’re unsure about which Open Walk is going to be most suitable for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. For any type of Private Guiding walk, I’ll make sure that I have a full understanding of both your ability and goals to create a bespoke walk that is perfect for you.