When looking for a hobby that will provide you with freedom of health, self, finance and hectic centres, day hiking for beginners is the way to go.
The Hobby Kraze’s ultimate guide to hiking for beginners is your bible for long-distanced walking. And, no. Hiking is not just long walks along the River Thames or light strolling through your park. A hike is actually a term defined by both the amount of exercise required and the distance of the journey.
Once called ‘rambling’ in old English language, hiking is a growing hobby among people of all ages across the UK. It means that people are engaging in positive vigorous exercise around trails and footpaths in the countryside. And, you could join the crowd.
With that, we wanted to touch on every possible direction for your newfound hobby of day hiking for beginners. Throughout this article, we’ll be going over the following areas:
- Why Should You Give Hiking a Go?
- The Background of Modern Hiking
- The Terms That You Should Know
- Essential Items for your Hiker’s Guide to Adventures
- All About Hiking Boots and Walking in your Own Shoes
- Getting Used to The Hike and Knowing Where to Begin
- The Ultimate Guide to Hiking for Beginners’ Safety and Smart Hiking
- Some of the Most Beautiful Beginner Hiking Trails in the UK
One thing we will say, before you read on, is that hiking is one of the most flexible hobbies to also be classed as a sport. With the ability to be a family venture, group meeting hobby or singular freedom motivator, you can convert your beginner hiking trails into anything that suits you. Choose your group, choose your kit, choose your location, choose your duration and choose you. Plus, an extra one of our hiking tips says that dogs are always welcome!
Why Should You Give Hiking a Go?
We’ve already touched on this, but hiking is for anyone and everyone. No matter where you are or who you are, hiking can be a flexible addition to your lifestyle. From weekend getaways to evening adventures, each hike is what you make it.
But, that is not the only thing that boasts benefits through this ultimate hiker’s guide. Hiking is a very healthy hobby; helping with your body, heart and mindset. Simply due to your surroundings and the rate you are participating in constant cardiovascular exercise.
With this in mind, we’ve attached a small list of benefits for you to look at:
- It releases the ‘happy hormones’ (serotonin and dopamine)
- You can increase your overall cardiovascular health
- It’s good for your muscles and core
- It will help keep you mobile as you get older
- It can clear your mind
- Long distance walking like hiking improves sleep
- It will also improve your memory as you recollect your trails
- Walking through hiking will reduce stress, anxiety and depression
- It allows you to live in the moment
- You can use hiking to exercise and socialise
- It takes you away from highly-populated areas
- There is no large gear that needs to be driven or transported
- You can do it anywhere
- It allows you to take your hobby across the world
- You can incorporate other fun activities such as Geocaching
- It reduces your risk of heart disease
- It can help to prevent diabetes
- Hiking increases bone density
- You can help with osteoporosis and arthritis
- You’ll lose weight with an average of 500 calories burned in one hour
The Background of Modern Hiking
Hiking has been around for as long as mammals have been breathing air on this Earth. While it was not a hobby, every mammal has always needed to face long walks (and often sprints) to both hunt for food and escape potential threats.
However, the movement of modern hiking, has its own story which deserves its own timeline. Here’s some fun and interesting milestones in the hiking and mountaineering hobby history:
- 3300 B.C. – Otzi the Iceman (found in 1991 by two German tourists along the Austrian-Italian border) left his mummified remains in the Alps around 10,500 feet tall and away from any sign of civilisation.
- 125 A.D. – A Roman Emperor named Hadrian took a long-distanced walk to the top of Mt. Etna to watch the sunrise.
- 1642 A.D. – A man named Derby Field was the first man recorded to climb Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
- 1778 A.D. – A British Priest named Thomas West detailed walks for pleasure around the Lake District National Park. And, it is credited as one of the first travel guides.
- 1819 A.D. – Abel Crawford and son, Ethan, took a walk of over 8 miles to trail the same path up Mount Washington as Derby Field.
- 1830 A.D. – A gathering of around 300 students from the Massachusetts Williams College walked what is now called the Hopper Trail on Mount Greylock.
- 1830 A.D. – With the same group of Williams College students, a 37-foot wooden tower was built for sightseeing when trailing.
- 1850 A.D. – The “first hiking club in New England” became recognised when Cyrus Tracey and his three friends would founder ‘The Exploring Circle’.
- 1854 A.D. – A book; “Wandering Among the High Alps” published by Sir Alfred Wills details the mountaineering of the Wetterhorn and Swiss Alps. This book helped make hiking mountains a very popular fashion in British culture.
- 1857 A.D. – The world’s first hiking and mountaineering club was founded in London. It was called The Alpine Club.
- 1872 A.D. – Yellowstone became the first National Park after the US President signed a grant.
- 1879 A.D. – The Sunday Tramps (an early British rambling group) was set up in Northern England as part of a campaign for the legal ‘right to roam’ in response to privately owned land.
- 1930 A.D – The Green Mountain Club finalised their creation of the ‘Long Trail’ in Vermont, making it the first long-distance trail in the US.
- 1968 A.D. – The US Congress passes the National Trails Systems Act allowing for the designation of scenic, historic and recreational trails across the US.
- 1985 A.D. – A man named Dick Bass became the first person to have reached the highest peak in all 7 continents after accomplishing Mount Everest.
The Terms That You Should Know
Walking is a hobby of its own right, meaning communities and groups of like-minded people have created a hiker’s guide glossary of terms to allow them to speak to each other in a special way. Whether it’s to abbreviate, explain or refer to a specific piece of their day hiking for beginners’ kit, it’s worth knowing what you’ll be walking into.
That’s why the team here at The Hobby Kraze have gathered together a list of the 15 most important jargon to know in your ultimate guide to hiking for beginners.
The Alpine Zone refers to an area of mountains that is too high to allow trees to grow. Also referred to as the area above the treeline, the air is too thin with the ground being too soft for roots to form.
When rocks form, they can also tear and break. When a particularly large rock has a sharp corner (commonly a side), it has an arete. This is also a term used by rock climbers who use the arete as a ‘hand hold’.
Bare-boot hiking on beginner hiking trails or through harder trails is when a hiker chooses to hike in only boots. In snow, sleet or soft ground, they will choose to not use snowshoes, crampons or other traction aids.
Many long-distance hikers who surpass the day hiking for beginners’ hobby, will need to camp overnight. However, where there is permission from the landowner but no designated tent site, the act is called backcountry hiking.
A blaze is the name given to a marker on a trail. Examples include; tearing a large piece of bark off a tree, adding paint to a tree or rock, etching, creating cairns or simply sign posting a trail.
The beta is some specific and enlightening information about a route. This comes from someone who has already completed it and can involve plenty of hiking tips to get you through the other side of the woods.
This is a term created by the Appalachian Mountain Club. It refers to the estimated amount of time that a trail will take. For example; 30 minutes per mile plus an extra 3 minutes for every 100 feet of elevation in the hike.
When heading for a hike in the snow, one of the best hiking tips we can give is to look for a break trail and follow that. Hiking without notable markers can be hard, so walking in someone else’s footsteps after they have ‘broken the trail’ can make it much easier.
A cairn is a simple pile or mound of rocks that indicate a path. When a blaze will not be useful, such as on a foggy day or in an open plain, a cairn is used.
While this may seem obvious, camping is still a big part of the ultimate guide to hiking for beginners. This is because hikers can get lost, take a detour or decide to extend their relaxing walk. In technical terms, camping is to spend a night in temporary accommodation, often in a predesignated field.
Leading on from the cairn, a duck is a cairn that is created in a specific way to look as though it is pointing in the direction of the route. The point can almost look like a ‘beak’ for the duck.
As an abbreviation for ‘Global Positioning System’, it refers to the navigational uses of GPS devices as maps. It can be used in phones to help you locate a peak, or others locate you.
On any given trail, there will be a highest point of elevation. This is often a goal for hikers as it marks the hardest walk. Along the same lines, there is also a low point.
A pass is a low point on a mountain or ridge, often used as a way to get to the other side of a mountain. These passes are incorporated in many hiking trails across the globe.
Much the opposite of a pass, a peak (A.K.A. the summit) refers to the highest part of a mountain or hill. There can be many peaks in a mountain range or just the one.
Essential Checklist for your Hiker’s Guide to Adventures
Often referred to as your ‘ten essentials’, you’ll need a specific list of items (which can be far more than ten, or less if you wish) to help you on your long journey of health and relaxation. There’s bound to be some items that you’ve already thought of and hopefully there’s some that you may not have considered. This way we can be extra sure that you’re heading out on your expedition in the most safe way possible.
From the hiking gear itself, to some extras to help you at any unplanned intersections, your ten essentials will be your best friend, and maybe your best friend’s best friend, too.
Here’s a list of some of the most important beginner hiking trails’ tools you’ll need to enjoy your British walking adventure:
- Hiking Boots
- Weatherproof Hooded Jacket
- Thick Hiking Socks
- Snacking Food
- Lots of Water
- Sun Cream
- GPS Device
- First-Aid Kit
- Hand Sanitiser
- Lip Balm
- Insect Repellent
- Toilet Tissue
- Pencil and Paper
- Sleeping Bag
- Walking Poles
- Thermal Layer
- Traction Aids
All About Hiking Boots and Walking in your Own Shoes
Here at The Hobby Kraze, we’re not about selling you particular boots or brands. We truly want to enlighten you to the walking boot types and kits that are out there in a 2020 market. This will help you make the right decision for you, your wallet, your feet and your chosen day hiking for beginners’ trails.
That’s why we’ll be talking you through some of the common hiking boot brands and the types of boots used through day hiking for beginners. From the known faces of Solomon to the unknown underdogs like Crane, you’ll be a master at the boots within the ultimate guide to hiking for beginners.
Time for our top hiking tips: While the big brands can be a safe option for durability, safety, comfort and style, this particular hiker’s guide doesn’t recommend them as your first pair. When you start-off hiking, you’re just getting used to the trails, the exercise and learning how to walk-and-talk at expert level. You may drag your feet, brush some hedges, fall in a stream or kick a hidden rock. In turn, you’ll end up wearing through your first pair of hiking boots faster than any other.
And, who is to say you’ll like it? While we bring you hobbies in the hopes of finding you ‘the one’, there’s no guarantee you’ll enjoy it enough to carry on. So, it’s always best to find a good pair of affordable hiking boots before you find you want to invest in the big brands.
With that, let’s get familiar with the three types of hiking boot: the day hiking boot, the backpacking boot and the hiking shoe.
The day hiking boot is your classic all-rounder of the hiking boot community. When day hiking for beginners, this would be the shoe we recommend the most. This is because it provides key ankle support (even when lifting a backpack), they are not too heavy and feature fantastic traction for all terrain. They are generally waterproof while being made of specialised Gore-Tex fabric for a breathable hike on the beginner hiking trails.
The backpacking hiking boot is more heavy-duty than the all-rounder. This is because they can prevent your ankles from rolling over even with a 50-pound backpack. However, made primarily of leather, they can be very heavy and require high-maintenance.
Finally, the hiking shoe is the light-weight alternative to the all-rounder. And, while they can be great for a walk in the town, their lack of build can mean they are no contest through a day hiking for beginners. That’s why, here at The Hobby Kraze, our hiker’s guide suggests opting away from the hiking shoe and towards either the all-rounder or backpacking shoe depending on your type of walking.
Now you know your hiking boot types, here’s a list of brands that provide the best hiking boots around the UK. We’ve also listed some of the more affordable brands at the top for your convenience!
- Peter Storm
- LA Sportiva
Getting Used to The Hike and Knowing Where to Begin
If you’re reading this ultimate guide to hiking for beginners on a whim to try a new hobby, you’ll need to begin with small steps. The same goes if you’ve come here from the Ultimate Guide to Geocaching for Beginners. Luckily, here at The Hobby Kraze, we’ve got just the array of hiking tips to get you from walking towards your local shop to walking across Britain along the best beginner hiking trails.
The first thing to do would be to find some other like-minded individuals to begin your journey with. Even if they’ve done a couple of small hikes themselves, it is always nice to create online social groups to progress with and share hiking beta.
Next, focus on your breathing techniques. Yes, in and out is pretty basic, but mindful breathing and positive bodily awareness can help you become more in-control of your breathing and stress-levels if there are any causes for concern. For example, getting lost, forgetting a hiking path beta or running into an animal who doesn’t look too friendly.
As well as this, if you intend to hike around unknown areas, we want you to remain as safe as possible. This means never hiking alone. Even if it is not people or animals you should worry about on you beginner hiking trails, getting lost can become just as dangerous. However, having an extra person to aid with orienteering, GPS directions and break trail discovery can be a life-saver.
And, while dogs can be amazing trail finders, it’s not always the right trail. So, make sure your hiking tips buddy is another person. You’ll also have a conversation opportunity, too!
The next step would be to try out your luck at some camping. As we’ve mentioned, camping can be intentional and enjoyed as a hobby in its own right, or it could be a necessary feat during a long-distanced trail when distractions or weather changes get in the way. When you’re comfortable with your camping capabilities, next in your noted hiking tips would be to perfect your beginner hiking trails’ backpack of ‘ten essentials’.
Finally, use your online social groups to find small hikes, beginning with distances and elevations that match your current cardiovascular abilities. For example, if you are normally a sedentary office worker, perhaps look into the smaller lakes around the stunning Lake District National Park for your first day hiking for beginners’ adventure instead of conquering the Three Peaks Challenge.
The Ultimate Guide to Hiking for Beginners’ Safety and Smart Hiking
There are some regulations in place across England, Wales and Scotland to make sure that you and those around you can remain safe throughout your ultimate guide to hiking for beginners.
For one, our hiking tips suggest checking a written map rather than the amazing aerial view on Google. This is because there is a Countryside Code in England and Wales that is designed to respect landowners, travellers and the environment. With this, public paths and accessible trails are outlined on a written map and will hide any private access roads. However, this is not visible on the internet and can cause a day hiking for beginners to turn into a day trespassing.
Then, there’s another regulation that relates to your pup (if you choose to take them). At certain times of the year, there are laws to state that dogs much be kept on a short leash (2-meters or less) especially when near livestock like sheep. Be aware that this code has been in action since the 1950’s and allows farmers to shoot loose dogs!
Final regulations surround our perfect environment. The only way we can ensure that the bridal paths and trail ways remain the stunning outdoor playground they are, is if we don’t treat them like a rubbish bin. Picking up litter and pet-poop is not only regulation, but it is common courtesy, especially when on private land.
Now we are past this ultimate guide to hiking for beginners’ regulations, we can get onto the hiking tips that help you stay safe on your journey. And, a way we can do this, is to provide you with a list of questions you should always ask before heading out on your travels.
Ask yourself, the internet and your social groups the following questions:
- What is the weather like?
- What is the Elevation Gain?
- How long is the hiking distance?
- What are the betas for the beginner hiking trails?
- Where are the best places to go hiking in my area?
- Are there any animals I should be aware of?
- What are the current trail conditions?
- Would I feel comfortable if someone I cared about left for this journey alone?
- Do we need extra items for this hike other than the 10 essentials?
- Is this enough water?
- How long will it take me to complete this day hiking for beginners?
- Who is aware of my plan?
- Are my electronics fully charged?
- Have there been any suspicious reports surrounding this trail?
Some of the Most Beautiful Beginner Hiking Trails in the UK
You don’t have to go far before wondering into a beautiful wilderness with waterfalls, stunning views and a breath of fresh air. With the UK housing a selection of the best hiking trails around the world, it’s not hard for this hiker’s guide to name a few.
With some taking the elevation gain to the next level and some being calm walks along the waterfront, there’ll always be a UK hike to suit you. Have a look at just a fraction of the most notable and beautiful trails right around your corner:
- Hadrian’s Wall
- The Lizard Costal Walk in Cornwall
- Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales
- Trans-Pennine Trail
- Stanage Edge
- Gap of Dunloe
- The Thames Path
- The Quiraing at the Isle of Skye
- South Downs Way from Hampshire to East Sussex
- Scafel Pike
- Brecon Beacons National Park and Secret Waterfall
- Ben Nevis
- Aberglaslyn Gorge
- The Giant’s Causeway
- The Jurassic Coast in Dorset (this is where you can also take on another hobby; rock collecting for beautiful fossils. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Rock Collecting for more!)
We’ll end with one of The Hobby Kraze’s peak of hiking tips: share your experience. Whether it’s using a tracking device to draw your beginner hiking trails up, wearing a Go Pro on your head to record a stunning route, taking snaps with every step or writing a log about your day’s experience hiking for beginners. Having this record and being able to share it, allows you to create a sense of community with your hiking friends. As well as this, you’ll always have some fond (we hope) memories to look back on.
And, there you have it. Your ultimate guide to hiking for beginners from the team here at The Hobby Kraze.
Let us know your thoughts and comments on this article and don’t forget to check-out all of our other ultimate guides! With hobbies that can intermingle such as hiking, Geocaching, rock collecting, running and climbing, you can turn your beginner hiking trails into anything.