A Beginners Guide to Hiking in the Peak District - 5 Top Tips + Bonus Tip
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:19 07 October 2020
The lockdown made many of us readdress how we spent our time and how we maintained our mental and physical wellbeing. Local blogger and vlogger, The Nott’m Lass, found the answer right on her doorstep.
Ay-up I’m The Nott’m Lass and quite frankly I don’t think I can watch another series on Netflix. It was great at first in lockdown; being furloughed, eating when I want, afternoon napping and the apocalyptic feel and quietness of Nottingham. It was so peaceful and gave me time to reflect on life!
However, despite this new normal, I was becoming rather sluggish and lethargic, pacing around the house all day. The novelty soon wore off and I had no direction.
Weirdly enough, perhaps this was a coincidence, or was fate sending me in a new direction? I got a comment on one of my YouTube videos telling me to go and check out Mam Tor! Mam Tor!
What is this Mam Tor I asked myself? Google enlightened me. It’s a big hill in The Peak District. So, desperate to create new YouTube content, I jumped into my Hyundai i10 with my Sony A6400 and wearing my city clothes off I went to see what all the fuss was about.
Honestly, climbing up Mam Tor nearly killed me. My lockdown body couldn’t cope with the uphill exertion, whilst people three times my age were striding past me in their designer North Face gear and alpine sticks! OS maps carefully placed in polythene files around their necks and slurping water from their Hydrating Camelbaks. I was just gasping for air but the views overwhelmed me. Suddenly endorphins were flowing through my veins. I felt physically tired for the first time in months. I even slept well that night. The subsequent vlog got lots of views and more recommendations of places to visit in The Peak District.
A week later I needed another fix of this tremendous fresh air and exercise.
Anyway, have you ever wanted to go hiking but were unsure or worried that you wouldn’t know where to start?
Well worry not, because I have just created this Beginners Guide to Hiking! We all have to start somewhere!
Tip 1: The Dilemma of where to Park!
People often ask me on my social media platforms and they are obviously city people used to traffic wardens, double yellow lines and the dreaded clamp! Where do you park? Well, there are lots of National Trust car parks and for £4 you can park all day. However, if money is tight, you can always find somewhere to park on the roadside or in a parking bay. It took me quite a while to adjust to being able to park virtually anywhere. I think it’s quite good to support National Trust car parks because the money is sensibly used to maintain the countryside for everyone to enjoy! Please note, some of the pay and displays are cash only!
The weekends can get busy but in the week it’s quieter and more peaceful.
Tip 2: Back to basics – Get a map and a compass!
Although there are loads of apps out there to advise you on good walks, trails and routes. I will tell you for nothing that if your phone dies or there is no signal… I guarantee… you will get lost! Obviously, make sure your phone is charged up and have the “what3words” downloaded as advised by the emergency services. Consider the tried and trusted map. No, it won’t tell you where you are like an app will BUT it won’t run out of battery ever.
I also recommend a polythene bag case on a lanyard around your neck. Maps can be daunting. Get to understand it! Make friends with the compass. It won’t let you down. However, other hikers in The Peak District get a bit of a thrill from sharing their wisdom and pointing you in the right direction. Be warned if a fellow hiker says it’s not far…guess what…it’s probably another 5 miles!
Tip 3: Wet feet and blisters are NO FUN!
On my first hiking trip, I wore my favourite brand-new Adidas trainers specially designed for flat tarmac and pavements. Big, big mistake! It was a hot sunny day and I was deceived thinking it wouldn’t be muddy while hiking… ha ha… trainers got ruined! So, a few days later I found myself in Go Outdoors buying my first pair of waterproof hiking “Merrell” trainers. It’s always key to make sure they are waterproof and comfortable! Let’s face it the more comfortable shoes are, the more amazing views you are going to enjoy!
Also, as the vegan community is growing quickly, there is actually a really good range of vegan friendly shoes too!
Tip 4: Join a few Facebook Hiking Groups!
What better way to get advice from more experienced hikers! People love sharing their experiences and pictures! They have good recommendations, so don’t be afraid to post on the groups if you need advice on where to park or what is the best trail to go on.
Someone out there will always respond to help make your hiking experience better! What a friendly bunch of people!
Tip 5: Take photos and create memories!
When it’s too cold and nasty to go outside, you know, during January and February, you can look back on your lovely photos of Mam Tor, Curbar Edge and Ladybower Reservoir and dream about Spring and more hiking adventures to come!
So, don’t forget to grab your camera and snap away!
Walking in the great outdoors really does clear your mind, refreshes your body and puts life into perspective. So, get yourself out there and enjoy!
Check out my travel vlogs on YouTube