Ask anyone who loves to hike alone why they do it and you can guarantee that loving the peace and quiet and appreciating nature more will be amongst their replies. It also allows you to have time to think and you have the freedom to go wherever you want to and at your own pace.
But is solo hiking, especially for women, a bit on the dangerous side? The most popular UK hiking trails on the whole are safe and well connected to mobile networks. Paula Goode, an experienced solo hiker, says, “I’ve never felt unsafe when I’ve been hiking alone and it’s not something that pre-occupies me. I think I’d feel more vulnerable on any town high street after dark than I do on the hills.”
If you’re new to solo hiking, it’s best to start off on short, local hikes and maybe go with other people until you learn the ropes and gain a bit more experience. You should learn how to read a map and compass as well as how to combat blisters and find out about the right gear to wear.
Once you have the confidence to go it alone, make sure you always tell someone you trust exactly where you are going and what time you plan to be back. You can also get some great Apps for your phone which can be useful for locating where you are in an emergency. The most important thing is to be prepared and properly equipped, even for short hikes.
When it comes to building fitness for long distance hiking Paula suggests you “start with single day hill walking first to build fitness. Supplementing this with some gym work, on the core particularly as as this will make carrying a back pack easier. Once your day walks are comfortable, start to pack a bit more kit in the bag to build the weight up gradually. And then when you go for a multi-day hike be really strict with yourself about how much you need to take. I see some people with huge bags stuffed full, which is fine if they’re comfortable with that, but I know that would make me miserable having to carry it all”.
Matthew Usherwood from www.bookmytrail.com, self guided walking holiday specialists, says, “ When considering a walking holiday or multi-day hike, whether solo or not, the most common problem is that people over judge how far they are comfortably able to walk in a day. Plan your walk so that it’s well within your capabilities, so…