Take A Hike: A How-To Guide

Take A Hike: A How-To Guide

After reading this article you will be able to one step closer to bossing the world of hiking. We will be exploring the benefits, things beginners should be aware of and certain rules in the hiking world.

When I say ‘we’, I’m not entirely equipped to give you the rundown on hiking, so I have called in a hiking connoisseur. 

Dan Kersley or Hikerman Dan is a seasoned hiker who fell in love with hiking after climbing Cat Bells in the lake district with his partner. This saw them buy some walking boots shortly after heading home and embarking on many a hike afterwards. You can find Dan’s content on Instagram @hikerman.dan and on TikTok @hikermandan. 

Dan said, “At the time I was carrying a little more weight and saw hiking as a great way to lose this weight while having a great time with my friends. And it worked!

“I have also really enjoyed sharing these experiences on my Instagram page ‘HikermanDan’. It has been a rewarding way to inspire others to explore the great outdoors.”

Like many outdoor sports, there tends to be an unspoken etiquette that the community respects. For example, in camping, you leave no trace and respect quiet hours. For bikers, you tend to yield to horses and hikers and stay on designated trails. And for fishing, you are expected not to overfish and respect the catch-and-release rule if you’re not keeping the fish. 

Hiking Etiquette

I asked Dan, what kind of hiking etiquette should hikers respect?

Dan said, “For me, it is all about protecting the trails we hike by ensuring we leave no trace (Not even a drop of litter, including banana skins, orange peels etc!!) and respect the wildlife we encounter. Most people, I think,  know this and respect it, but it is key to ensuring we keep these beautiful trails clean and tidy.”

Not littering outdoors tends to be a given, but you would be surprised how many people believe it is okay to throw their food and fruit. 

Dan added, “I have also seen lots of other creators on social media saying to safeguard spots etc. But for me, hiking is all about being inclusive and sharing experiences. 

“We all want to experience the great views and hikes the UK has to offer, so why not share them with your community?!”

What Do I Pack?

I also asked what essentials Dan recommends you take on your hike. 

“Hydration is always key, even when it’s not that hot. We always make sure to bring a full water pack/bladder, as well as a water bottle each, including a doggy water bottle.

“Most of the time when I’m hiking, I usually have my four-legged friend and the little one, which as you can imagine makes it hard!

“As my Son loves SNACKS! Lots and lots of snacks are non-negotiable (And usually eaten before we even get to make it anywhere!)”

As for equipment, Dan admits, “I always make sure to bring lots of layers, the number of times it’s been glorious sunshine when setting off, then sideways rain appears at the top is ridiculous! Layers are essential, especially a waterproof jacket, and post-hike socks – nothing beats fresh socks and Crocs after your hike.

“Don’t get caught up in needing the best gear that you see everyone using on social media! A good pair of boots, water, snacks, and a well-planned route will set you up for a great day in the hills!”

Battling The Elements

The weather makes a significant impact on your hike. Your preparedness for the elements can also make or break your experience. Despite the sun rarely making an appearance in the Great British countryside, having sun cream is an incredible shout from Dan. Especially hiking around peaks.

HikermanDan advises, “Always, always, always check the weather forecast. As I mentioned before, I have been caught in the most horrible weather on the summit of a mountain so many times, that it’s not worth being underprepared.

“Being a family of gingers, sun cream in summer is a must! Even if it’s overcast, we need it. We also take a first aid kit as little ones are very clumsy and always falling over!”

Dan admiring the fog he’s about to have to tackle

The Benefits

There is a plethora of benefits that come from hiking, it is renowned for helping you clear the cobwebs, encourage mindfulness and improve your physical health. 

Dan expanded on this when I asked him what some of the benefits of hiking are. 

“Hiking offers so many benefits which keep me coming back. It is great for your physical health with the cardio aspect of walking, but it isn’t something to be taken lightly. Some climbs are difficult and require some base fitness before taking them on.

“It is also great for your mental health, being out in nature always gives me such a boost. After being out hiking for the day, I always feel happy and fulfilled.

“It is also great for socialising, whether it be a hiking group or just going for a hike with your friends and family. You can’t beat a nice hike with friends followed by a pint, nothing tastes as good as the post-hike pint!”

Before You Start…

I am hoping that after coming this far in the article you are desperate to get out there and go on a hike! There are levels of experience and different difficulty aspects surrounding the activity. Whilst jumping straight into hiking is a great way to involve yourself in the activity, there are some pointers that beginners should be made aware of. 

HikermanDan said, “Definitely don’t run before you can walk! Hiking is tough and requires a lot of fitness that some people think just comes naturally. Make sure you start small with some shorter, or low-level walks before building up confidence to tackle bigger peaks.

“Make sure that you research your hike before you go. I use All-Trails to plan all my routes (Probably spend way too much time sitting there planning routes!) as it gives me peace of mind. 

“I know how far I’m going and how much elevation is involved – Although 9 times out of 10 it is always more elevation and distance than on the route!”

Where Do I Go?

There are thousands if not tens of thousands, of routes across the UK where you can enjoy peaceful hikes. Often they come in all different lengths, difficulties and terrains. The art of hiking is in its versatility, the freedom to pick and choose how you tackle terrains and explore the UK. 

Before you kickstart your hiking journey, draw some inspiration from some of Dan’s favourite hiking spots in the UK. 

“I absolutely love the Lake District! If I could move/live anywhere it would be there. As for a favourite hiking spot/walk, it’s hard for me as all my hikes hold different memories for different reasons!

“If I had to pick one it would probably be Mellbreak in the Lake District – Simply because it was the first mountain my little one climbed from top to bottom. We had some tears and ‘Mr Scared’ came out at one point, but we got there – Although, he did end up back in the backpack after the climb.”

This article should have drawn the curtain from what may have been a hectic and confusing passion. There is so much to gain from hiking and so many places to start, this isn’t always a good thing. By reading this, you will be a step closer to becoming a ‘hikerman/hikewoman’ yourself.

Want to Tell your Story?

We’d love to hear from you! Whether you have a question, feedback, or just want to share your latest adventure, feel free to reach out to us. Your input helps us continue to provide the best content and resources for all outdoor enthusiasts.

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