As most hikers know, planning a hiking route can either be the easiest or the hardest thing you can do. Planning your route for the first time is always a great experience, that's why here at Simply Hike, we have come up with four simple steps to help you plan your route...
Where to walk
In the UK there are literally hundreds and thousands of trails, tracks and walkways to explore. Really think about where you want to go and what type of hiking, walking, scrambling or climbing you want to do. Once you have found a spot you want to walk, think about who you will be hiking with, and whether the sort of terrain you have chosen will suit the person(s). If you're new to hiking, start looking at popular trails like Snowdon where you can get a taste of hiking but if you get lost there will no doubt be someone around that can point you in the right direction.
Length and time
So you've picked an area you would like to go for a walk. The next thing to look at is how long the trails are, and how long will it take for you (or your team) to walk it. Lots of hikers use Naismith’s Rule (allow 1 hour for every 3.1 miles hiked and 1 hour for every 600 metres of height gained). Using this, you will have a rough guide of how long it will take you to walk the trail you have selected. You can then judge if the trail is right for you and your team.
Lots of trails in the UK are accessible by public transport, so consider leaving your car at home or at the hotel. This has great environmental benefits and does mean you can plan your route to end somewhere else, just don’t forget to check public transport timetables and news updates on their website, you don’t want to get stuck!
If you’re looking at doing a rather long trek, instead of trying to memorise and highlight sections of the map why not make a route card? With a route card you can note the location of check points using grid references and you will be able to time between the checkpoints. A route card is also a perfect way to plan backups and escape routes due to bad weather or injury. From a safety aspect, a route card is ideal to let people know where you are, so leave a copy with someone who isn’t walking with you just incase.
There are many other tips on how to plan a route but these are a few that we have found helpful in the past. How do you plan your hiking route?