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Make this summer one to remember!


[1] WILD CAMP IN A HAMMOCK

hammock camping

If you enjoy spending summer nights bivvying under the stars, here’s something else to try. Find the right location and a lightweight hammock can be anchored between two trees quickly and easily for a swinging night in the great outdoors.

Among the fans of hammocks is ‘microadventurer’ Alastair Humphreys, who is a self-confessed “total convert to nights in a hammock.” Pictured: Sierra Madre Research Nubé ($275, 1,162g, smrgearme.com)

[2] WALK BAREFOOT

walk barefoot

Recent studies at the University of Colorado have revealed that Mycobacterium vaccae, a dirt-dwelling bacteria, increases the serotonin levels of mice – so get your daily dose with a barefoot walk!

Walking barefoot adds more intimacy to your experience – and helps build a stronger connection with the land you’re moving through. It also helps minimise your impact on the hills. No, it may not be viable for long walks but is certainly worth experimenting with during the kinder summer months.

[3] GO ISLAND PEAK-BAGGING

island baggin

Like your mountains with a wide-open outlook? Scotland’s island Corbetts and Munros can provide some truly stunning views, and what could be better than an island-hopping, peak-bagging summer holiday?

We all know about the Cuillin on Skye, but there’s also Ben More on the Isle of Mull, often the compleatist’s final Munro. And don’t forget the Corbetts: Clisham on Harris, Askival and Ainshval on Rum, Beinn an Oir and the other Paps of Jura, and the wonderfully rocky mountains of Arran… plus the many smaller peaks and smaller islands, just waiting to be discovered.

[4] GET INTO BOTHYING

bothy

There’s nothing like staying in a bothy: a wee dram with a couple of mates around the fire, perhaps a singsong, and an opportunity to give the tent a break but still sleep wild and close to the hills.

These open shelters can be found across the country, but most are in Scotland and the best are usually maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association. For a short break and the opportunity to give something back, lend a hand on one of their maintenance work party weekends. See mountainbothies.org.uk.

[5] WALK BEHIND A WATERFALL

Sgwd yr eira

For a completely different perspective on one of the most alluring features of the outdoor landscape, have a go at walking behind a tumbling, roaring waterfall. Try Thornton Force on the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail or the stunning Sgwd yr Eira in the Brecon Beacons (pictured).

[6] TRY AN ALTERNATIVE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

WHW

The brand new Great Trossachs Path links Inversnaig on Loch Lomond with Kilmahog on the outskirts of Callander. In fact, it’s so new that it’s not quite finished– better than expected conditions over the winter mean the path is ready on the ground but waymarkers aren’t yet installed and it won’t be officially opened until next spring.

However, nothing’s to stop keen walkers finding their own way along the 30-mile route through the heart of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and The Great Trossachs Forest. And it offers a fantastic alternative start to the West Highland Way! More info from thegreattrossachsforest.co.uk.

[7] SUPPORT A MUDDY BOOT PUB

Pub

With pubs closing at an alarming rate across the country, it’s only fair to give them a helping hand by drinking their beer, and ideally spending a night in a classic hillwalkers’ hostelry. Many great walkers’ pubs offer rooms, among them the TGO Award-winning Clachaig Inn (clachaig.com), Ty Gwyn in Snowdonia (tygwynhotel.co.uk) and many of the well-loved Lakeland boozers.

[8] TAKE A MOONLIT RAMBLE

Suilven

The shorter, warmer nights of summer make it the ideal season to walk in the soft glow of moonlight with the finale of a dramatic summit sunrise. “Night walking is all about anticipation, watching the colours and landscape change as you rise,” says moonwalker Alan Rowan. “It’s like unwrapping a birthday present – far better than seeing it just sitting there. The surprise is the best part.”

[9] TAKE A LONG WALK IN THE WOODS

Sun rising over woodland with rocks in the foreground, Beacon Hill Country Park, October, UK

The National Forest Way is Britain’s newest long-distance route, stretching from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire. This 75-mile walk is so new, in fact, you could be one of the first backpackers to complete it this summer!

[10] GET WILD IN THE WATER

lake district waterfall pool © www.wildswimming.co.uk, Daniel Start, 07761 375717, Daniel@danielstart.com

“There is something slightly naughty, a little bit scary and wonderfully invigorating about wild swimming,” says Daniel Start, author of the book Wild Swimming. “For many of us, Britain’s rivers and lakes are closer than the beach, and they’re cleaner now than they have been for years. People are also realising how good wild swimming is for their health.”

Daniel recommends Lower Ddwli Falls on the River Fechan in Wales; Galleny Force in Stonethwaite (pictured); Sharrah Pool on the River Dart in Dartmoor; and the Faerie Pools of Glen Brittle in Skye. Wild Swimming is available from wildthingspublishing.com (£16.99)

Photos: Dave Willis, Oli Prince, Carey Davies, Visit Wales, Forestry Commission Photo Library, Dougie Cunningham, 2020VISION Ben Hall, Daniel Start