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The February 2020 issue is out now!

Why not make a big hike, a mettle-testing trek or an epic backpacking journey the centrepiece of your 2020? The fun will start as soon as you pick your trip and start daydreaming; the experience itself will fill you with sublime awe; and once it’s over, the glow of those memories will last for a lifetime.

So as the year kicks off, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite ‘blockbuster’ hikes, ranging from long-distance walks through Snowdonia and Skye to epic treks through Nepal, Greenland or California. All require planning, preparation and a hefty chunk of time off work. The payoff, though, is a journey that will be your highlight of 2020; and you will look back on it for much longer.

Escaping the everyday

Expanding on the theme of inspiring walks, other features in this issue tell stories of life-changing journeys that expand well beyond the confines of an annual leave allowance:

  • Chris Townsend realises a 30 year dream and takes a long hike along the mountain spine of Colorado
  • Kat Young and Liv Bolton walk the length of New Zealand’s South Island on the stunning Te Araroa trail
  • James Forrest takes on the Inaccessible Pinnacle as part of his continuous journey around Scotland’s 282 Munros

In our gear section Chris Townsend puts those versatile workhorses of outdoor clothing, mid layers, to the test; you can read in depth about the winning bits of clobber in our 2019 Gear of the Year Awards; and we’ve got 10 varied ‘Wild Walks’, with routes and maps, from the Central Highlands to the South Downs.

And much more inside!

How to get a copy

Read more: a peek inside the issue…

Power Trips: Ben Lerwill rounds up our favourite mountain adventures from across the world – pick one and turn your 2020 into a year to remember. Here’s a taste of one of them:

Getting away from it all, you say? How about a 100-mile jaunt across Greenland? The planet’s largest island – still an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, despite Donald Trump’s wishes – is as underpopulated a destination as you’ll find anywhere, and awareness of its eight-day, hut-to-hut Arctic Circle Trail has grown steadily. Only realistically attempted between June and mid-September (unless ski-touring appeals), it passes through no towns or other settlements, focusing instead on the lake-dotted wilds of the sweeping Greenlandic interior.

 

A happy return: For more than 30 years, Chris Townsend dreamed about doing a long walk through the high reaches of the Colorado Rockies. Was it everything he hoped for?

“I quickly learnt to watch the sky, assessing whether the dark clouds I could see were coming my way and trying to estimate how quickly they’d reach me if so. A few times I stayed in the forest until a storm had passed and a few times I was caught out in the open far from any shelter. All I could do then was walk fast and hope the storm didn’t come too close. Once, I had a really frightening close call. I was in mist, and rain had turned to stinging hail. A bolt of lightning flashed right in front of me and there was a deafening clap of thunder.”

The Long Pathway: Kat Young and Liv Bolton walk the length of New Zealand’s South Island via the country-spanning Te Araroa Trail.

“We dropped our rucksacks next to the hut and ran down the beech tree-lined path towards the sight we’d been anticipating for weeks. Turning a corner, there it was: Blue Lake. It was a sunny summer’s day and the small turquoise lake was shimmering. Its water is officially acknowledged as the clearest in the world; rocks seven metres below appeared within touching distance. Mountains towered protectively over the lake, and trees hugged its shores. Birdsong and the lapping of water were the only sounds we could hear.”

Tread Softly: How do we enjoy the natural environment without adding to the harm already being done to it? In our latest ‘Tread Softly’ sustainability special, we take a look at the ethics of flying, good practice in the outdoor industry, how to make your gear go further, and using public transport to get our outdoor kicks.

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