Soggy butties, Thermos flasks and torrential downpours are part of the British hiker’s genetic makeup. To see just how us Brits function on the trail, take a look at these top tips for hiking in Britain (like a local).
1. Go Out in the Pouring Rain
A true Brit goes out regardless of the weather. We’re made for gales, monstrous downpours and giant puddles. Clad in waterproofs with rain dripping off our noses, we’ll pretend there’s nowhere else we’d rather be. Naturally, the conversation will be dominated by the dreadful weather despite the fact we actually chose to go out in it. If you’re lucky, you might even get a wind/rain-beaten red face which you could pass off as a sun tan. And soaked to the bone in waterproofs that don’t actually work.
2. Get Slightly Sunburnt
If you want a true British hiking experience when the sun’s cracking the flags, don’t bother with suncream, simply wish you had it instead. There’s nothing like having a red face, head and neck to say, “We defied the British weather and GOT SUNBURNT!”
3. Make Time for a Cuppa
Our Thermos flasks are sacred. All hikers make time for a good ol’ cuppa, even if they don’t actually like tea (they simply pop coffee in it, but don’t tell anyone). To hike like a true Brit, you’ll need to get your mitts on a Thermos to keep those spirits bolstered amid a possible downpour. Everyone on the hills carries a flask and clutches its steaming contents as though it were pure gold.
4. Eat (Soggy) Sandwiches
They are a British institution. Butties, sarnies, sandwiches – call them what you like, they will be devoured regardless. Filled with rather unimaginative ingredients like egg and cress, ham and tomato or cheese and pickle, the no-frills sandwiches combined with a packet of crisps will do us nicely, thank you very much.
5. Bare All
Toilets on the fells? Ha! That’s what walls are for. The toilet stop on a group hike is a strategic mission, but even the most well-thought out plans aren’t always flushed with success. The stakes are quite high that you’ll come across a row of bare bums lined up along a dry (not for much longer) stone wall.
6. Ramble Away
The British walking rule is to stop and ramble with every walker you come across, having the same conversation each time, thereby re-enacting the hiker’s version of Groundhog Day. Beware, though, if you’re walking near London, as the city slickers are often wary of smiles (they might think you’ve just broken wind) or conversation (they might think you’re trying to fleece them). Instead, muster a surly face and plod on regardless.
7. Eat Slabs of Sugar
Edmund Hillary didn’t get to the top of Everest with willpower and Sherpas alone. Oh no, far from it in fact. His (not so) secret ingredient weapon was Kendal Mint Cake. Not a cake at all, but a slab of sugar and peppermint oil, it gives a whopping 306 calories per 85 grams. It’s taken on hikes up and down Britain to deliver an instant sugar rush. Storage instructions should probably read ‘store in a dry place away from hyperactive kids’.