Limited daylight and wintry weather doesn’t mean your hiking plans have to go into hibernation. With a little forward planning and an early(ish) start, the following hikes can easily be completed from London in a day.
With Mt Snowdon literally on our doorstep, it seemed only right to pay its summit a visit on a trip to Snowdonia National Park. But with a dizzying array of paths to choose from, we went on the advice of our B&B hosts and chose the Rhyd Ddu path to the summit. And it was a wise choice, as getting there was turned out to be as adventurous as summiting Snowdon itself….
Most people flock to the Mt Snowdon area to reach its summit, but just a stone’s throw from the foothill of the mountain lies Lon Gwyrfai. With quiet pathways, panoramic views and abandoned mining quarters waiting to be discovered, Lon Gwyrfai valley offers an excellent alternative to the Disneyland-esque queues going up Mt Snowdon.
Once a popular route used since prehistoric times by shepherds and merchants, today The Ridgeway National Trail is traversed by hikers, families and their furry friends – and Londoners. With only a 40-minute train ride between the trail and London Euston station, this 87-mile route features some calf-burning hills, panoramic countryside scenery, and plenty of stops for ice cream and pints – enough to make city dwellers satisfied they have left the Big Smoke.
Only 40 minutes away by train from London lies the Grand Union Canal Walk, a trail that incorporates picturesque English landscapes, weird and wonderful canal boats and more pubs than you can shake a pint at along the route.
After seeing the Cairngorms peeking at us from the horizon the day before, we were eager to reach the end of The Speyside Way and begin on our next adventure: exploring the Cairngorm National Park. And so, the early morning light found us briskly walking through the residential part of Boat of Garten and towards Aviemore, the last stop of the trail. Continue reading
When deciding how to divide up the different walking sections of The Speyside Way, the trail between Grantown-on-Spey and the Boat of Garten left us perplexed. Unlike the previous days’ sections, this portion was flat and straightforward, and as a result many people had combined it with the last section to Aviemore, the end of the trail and only an additional six miles. Given that we had walked 25 miles in the past two days though, we decided our legs had probably earned a rest day and decided to only do the 11 miles to Boat of Garten.
After a heavy session of hiking the day before, our eyes and limbs were reluctant to recognise the morning light coming through our window. This unwillingness was further exacerbated when we remembered that today was the most difficult section of the Speyside Way: 13 miles of hillwalking in the searing heat. However the rumbling sounds of trucks from the Cragganmore distillery next door soon alerted us to rise and shine. Continue reading
The next section of The Speyside Way, from Craigellachie to Ballindalloch, was a long, fairly straight stretch of 12 miles that followed the old railway route. In fact, throughout most of it, the old station platforms, railway arches and even remnants of discarded railway machinery remained, yet to be claimed by nature. Continue reading