On the 16th of June from Lands End, a group of women will be excitedly preparing to set off on the first-ever women’s hiking relay which will see over 600 women hiking the length of the UK over 74 days!
With all legs of the relay being led by an enthusiastic and experienced mountain leader, this is the perfect opportunity for anyone who may have reservations about hiking in remote areas by themselves, are looking for like-minded women to go with, or want to experience a new adventure.
Here are a few tips and questions answered to help you plan and prepare before you set off on your leg of the relay to help carry the baton across 2,028km and over 36,970m of elevation.
Leg Length (km not cm)
We’ve found a number of questions have cropped up regarding the length of the hikes. The hike was created to push boundaries and inspire women to take on a challenge. Some of the legs through National Parks and the Scottish Highlands are not to be taken lightly, with midges nipping at your toes and mountain weather bound to test any hiker.
However, we strive to be inclusive for all levels of hiker, and we would welcome anyone to take on any length of a leg, be it a few kilometres or trying out a day-long hike for the first time. Just make sure you have picked a route with a get-out clause, and maybe a pickup driver or taxi number to hand.
There are lots of women who plan to just do a section of a day. The easiest is to meet the team and your leader at 8am at the start of the day and then leave at a point that is convenient.
Am I fit enough?
Although the hikes are led by mountain leaders, we highly recommend that you are sure of your fitness level to complete the length of hike you are preparing to do.
If you’ve never hiked more than a few kilometres, build yourself up, you have time! Komoot has a fabulous app where you can check out people’s routes in your area and also plan your own route. Think Couch to 5k, but hiking style.
Check out any podcasts which focus on building up your fitness levels. Don’t assume that because you’re fit in one sport, you’ll be able to crack out a 20k hike with no training. Some of us have been there and it hurts! Don’t be disheartened though, as humans, we’re meant to walk over long distances. You have it in you!
These boots were made for walking
The most important part of any hike is to come prepared! Your feet are going to be doing all the work, so treat them kindly. Look at the route you’re going to be doing and find out if it’s going to be an easy-ish mooch across grassy plateaus or a strenuous trek over rocks and scree. Some people prefer high ankle boots, others trail runners, but whatever your preference make sure they fit well and you can walk far. Also, bring blister plasters, you will not regret it.
Ellis Brigham has a fabulous footwear service for measuring and fitting and it’s well worth making sure your feet are well-treated (and dont’ forget that if you sign up for the relay you’ll get a 10% off code with your confirmation email!).
They also do backpack fitting for those doing more than one day and looking to carry their own camping equipment, or even if you want a smaller pack for day walking. It’s important for your posture to be correct to avoid any injuries to your back or even your legs. And lastly, something that we couldn’t recommend enough is walking poles.
Are you ready to rumble?
Still unsure? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get you in touch with the mountain leader for the route you’ve chosen to talk through any questions.
All info regarding the route times, distance and grade (easy, moderate or hard) can be found here. Also, use the Facebook groups for each section of the hike to ask questions, they’re there exactly for that purpose.
We would love to have you come join us, whatever your experience, just be sure to come prepared with lots of enthusiasm, a clear sense of your fitness level and a comfy pair of shoes!
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Bex Band founded Love Her Wild. Alongside running the community, she is an author, blogger and speaker on all things adventure and conservation. For her work championing women in the outdoors, she has been nominated for multiple awards and was named one of the UK’s Top 30 inspirational entrepreneurs.