GOING THE DISTANCE
Not all hikers enjoy roaming about for a mere few hours. Some like hiking for more than one day in a row. They aren’t masochists (well, not all of them). You might wonder why anyone would want to get up and start walking when their feet still ache from the 32km (20 miles) they trekked yesterday. But tackling a long-distance route is popular with many hikers because it gives you:
Bear Mountain Hiking Trail Map Photo Gallery
• a sense of achievement upon completion
• sights that aren’t possible from a bus or car
• hours of pleasure for months beforehand as you plan your route in meticulous detail in the pub over a pint or three (depending on how much detail you want to go into)
• an opportunity to travel in the way your ice age ancestors did (without having to slay any woolly mammoths en route)
• blisters on your blisters, located on bits of one’s body that were previously unknown or unappreciated
At the last count, there were more than 1,300 longdistance hiking routes criss-crossing the UK, ranging from under 16km (10 miles) to over 1,600km (1,000 miles). Should the uninitiated enquire how this can be when Land’s End to John o’Groats is only about 1,300km (850 miles), you will point out that the length of the British coastline is 17,819.88km (11,072.76 miles) – and that’s just the island of Great Britain, so it doesn’t include the other estimated 6,209 islands.
You might also point out with modest authority that you can’t be absolutely sure of the accuracy of the decimal point, because coastal erosion might have altered it since you last checked. It’s this sort of attention to detail that will enable you to boost your standing among fellow hikers beyond measure. On the other hand, serious hikers will tell you that everything is measurable.
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