Hi there, welcome to The 500 Miles.
Whether you're looking for a brisk walk to get the cobwebs out of your head, some fresh air, get fit, want to explore, see places you wouldn't normally visit, or simply love walking, this is the group for you. No, we don't walk 500 miles in one go. Promise!
I've been organising hikes for friends and groups for half a decade, mainly because I enjoy organising things and I desperately need to to escape the city regularly. Routes vary from casual and short at about 15km, to challenging hikes and long walks going up to 35km, but all will take you through some of the most beautiful countryside the UK has to offer.
I try not to 'recycle' routes, and so find a new route for all walks.
What's a typical '500 Miler'? I'm no Rocky. Can I join?
To use a standard description: we're a fun loving bunch who aren't afraid of a bit of rain or mud. There is no average age, or typical fitness level. You'll need a good pair of boots, a sense of humour and a bit of patience. You never know... we might get lost. Come along if you're looking for a bit of fresh air, want to be more active, or if you really desperately want to get away for a day. If you're worried about your fitness levels or the terrain, please give me a shout. There are plenty of routes that are easy or don't involve clambering over stiles.
So what's the story?
I have to admit I was never much of an out-doors person growing up, but moving to the country's capital gave me a sudden hunger for fresh air and wide open spaces. I've never really looked back from there. A few years ago my new year's resolution was to walk 500 miles in one year, inspired by that song. I got close, doing 600km in that year, but not quite close enough.
But it did show me a side of the UK I hadn't seen before: one of rolling hills and, well, a lot of mud. A new year's resolution turned into a hobby, but quite an expensive one. We all know how much a full priced train ticket costs. By getting groups together I can still do as many hikes I want, but get a group discount too. Not to mention the company. All of a sudden my friends turned into hikers too.
Are the routes safe?
I try to reccie or test the routes as much as possible, before posting them here. That means I know the route and there should be no surprises. I'm also a trained First Response First Aider. I carry the recommended standard kit for hill walkers, including a full first aid kit.
A caveat though: I don't make a profit, I'm not a touring company. So please don't be too upset if we take a wrong turn or lunch isn't at the most amazing location.
Any small print?
Not really. But because these are informal walks and groups, you are responsible for your own safety. I'm not liable for any damages if you were to sprain an ankle, twist a knee, chip a nail or walk into a tree, for example. If you are not currently covered by the NHS, it's up to you to ensure you have adequate health-cover or travel insurance that covers outdoors activities.
Even if you decide The 500 Miles is not the group for you I want to press this: Although we are not doing anything crazy, accidents can always happen. Please, please, please walk responsibly. There are minimum kit lists posted with each walk. All walk leaders post these with good reason. You may not need all that water or all that food, but boy, did you wish you had it if something went wrong. 's all I'm saying.
And finally; the Countryside Code:
Respect other people
Protect the natural environment
Enjoy the outdoors.
Happy trails and see you soon!