Who are we and how did it all begin?
Backabush Xplorers is London's longest established hiking and outdoor adventure Meetup group. Our group was originally created back in 2002 (actually before we were on Meetup) by a multinational group of friends who loved hiking and wanted to get more out of our weekends and holidays. We wanted to share our heartfelt passion for the great outdoors and enthusiasm with others. For some years Backabush was an informal, unincorporated association managed by the founders for the benefit of its members.
Our group grew rapidly in those early years and in 2008, following legal advice we decided it would be wise and prudent to become a registered company to protect our organisers and our members. Following this review and the formation of the limited company, our members can now pursue their legitimate activities and aims with complete peace of mind.
Why do we do it?
We love the outdoors! The primary motivation is fun (not profit) which means that our trips offer exceptional value for money. We continue as a group with the same ethos of organising events and trips for the benefit of our members. This is what we love and we are passionate about what we do. We will always endeavour to be budget conscious and price our activities only to cover necessary expenses.
What do we do?
Over the years we have hiked and explored the National Parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty in Britain and abroad. It may all have started years ago with a few hiking friends gathering for a weekend in a scruffy camping barn somewhere rural and pretty but it has developed a lot from there.
Backabush has been hiking and enjoying outdoor adventure for well over a decade now and over this time we have organised literally hundreds of hiking trips throughout Great Britain. We have enjoyed visits to the Lake District, Snowdonia, Scotland, the Brecon Beacons, the Pembrokeshire Coast, Cornwall, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Lincolnshire Wolds, the Cambrian mountains, the Wye Valley, the Forest of Dean, the North York Moors, the New Forest, the South Downs, the Malvern Hills, the Shropshire Hills, the South Downs, the Cotswolds, the Chiltern Hills, the Jurassic Coast, the Gower Peninsula, the Pennines, the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, Glen Coe, the Isle of Arran, Glen Shiel, Torridon etc, etc, etc.
National trails and long distance paths in Britain are another favourite of ours and to date we have completed the full length of Hadrian's Wall Path, the West Highland Way, the Cumbria Way, the Herriot Way and Wainwright's Coast to Coast. Although we have yet to complete the full length of many we have also enjoyed hiking sections of the Cotswold Way, Pennine Way, Offa's Dyke Path, Limestone Way, Allerdale Ramble, South West Coast Path, Great Glen Way, Monsal Trail, South Downs Way, Ridgeway, Thames Path and many, many others.
We were also trailblazers when it came to offering exciting outdoor adventures overseas. Back in 2009 we organised our very first foreign trip when we headed down into Africa to climb Mt Toubkal, the highest summit in Morocco. Next we trekked in Nepal, climbing over a 5000+ metre pass linking the Langtang and Helambu valleys. Since these early treks we went on to organise things like via ferrata holidays in the Italian Dolomites, or hiking trips to the French Alps and Jura mountains. We also love 'hut to hut' trekking and have so far completed every step of the Tour du Mt Blanc, summited Monte Perdido in the Ordessa National Park and trekked for days in the French Pyrenees to reach the awe inspiring Cirque de Gavarnie. More recently we even organised trips to Slovakia to seek out winter snowshoeing in the High Tatras and gorge scrambling in the Paradise National Park.
There are many other adventures we could mention. No other Meetup group offers adventure like this!
How do the logistics work?
We know our members are busy people so we do our best to provide a complete package for you. Backabush will research the locations, the hikes, book the accommodation and make a plan for all the meals. If you do not own a car we will help you to find transport or a lift share. You just need to communicate with the organiser who will help to co-ordinate things with you.
With a little co-operation from our members it all works very well and allows us to keep offering new locations and new hikes, year after year. Although we might return to some amazing National Parks quite regularly we always endeavour to find new venues and plan entirely new hikes. If you check out our past events you will see that we offer unrivalled variety in the locations we visit.
What are the hikes like?
On every Backabush trip we try to provide a choice of hikes each day. Obviously we will choose the from most beautiful and best loved hikes in any given area. These hikes tend to be of various length, duration and difficulty. The idea is that each person can choose the hike that best suits their fitness, experience and interests.
It is true that Backabush has a reputation within the Meetup community for offering longer and more challenging hikes but we always also offer more moderate options for those seek a more relaxed day outdoors. Generally speaking we would say that anyone who can hike for 10 miles in hilly terrain should be fine on our trips. If you have any concerns please don't hesitate to contact us to ask questions.
What about safety?
Safety is always our number one priority. Although we can never make the outdoor environment entirely safe there are many steps that can be taken to minimise risk. Our team of outdoor activity leaders have many, many years of leadership experience and have received extensive outdoor training. Between all of our leaders we have years of military experience, ambulance work or mountain guiding.
Our principal leadership team are Mountain Leader trained at Plas-y-Brenin (the National Mountain Sports Centre) in North Wales and Winter Skills trained at Glenmore Lodge in Scotland. We regularly update our first aid qualifications and carry the required emergency aid equipment for wilderness situations. Some of us have taught or assisted on micro-navigation training courses and all have excellent route finding skills regardless of visibility or weather.
Additional our experience extends to high altitude mountaineering in several continents, be it summiting 6000+ metre peaks in the Andes, conquering the highest mountains in Africa or completing month long high altitude treks in the Himalayas.
We take our 'duty of care' of very seriously and are trained to deal with outdoor emergencies. Sometimes we hire in specific skills as necessary in the form of fully qualified instructors for things like rock climbing, caving, coasteering, kayaking, horse riding, ghyll scrambling or technical mountaineering. For some foreign trips we will either provide logistical support for safe self guided mountain trekking or hire International Mountain Leaders as deemed necessary.
Who joins our trips?
Although most people in the group are in their 20s, 30s and 40s age is not an issue to us - a fun loving and adventurous nature is more important. It is not uncommon to have over a dozen different nationalities represented in a single gathering.
Our groups of hikers and outdoor adventurers vary in size but on every trip some people will be regulars and some first timers. Its a great way to make new hiking friends and you need not worry about coming alone as you will always be made to feel welcome.
What we all have in common is a love of all kinds of outdoor activity including hiking, trekking, hill walking, mountaineering, scrambling, camping, canoeing, canyoning, kayaking, rock climbing, scuba diving, caving, coasteering, mountain biking and just about anything else that offers some outdoor adventure.
We are a very active bunch!
We hope YOU will join us sometime soon.
The Backabush Crew & Hiking Team
Contact Geoff (Group Co-ordinator)