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Friday
Sep302016

The UK's 3 Best Hikes

Do you long for a state of near hypnotic peace, a desperate escape from life’s stressors? Do you dream of losing yourself in the lofty heights of a craggy mountainside? Or maybe it’s merely a matter of escaping monotony?

If daily life has bored you and need a burst of adrenaline to shock you back into action then look no further. They say the best things in life are often right in front of your eyes; you simply need to open them and this logic is certainly true when searching for the U.K’s best hikes. Here are our top three that are sure to please.

Helvellyn, England

Flickr | iveanideaThe enchanting Helvellyn located in the English Lake District may be England’s third highest mountain, but its peak snakes to heights of 3,120 ft. You have two climbing options; the more popular route is along Striding Edge. This is a continuously steep grassy slope intercepted by rocky ridges, a climb that is sure to accelerate the heart rate. Its second climb is the less challenging (and less exposed) ascent up Swirral Edge which is likewise your route back down from the mountains pancake flat summit.  A summit so flat in fact, it hosted Britain’s first mountaintop plane landing and takeoff in 1926. It has a distance of seven miles (11km) and duration of six hours.

Furthermore, the hike even has poetic resonance.  The quintessential English poet William Wordsworth was a regular of Helvellyn’s rolling hills and wrote of it often in his works, thus, giving the hike a more romantic, fairy-tale-esque edge. There is also opportunity to push yourself to your maximum by completing the two day challenge across Helvellyn’s neighboring mountains. It’s shouldered either side by Scafell Pike England’s highest mountain, and the locally famous Fairfield. This route has been widely described as both exhilarating and beautiful; it is a worthwhile route for the seasoned hiker.

The Ring of Steall, Mamores-Scotland

Wikipedia | Colin Souza, edited by Dave Souza Compromised of four mountains protruding out of the Scottish Highlands The Ring of Steall stands tall at 3000ft +. Beginning in Glen Nevis at the foot of Ben Nevis one of Britain’s highest peaks, you follow this gurgling river uphill.  The falls are home to one of if not the most impressive view of the highlands. The route has little technical difficulty but there are some particularly narrow sections of rocky ridgeline to negotiate such as the infamous Devil’s ridge between Sgorr an Lubhair and Sgurr a’ Mhaim.

A head for heights is a necessary for this ascent however especially when undertaken in winter amidst snowfall-if you are in search for a further thrill. The hills collectively form the shape of a horse shoe which can be hiked in either direction, though it’s suggested you begin with An Gearanach mountain with the Devil’s Ridge always in view, to puzzle the mind.

The Dingle Way Trail

Flickr | Marcus MeissnerLast but not at all least lies The Dingle Way walking trail situated in the south-west of Ireland. The diversity of this walks landscape is is its most attractive feature.  It’s merely a matter of steps before one comes across a dramatic shift in scenery. From the deep foothills of Slieve Mish, to the grueling heights of Mount Brandon, to the vividly green pastoral farmlands, this hike is ideal for those clambering for peace at last. What’s more, the smell of sea forever lingers in the air. Below the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean at Slea Head make for a tranquil image.

It’s a well-serviced trail and passes through the center of various quaint villages and towns including Tralee and Dingle meaning food, drink and rest can be found along the way. The trail itself is 179km long and takes an average of 8-9 days walk. Beauty and history are combined here; some of the finest archaeological sites in Ireland can be encountered on route. Standing stones, ogham stones, and a multitude of beehive hits are the most obviously spotted structures. The Dingle Way promises to invigorate the senses and revitalize the mind.

By Bex Shorunke - Online Journalism Intern

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