Summer is approaching and we know that the easing of 'lockdown' in the UK is encouraging many of you to contemplate a holiday. If travelling abroad is not on your radar this summer, then you might be looking at what you can do in the UK. With this in mind we have a few ideas on how to head for the hills and enjoy the great outdoors. What is more staying local will cut your carbon footprint and benefit the environment, while most likely also reducing the impact on your wallet.
We have trips on offer in Scotland and England as Scheduled Departures, and then, of course, you can also consider booking a private trip with Tracks and Trails which is one of the best ways to ensure some summer fun.
The great british staycation
Given that most of us have already had enough of our 'staycation' at home, and are desperate to be let out into the great outdoors we will define 'staycation' as a trip based in the UK. It's easy to overlook the truly amazing British landscape and all that is offers when clicking through images such as alpine mountains and rugged Corsican coastlines, but let's look closer to home.
We know that there is a way to go yet before everyone can travel, even within the UK, but perhaps we are at the point now where we can consider making tentative plans for summer. We know from your regular messages and emails that many of you cannot wait to return to the mountain landscapes of the world.
One thing that the many restrictions have taught us is how much we value our freedom to travel around the world at a moment's notice. The other positive is that many of you have discovered hidden gems in your locality and are viewing your own 'backyard' in a different way, realising that local can be great and a break does not need to involve driving many miles to reach another part of the country.
The British Mountaineering Council has recently published a roadmap to the easing of restrictions. Mountaineering Scotland are also keeping outdoor lovers up to date with regulations.
The Scottish Highlands
The Highlands have been attracting visitors from around the world for centuries and continue to do so. With this in mind we have launched our West Highland Way hiking trip which offers a week of walking through a truly stunning wild landscape. The route runs from Milngavie to Fort William is 157km (98 miles) long and rewards you with views of heather-clad mountains, lush landscapes, and roaring rivers.
The route opened in 1980 as the first official long distance footpath in Scotland and remains the most famous and popular of trails. The West Highland Way features a huge variety of scenery from countryside parks to loch-shores, from open moorland to steep and rugged mountains.
The UK offers stunning landscapes to explore
The English PEAK District
In 1951 the Peak District became the first area to be designated as a national park. Today there are fifteen parks throughout Great Britain sited in beautiful areas of landscape which are protected for the future enjoyment of everyone. At Tracks and Trails we are offering a trail and fell running weekend in the heart of the Peak District National Park.
We will be based in the beautiful village of Castleton which is suitable for beginner to intermediate trail runners. Explore the Hope and Edale valleys and the Great Ridge. Packed full of training, gear testing, expert talks and exclusive films we hope it will motivate you to run for the hills.
Enjoy your own 'bubble' on holiday
Holiday options this year
With Tracks and Trails there are two type of holiday on offer in terms of the type of trip you book with us, either private or Scheduled Departure. This has always been the case with our company, but this year we believe there are some of you who might prefer a private 'bubble'.
Having said that we are also heartened by the number of people booking Scheduled Departures and suspect this is being encouraged by the vaccine programme that is now well underway in the UK which has instilled confidence in travellers.
You can consider a trip which covers a number of days, or maybe you just want a day hike in Snowdonia or a trail running day in the Lake District. If we can help you achieve your holiday aspirations this year then we will be there for you.
For bespoke mountain escapes or day trips across the UK we have guides available. Just contact us with your query.
What do you mean by a 'Scheduled Departure'?
We mean that the trip is advertised to the general public and is available to book on our website. A Scheduled Departure is a group trip on to which anyone with the appropriate experience and fitness can book either as an individual or with friends or family. The number of bookings we will take on such a trip is to be found in the 'At a Glance' box to the right of the trip web page.
why is a private trip a good idea this YEAR?
With all the uncertainty surrounding travel and so many different restrictions for each potential destination it is much easier to react to announcements and to any last minute changes if you are a group of friends or family.
Quite simply being able to talk to the leader of your group and make a quick decision about whether the trip can go ahead, or agree to any changes affecting travel, can be done more efficiently and quicker than contacting up to eight different people who may have their own differing agendas or opinions.
For example instead of making a decision about a trip 6 weeks before departure, as per our normal Terms and Conditions, a private group might decide they want to wait until nearer the departure date in a bid to keep all options open. This is something we can negotiate in a bid to ensure the trip has a good chance of going ahead.
OTHER BENEFITS AND REASONS TO BOOK A PRIVATE TRIP?
There are many benefits to having your own private trip. You get to choose the dates, the duration, the country, and of course, your travelling companions. In these times of 'covid' you also know who will be in your group and this may help create a feeling that you have your own 'travel bubble'.
In terms of group dynamics you will most likely also know the fitness, attitudes, experience and opinions of your travelling buddies which can all make for a wonderful experience.
How many of us can book onto a private trip?
For private trips the size of the group is really up to you. We have specific ratios we work with to ensure safety and enjoyment, however, if you wish to exceed our preferred maximum number we can employ a 'second' guide or instructor to cater to the needs of your group.
Kathy Grindrod is one of our UK based hiking guides, here she is exploring the island of Skye
IS IT MORE EXPENSIVE?
First of all, you are having a trip tailor-made to your own requirements, dates, duration and inevitably that requires more input from Tracks and Trails, in terms of organisation and logistics and inevitably it will be more expensive, but still affordable.
You will pay a little more for the flexibility, privacy and freedom to choose and make changes than if you were on a Scheduled Departure. It really depends on what you want to spend on your holiday, and how much you wish to be a private group or individual.