/ Most challenging hikes in England ?

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wolfbane 26 Nov 2019

Now its fast approaching winter - which I prefer when hiking and preferably to use routes  that most people rarely go/use, which locations  in England would be considered the most challenging ? I liked Helvelyn , Bowfell, Blencathra , and Cross fell, - but looking for further challenging locations , maybe I should go further north into Scotland into the Cairngorms      , 

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andrew ogilvie 26 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

You should, indeed, go further North into Scotland...or further West into Wales?

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Lusk 26 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

I see you is in Manchester.
Forget the mileage going elsewhere, I've got a nice 27 miler starting at Glossop station and ending at the Ladybower Inn which should be quite an effort in mid winter.

It almost wrecked me when I did it in summer in just shy of 10  hours a few years back.

Might have the route somewhere on my computer if you're that bothered.

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wolfbane 26 Nov 2019

Hi , yes send the route , thanks

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Lusk 26 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

https://gb.mapometer.com/walking/route_3852749.html

It's a bit vague unless you pay for the maps.
Can give you a few way markers if you want.

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wolfbane 26 Nov 2019

Great , thanks for that , I know some of the area and have OS maps of the peak district and surrounding areas  

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Sputnick 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

Hi, my favourite winter long walk, has to be the Derwent  watershed. Alpine start is a must, but if Bleaklow is frozen it's a pure delight. I'm from Sheffield  so begin at stanage but you could start from the Snake pass summit. It's about 60k so it will be head torch at each end.

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wintertree 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

One day I’m going to walk the county boundary from Alston to High Midgeholme.  The Lykewake has a reputation for being mentally gruelling due to the featurelessnees but this is a whole other level - entire grid squares devoid of any markings at 25k:1, not even “piles of stones”.  I suspect it’s got some real bog trots and regions of giant peat hags as well.

Post edited at 08:29
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Tom V 27 Nov 2019
In reply to Sputnick:

It's still quite a challenge midsummer but at least you can travel light and leave the headtorch at home.

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In reply to wolfbane:

You've got loads of options without leaving england. You don't need bigger hills, just make it a longer day by climbing more of them. Here's a few ideas from our Route Cards:

Ennerdale skyline: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=116

Patterdale parish boundary: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=840

Lakeland 3000-ers (plus a bit): https://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=483

North Pennines watershed: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=256

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subtle 27 Nov 2019
In reply to andrew ogilvie:

> You should, indeed, go further North into Scotland...or further West into Wales?

Go West) Life is peaceful there
(Go West) There in the open air
(Go West) Where the skies are blue
(Go West) This is what we're gonna do
(Life is peaceful there) Go West
(In the open air) Go West
(Baby, you and me) Go West
(This is our destiny)
Come on, come on, come on, come on

(Go West) Sun in wintertime
(Go West) We will feel just fine
(Go West) Where the skies are blue
(Go West) This is what we're gonna do
(Come on, come on, come on, come on)
(Go West)

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Billhook 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

Challenging?

Try the Pennine Way this winter.

Alternately get hold of one of your maps and draw a simple straight line across accessible land, or, use a grid line - and follow them as near as possible.

But your map  contains all you need to plan your own journeys of exploration.  All you need is imagination.

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deepsoup 27 Nov 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> It's a bit vague unless you pay for the maps.

That site does allow you to download a gpx file though, which you can then upload again somewhere else to see the same route against a better map. 

OS or Viewranger if you have the subscription perhaps, or failing that bikehike or here:
https://www.osola.org.uk/rides/gpsuploader.htm
(Scoll down a bit to where it says "View British GPX files on OS Maps")

Post edited at 10:09
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deepsoup 27 Nov 2019
In reply to Billhook:

> But your map  contains all you need to plan your own journeys of exploration.  All you need is imagination.

True.  But for the moors of the Peak specifically, it is also well worth buying this rather beautiful book: https://christophergoddard.net/product/south-yorkshire-moors/

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PaulJepson 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

The section of the Pennine Way through the Cheviot Hills is bloody great, and has a couple of shelters to get your head down in. Not super steep by any means (the hills are quite rolling in comparison to The Lakes) but you can get some good mileage in. 

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profitofdoom 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

The entire coastline of Britain would be challenging. It's been reported as 4000 miles, 6500 miles, and other lengths. Here's a guy doing it for charity (the RNLI):

https://www.coastmagazine.co.uk/content/meet-man-who-walking-entire-british-coastline

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SteveX 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

You do mention Scotland.

A friend of mine did all the Scottish tops over 4000 in 48 hours, in winter. Sounds tough to me.

Post edited at 13:57
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lone 27 Nov 2019
In reply to andrew ogilvie:

The Rhinogs traverse from Barmouth to Llyn Mair East of Porthmadog is a really good route, also very adaptable as well route wise.

L

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In reply to lone:

Here's one we made earlier: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=79

Ok, not England as per the OP

Post edited at 15:48
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Mike Peacock 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wintertree:

> One day I’m going to walk the county boundary from Alston to High Midgeholme.  The Lykewake has a reputation for being mentally gruelling due to the featurelessnees but this is a whole other level - entire grid squares devoid of any markings at 25k:1, not even “piles of stones”.  I suspect it’s got some real bog trots and regions of giant peat hags as well.


I confess I don't know the area well at all, but is that really true? Empty grid squares are really quite exceptional (no boundary stones, ditches, trods, shake holes, etc). In fact, I'm not sure any exist.

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wintertree 27 Nov 2019
In reply to Mike Peacock:

> I confess I don't know the area well at all, but is that really true? Empty grid squares are really quite exceptional (no boundary stones, ditches, trods, shake holes, etc). In fact, I'm not sure any exist.

There’s one entirely devoid of anything but contours and the county boundary line north west of Great Blacklaw Hill.  Not even an altitude label on a contour line.

There’s another one with only a “UA Bdy” on the county line - which isn’t a feature on the ground - and an altitude label on one of the contours.

There’s 7 more squares I don’t have in my map tiles at 25k:1.  I expect they have labelled features however.

Welcome to the North Pennines.  Vast expanses of empty heather and bog.

Post edited at 18:52
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Mike Peacock 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wintertree:

Have you a GR? I genuinely am interested in such map nerdiness. I found Great Blacklaw Hill but NW of it the 1:25 square has the boundary, plus fences and a track.
https://www.geograph.org.uk/browse.php?p=498933
If you click the map on the link it opens the 1:25.

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wintertree 27 Nov 2019
In reply to Mike Peacock:

I don’t have paper maps to hand for a GR.  You found the square - I read that as a line of fence posts, some walls or boundaries and the county boundary, no tracks.  Edit: I see the track end in that square on Geograph but not my map - must be a very new addition!  

My first post could have been clearer - no features meriting a text label.  The square east of the one I mentioned is very nearly blank of everything but contours and unlabelled sikes.

Not on the walk I mentioned but look north of Blotting Raise for a blank square (contours and unlabelled sikes only).  Also east of Cold Fell. 

Post edited at 19:31
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wintertree 27 Nov 2019
In reply to Mike Peacock:

On my 50k map the Maiden Way has 3 squares devoid of all but contours, unlabelled sike and the bridleway itself.  It’s an old roman road.  Another 2 are empty bar Greg’s Hut (no text) and a ground surveyed altitude.

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wintertree 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wintertree:

> ... fence posts ...

Shows what I know!  It’s actually a county parish boundary not a geographic feature.  Here’s a square with nothing but contours, unlabelled sikes and another such non-physical boundary when you click through to the 25k - https://www.geograph.org.uk/browse.php?p=482726 - just off the Maiden Way.

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Andy 1902 27 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

If you pick the right section of the SW Coast Path you would find it a lot harder than many of the walks described above.

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Toerag 29 Nov 2019
In reply to wintertree:

Just had a look on googlemaps - what are the funny markings in the vegetation about 1km south of high Midgeholme? Edit - actually all over the moors there. Looks like someone went mad with a lawnmower.

Post edited at 15:26
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Arms Cliff 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Toerag:

> Just had a look on googlemaps - what are the funny markings in the vegetation about 1km south of high Midgeholme? Edit - actually all over the moors there. Looks like someone went mad with a lawnmower.

Burning heather to keep it low for grouse.

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wintertree 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Toerag:

As Arms Cliff says - managed heather moor is a patchwork of different ages, with burning used over the winter months to make sure no patch ends up more than a few years old and to keep the trees away.

How, you might wonder, can this possibly be legal in an era of catastrophically rising CO2, recurring expensive lowland floods in the drainage basin of this denuded patchwork, and loss of arboreal habits?

It’s now a UNESCO Geopark as well as an Area or Outstanding “Natural” Beauty...

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deepsoup 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Mike Peacock:

You probably already know this one, but in case you don't here's a bit of map geekery for you..
Tthe square centred on SE835225 is reckoned to be the most boring square on the national 1:50k map.  It has a bit of the name "Ousefleet" on it, and there's a power line just crossing one corner, but that's it.  No contours (it's Lincolnshire) & nothing else.

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Pero 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Sputnick:

> It's about 60k so it will be head torch at each end.

That's not a walk, that's a run! That's 20 hours at (my) normal winter walking pace. 

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C Witter 30 Nov 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

There seem to be quite a few people out on heroic quests up Scafell Pike, Snowdon, and such death defying routes as Striding Edge. Invariably they stop me and bark: "which way to...?" and "how hard is it?" I feel like something has gone wrong somewhere when people approach the fells like some moronic boot camp exercise cum rite of manhood.

I'm not saying that's the OP's mindset is the same, just that this is something I've seen a lot of recently.

 

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SteveX 30 Nov 2019
In reply to C Witter:

> There seem to be quite a few people out on heroic quests up Scafell Pike, Snowdon, and such death defying routes as Striding Edge. Invariably they stop me and bark: "which way to...?" and "how hard is it?" I feel like something has gone wrong somewhere when people approach the fells like some moronic boot camp exercise cum rite of manhood.

> I'm not saying that's the OP's mindset is the same, just that this is something I've seen a lot of recently.

I tend to go for a wander in a vague general direction and end up where I will, I will be in Langdale Sunday/Monday and may end up on Pavey, Bowfell, Scafell Pike, who knows,  and tend to avoid challenge walks, ie I have never "done" the Yorkshire three peaks. However isn't the essence of "mountaineering" or "climbing" whatever that means, to take on a challenge because its there, otherwise why go up a flipping big lump in the Alps or wherever.

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Sputnick 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Pero:

Bet it would be even longer in snow. I think it's at it's best frozen.. I tend to do it quicker than in summer.

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spenser 01 Dec 2019
In reply to C Witter:

I once saw a baffled couple bimbling along the Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert Road who stopped me and asked if i was a local. Having responded that i wasn't but knew of the area to likely be of use they told me that they had followed some chaps down from the top of Snowdon and were looking for Nant Gwynant. I left them while they were still looking horrified at the idea of hitching round. 

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Qwertilot 01 Dec 2019
In reply to wintertree:

I think that’s the wrong way to go from Alston for real pain. The walking from New Water over to the top of Cold fell at least is pretty easy going.

The Weardale horseshoe on the other hand is utterly brutal peat hags all the way round, and honestly pretty devoid of objective scenic merit, paths etc.

Some wonderful cotton grass when I did in a very dry high summer a few years back mind

I’m sure someone has done Dufton along to Brampton all the way along the W scarp. Must be too much fun to count that though.

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C Witter 01 Dec 2019
In reply to spenser:

I was up doing the Crib Goch - Garnedd Ugain route up to Snowdon with my dad and uncle a few days ago. Along the way, three separate pairs of lads bombarded us with questions:

"Which is the hardest way?"
"How hard is it?"
"Does it get harder than this?"
"Which way is it?"

One pair were out to do "the hardest way up Snowdon", despite one of the guys complaining before he'd reached the turn off the PYG for Crib Goch. Another pair thankfully turned around at the steeping, where the path begins to become a scramble. The final two had to follow my pa and me down the PYG track because they couldn't find the way in the dark by themselves (despite torches).

A couple of weeks before, a couple butted in on a friend and I at Seathwaite to ask: "which way is it to Scafell Pike?" "If you've got a map, I can show you on there", I offered. "We haven't got a map." I explained that it was quite a complex walk in cold, low cloud conditions, and might well take around 6 hours there and back. "6 hours!" the guy exclaims at his partner, "What did you put in that sat nav? Why's it brought us here?" I patiently explained that there were some good hills around. "No way, we've come all the way from Middlesborough to do this." I sent them off to Wasdale Head in the vague hope they'd have a pleasant, scenic drive instead of a walk.

Later in the day, descending from Gable to Styhead and then to Sprinkling Tarn, we met a second walker who butted in again, demanding to know where he was and seeming to think it was our fault that he was in the wrong place - or, anyone else's apart from his own. "She said left at the tarn! Why am I here?"

It's an odd thing.

Post edited at 17:41
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wintertree 01 Dec 2019
In reply to Qwertilot:

I’ve done bits of the southern flank of the weardale hellshoe.  I’d honestly feel bad recommending it to someone who doesn’t understand quite how “autre” the watershed is.

The area north of Fendrith Hill was particularly, er, special.  It was like some blasted plain out of a high fantasy novel.  Contrasted with California-blue skies and wheeling lapwings.  Never seen another person when walking up there....  Not that you can normally see beyond the next peat hag...

Post edited at 18:07
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wintertree 01 Dec 2019
In reply to Qwertilot:

A recent trip report from someone on more-or-less the horseshoe.  Safe to say they missed out on the proper experience by doing it when the ground was frozen...

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=78596

Edit - winter conditions may be cheating but getting the last bus home from Durham’s bus station goes some way to making up for that, although it’s not the same since it got gentrified and became properly “indoors” a decade ago.

Post edited at 22:21
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Qwertilot 03 Dec 2019
In reply to wintertree:

Yes. I really don’t think it’s recommendable in any sane sense.

Killhope Law seemed to be the wettest bit to me - still some very damp spots even in a baking hot high summer.

Does anyone know why it ended up quite so bad? I’ve wandered off path over a lot of pennine hills and I can’t think of anything else too much like it in such a sustained sense.

Its much, much worse than the areas round Cross fell.

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Qwertilot 03 Dec 2019
In reply to wintertree:

Well I cheated by using summer Almost looks attractive in that report, I seem to have spent a while photographing peat hags. I can't remember why:
https://qwertilot.piwigo.com/index?/category/162-mid_upper_weardale_horseshoe/start-25

One walk I would actually recommend is out over Stainmore common E/W to Great Knipe and back. A fairly long day from Barnard Castle but its OK on the ground and doesn't feel quite like anywhere else.

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