It’s National Walking Month!

It’s the time of year to dust off your walking boots and poles, plan some exciting new routes, and take to the tracks and trails in celebration of the UK’s National Walking Month. To mark this year’s event, we asked our trusty band of Nikwax ambassadors and influencers to share with us their favourite walks, tips on how they ‘tread lightly’ and their go-to Nikwax product (TX.Direct® wins the day).

It’s a long read, but National Walking Month deserves some love, and we want to inspire you to join in! Read on for contributions from some of the nation’s most passionate outdoor enthusiasts, all experts in their outdoor fields…

How will you be celebrating National Walking Month this year? Do you have a specific challenge/route you’ll be embarking upon?
Isaac Kenyon, Eco Adventurer: I will be exploring some of the Lake District during National Walking Month, choosing lesser-known trails away from the tourist hotspots to immerse myself in the area’s quieter locations. Of course, as an eco-adventurer, I will also be doing several litter-picking hikes in my home county of Devon. We must keep our national trails clean, especially during National Walking Month.

© Matthew Waring, Unsplash

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic Editor: I’m not a fan of winter, so the bright days of May always make for very happy times for me. This year, I’ll be spending a lot of the month in my homeland of Wales. I’ve got a visit to Eryri National Park on the cards, and I’ll also be spending a bit of time on the north Pembrokeshire coast exploring the Preseli Hills. Pembrokeshire is stunning in May as the whole place gets carpeted in colour from all the wildflowers.

Sam Sykes, Approved DofE Activity Provider: National Walking Month is always a busy time for my instructor team and I as we work with young people on their DofE expeditions throughout the UK. May sees lots of young people training and practising their skills ready for DofE assessment later in the summer. I have no specific challenge in May, but I will be out at least 4-5 days a week in the hills.

Harrison Wood, Fell Foodie: I would like to spend more time in the Lake District fells after a particularly wet winter/early spring. The benefits physically and mentally are always a welcome tonic and provide a chance to reset with a busy season on the horizon. Perhaps National Walking Month could be the time I finally complete the Wainwrights (13 left to scratch off)!

What is your all-time favourite walk and why?
Paul Lewis, Peak Mountaineering Founder: I have enjoyed many treks all over the world, but the one that rises above the others was the Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk trek in Iceland. The Landmannalaugar region is a remote and rugged geothermal area in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, and it is a truly incredible unique and rugged landscapes. My wife and I completed it for our honeymoon and so it felt extra special!

© Freysteinn G Jonsson, Unsplash 

Becky Surridge, Outdoor Adventurer: My all-time favourite hike would have to be the Cape Wrath Trail because of its beauty and wildness, its minimal paths and lack of way marks. The combination of wild camping, abundance of bothys, and the untouched landscape makes this an ultimate trail with plenty of hardships and stunning sections.

James Forrest, Adventure, Hiker and Author: The Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt in the French and Swiss Alps – it’s a dreamy alpine adventure that ends with incredible views of the Matterhorn. It was always a lifegoal of mine to complete this long-distance trek.

Nick Baker, Naturalist and TV Presenter: I love the Cairngorm Plateau and the route up Coire an t-Sneachda, which is an easy hike for the mountains (though it mustn’t be attempted if there is still snow on the rock-faces). On a May morning, sitting in the bottom of this natural amphitheatre with a coffee in one hand, listening to the strident song of the Ring Ouzel bird, the delicate twittering of a Snow Bunting and the occasional croaky voice of a Ptarmigan, all echoing around the place… it’s just magical.

Will Renwick: I walked the entire Wales Coast Path when I was 23 as part of a complete circumnavigation of Wales. The best thing about that trip was that I didn’t have an end date to walk towards, which meant I could take things nice and slow, stopping when I wanted to have a long sea swim or if I came across a decent-looking pub – and there were a lot of these!

© Ajeet Panesar, Unsplash 

How do you ‘tread lightly’ when out walking?
Isaac Kenyon: When out walking, “treading lightly” means being mindful of your impact on the environment and taking steps to minimise any negative effects. Here are some of the ways I tread lightly and do good for the environment whilst walking:

  • I stick to established trails and paths to avoid trampling on sensitive vegetation or disturbing wildlife habitats. By staying on marked trails, we help to preserve natural areas and prevent erosion.
  • Pack up all litter, including food wrappers, water bottles, and other waste. The goal is to leave natural areas cleaner than you found them by carrying out any trash you generate during your walk, and picking up trash if you see it.
  • When I observe wildlife, I do it from a distance and avoid disturbing or feeding animals. When my friends’ pets join me on walks, I make sure they are on a lead and under control to prevent them from chasing or harassing wildlife.
  • Keep noise levels to a minimum to avoid disturbing wildlife and other walkers. I like to enjoy the sounds of nature and will always refrain from playing loud music or making excessive noise while walking. If I want to listen to music, I will use headphones.
  • I educate myself on local environmental regulations, conservation efforts, and sensitive habitats before heading out on a walk. It’s important to follow posted signs and guidelines to protect fragile ecosystems and wildlife.
  • I choose eco-friendly transportation options to take me to and from the trails, such as on foot, cycling, carpooling, or using public transport. I try to minimise driving whenever possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
  • Take a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated avoid single-use plastic containers. I also conserve water sparingly and refrain from wasting resources while out walking.
  • I volunteer with local environmental organisations and participate in conservation projects to help protect and preserve natural areas for the enjoyment of future generations.

 What’s the key reason why you love walking?
Paul Lewis: It is everything. I love the physical activity, but as much as that I love being immersed in nature and exploring the wilder parts of our world. It is healthy for us in every way, and I especially notice the mental health benefits of a good walk. I love the thinking time I get when walking alone, but another real pleasure is being able to share the experience with others. Whether solo or in a group, it is a complete package.

Becky Surridge: I’ve been hiking trails for 5 years now, in places as varied as Wales, Scotland, Canada, Sweden and the Lofoten Islands in Norway. I love hiking because it allows me to appreciate landscapes at a relatively slow pace and connect with nature, plus it keeps me fit and is great movement for my body. It allows me to be in the present, to de-stress from normal life and to think clearly! It’s great for both my mental and physical health.

© Paul Taton, Unsplash 

Will Renwick: In day-to-day life, my mind often flits between multiple tasks and distractions, and with so much to concentrate on I end up not really being able to concentrate on anything at all! Walking is the escape from that. With one simple objective – just to get from A to B – I find my mind really loosens up; the noise is filtered out, and I can just enjoy what’s around me.

Sam Sykes: It’s always tough to answer this, as walking and leading others in the outdoors is my job as well as my passion. However, for me it allows my mind the space and freedom it needs to decompress, reorder, and align positively.

What’s your favourite Nikwax product and why?
Isaac Kenyon: I love TX.Direct Wash-In for waterproofing my wet weather clothing and I have been using it for years. As soon as I feel the water repellency reducing on my jackets or trousers, using this product makes them feel brand new again. My gear becomes very breathable and fully waterproof once more, and the water beads off it. I also like the sustainability efforts behind Nikwax products, with the bottles being recyclable and the formulas being PFAS-free.

Paul Lewis: I love all the products, but the ones I use above all are Tech Wash® and TX.Direct Wash-In. This is my go-to package for cleaning and proofing my outdoor clothes and shell garments. The combo works well, but it also makes care super simple. I pop my items in the washing machine with Tech Wash and then, as soon as that cycle is finished, I add some TX.Direct Wash-In to the still wet items and run another wash cycle. The result? My clothing is ready for more adventures!

Nick Baker: I love my heritage tin of Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather for reproofing my leather boots – it was the first Nikwax product I bought, and I’ve had a tin in my cupboard since the mid-1980’s! Keeping water out of your boots is vital – dry boots mean happy feet and the more walking you can do. I use Tech Wash and TX.Direct a lot too, as they’re the secret to keeping Pàramo jackets and trousers working.

Harrison Wood: I swear by TX.Direct Wash-In. Living in Cumbria, you must embrace the rain, but it can take its toll on your equipment. Giving my waterproof jackets some TLC every now and again with TX.Direct Wash-In brings back their water repellency, which means I’ll stay dry in those inevitable rain showers!

© Anna Saveleva, Unsplash 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *