Wild Walking UK is all about sharing the adventure and freedom of long-distance walking and wild camping in the UK. I also review all the gear used on these adventures.
My name is Mark Webb. I’ve been walking the hills and mountains of the UK all my life. I’m 53, single with 2 children aged 19 and 22. I brought them up on my own from 1 and 3 years old, so they have been on many of the hikes with me.
My philosophy is simple: low weight, low cost, low stress – and getting in as many walks as I can before I’m dead.
…continuing the tradition with my children
The daily routine
I’m a self-employed wood-turner by trade (they’re my turnings on Prince Charles’ Oak Pavilion at Highgrove House) but family circumstances meant I had to close down my turning business a few years ago. Now doing whatever work I can get, mainly garden and property maintenance. I finance my walks from the sale of a property and down sizing, so I have to make this money stretch as far as possible by being very selective with the walking gear I purchase, and then making it last as long as possible. My eldest son is still using my 30+ year-old Karrimor rucksack.
I live in Norfolk so I’m never hill fit when I set off on a hike. On long distance walks, I always have to set off slowly and get fit as I go. This seems to work fine as I’ve still managed to walk the length of the UK in under two months, both times.
I love the freedom and challenge of the hills with nothing booked. I usually prefer to camp wild, as this means I can change my walk to suit the weather, family demands, my mood, or even the quality of the pubs! (I know I said low cost, but I see it as my contribution to the local economy…) You can read my 11 wild camping rules.
For many years I have carried too much weight – often 20kgs (44lbs) or more, due to old gear and lack of knowledge. As I got older I was just doing day walks because I didn’t enjoy carrying heavy loads. Then a few years ago when I sold my property, I had the money to change all my walking kit. So I learned as much as I could about the latest and lightest gear available, and hunted down the best deals. Which lead me to purchase a waterproof tough phone with GPS and mapping and replace all my gear.
This has given me a new lease of life in the hills. Since lightening my pack weight and improving my navigation safety, I have taken on long distance hikes that I would have never considered before: the Cape Wrath Trail, the TGO Challenge and in 2019 I walked (and wild camped) 1200 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats via Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis. Then in 2020 probably my best hiking year to date, 1100 miles from Dover to Cape Wrath and The Skye Trail.
I now class myself as a lightweight hiker rather than ultralight. My winter base weight is around 10kgs (22lbs) and in summer around 7 or 8kgs (17lbs). But I have been known to do weekend away with just a 2kg (5lbs) waist pack in extremely good weather. I haven’t always gone for the lightest weight items. I’m more interested in safety and comfort in the hills, rather than ultimate weight saving.
This blog (supported by SiteGround) is designed to share the highs and lows of my adventures. I hope it will inspire someone to get out there and enjoy what our beautiful country has to offer, without it costing the earth. Maybe try something that they didn’t think they could do. It’s also to give a little back and hopefully help others, as I’ve been helped over the years. Also to give a very big thank you to all the people I’ve met out in the country side, over the years. These great conversations have kept me sane in this mad world.
I write reviews of all the gear used on my walks. Most of the gear has been purchased by myself and I have been given a few products to test and review. Thankyou EDZ merino wool clothing, Inov-8 and AtomPacks.
The reviews on my blog are just my opinion and how I feel about the products, companies and walks. When I find something I like or a company that is especially good (particularly if it’s a British company), I like to tell others to help them. If you see any mistakes on my site or have different opinion, please let me know. This way I can improve the site and it’s content.
Walking with children
I’ve found that the same walk with my family can be a completely different experience. My children find fun in things I had barely noticed – hide and seek in the heather, playing in a mountain stream or the thrill of walking in the dark. As a family, we’ve completed Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, the Pennine Way, the Cumbria Way, the Weavers’ Way and the Boudicca Way. All of these walks included at least two children under 10!
To my delight, the children walked a lot further than I expected them to even from a very early age. They especially love it if there is a hill to roll down or a river to dam up. The children look forward to the next pub just as much as me – obviously not for the pint that I’m after, but the bag of crisps, fizzy drink and game of cards. They loved the 24/7 attention and even now they are older often still join me in the hills. I’m going to be walking the Cape Wrath Trail with my 22 year old son this year.
In 2021 I purchased the Striding Edge narrow boat to travel the canals on. Writing about these trips and the walks that I do around the canals. You can read more here. This year I’m planning to walk the Cape Wrath Trail with my son and then spend next winter in New Zealand walking the 3000km Te Araroa.
The Striding Edge narrow boat will probably become my home in the future. When my daughter no longer needs our house and my money runs out, I will have to sell my house to continue financing this lifestyle. Mid life crises time I think…
Thankyou for your interest and support
Thank you very much to all the people who have supported me by buying me a coffee and coming back to use my product links. It is very much appreciated and makes it possible for me to continue paying the website costs.
Please message me with your opinions on the blog and my gear reviews so I can improve and add to the site to make it as helpful to others as I can. Thank you for reading and happy trails.
Wildwalkinguk is a blog run by myself in spare time, and I pay for its running costs myself. I do have some Amazon affiliate links and adverts on the site. If you click on these adverts or links and buy what you need (it doesn’t have to be the item I’ve linked to), the company will pay a small commission to us. This money goes towards the costs of hosting the blog. I would be extremely grateful if you could consider using our links when you next need to buy something from our advertisers. Alternatively, you can buy me a coffee here. Thank you so much for your support. Mark.