Wild Walking UK is all about sharing the adventure and freedom of long-distance walking and wild camping in the UK, both with and without children.
My name is Mark Webb. I’m 50, married with four children (aged between 6 and 19) and I’ve been walking the hills and mountains of the UK all my life. My philosophy is simple: low weight, low cost, low stress – and getting in as many walks as I can before I’m dead.
The daily routine
I’m a self-employed wood-turner by trade, but circumstances meant I had to close down my business a few years ago. You could say I’ve taken early retirement! I finance my walks from the sale of a rental property and the odd bit of gear reviewing for American hikers at Backpacking Light. I have to make this money stretch as far as possible.
On an ordinary day I will be on the school run with my two youngest children. My wife works full-time as an Assistant Head in a school, which means we have the luxury of the school holidays to head off into the hills.
I love the freedom and challenge of the hills with nothing booked. Camping wild 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…)
I particularly enjoy the sense of purpose in long-distance walks. My favourites include the Cape Wrath trail and the TGO Challenge. I walked these alone, which for me is the least stressful way. I find I can shut off from the outside world completely – no more bills and politics! My latest challenge is to walk alone from Land’s End to John O’Groats, to see if it is possible to wild camp every night.
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 and the Weavers’ Way. All of these walks included at least two children under 10!
To my delight, my children walked a lot further than I expected them to 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. It’s obviously not for that pint that I’m after, but the bag of crisps, fizzy drink and game of cards. They love the 24/7 attention, and even my two teenagers still join me in the hills when they can.
This blog 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.