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. 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, divorced with 2 children aged 18 and 21. I brought them up from and early age, so they have been on many of the hikes with me. They are now going off on their own hikes.
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 (they’re my turnings on Prince Charles’ Oak Pavilion at Highgrove House) but family circumstances meant I had to close down my business a few years ago. I’m now working as a handyman and gardener at a carehome. I finance my walks from the sale of a property and down sizing. 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. 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 rental 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 GPS tough phone with Memory mapping. Recommended Ulefone Armor 3W
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) from Lands End to John O’Groats via Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis. Then in 2020 probably my best hiking year to date, 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 walks with just a 2kg (5lbs) waist pack in extremely good weather. I haven’t always gone for the lightest weight items, as I want comfort in the hills too.
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 love the 24/7 attention, and even my two teenagers still join me in the hills when they can.
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.
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.
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.
Disclosure: Wildwalkinguk is a blog run by myself and my wife in our spare time, and we pay for its running costs ourselves. We 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 we’ve linked to), the company will pay a small commission to us. This money goes towards the costs of hosting the blog. We 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.