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’m 51, married and have four children aged between 7 and 20. I’ve been walking the hills and mountains of the UK all my life.

Dad and me in the 1970’s – the beginnings of my love of walking…

My philosophy is simple: low weight, low cost, low stress – and getting in as many walks as I can before I’m dead.

…and continuing the tradition with my own family

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 circumstances meant I had to close down my business a few years ago. I’m now working as a handyman a few days a week. I finance my walks from the sale of a property, 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.

Sadly I’m not always in the hills! This is a more usual day…

On an ordinary day I will be on the school run with my two youngest children, fitting in working as a handyman and extending our house. My wife works full-time as an Assistant Head in a school, which means we usually have the luxury of the school holidays to head off into the hills. We 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.

Long-distance walking

…but his is what I’d rather be doing!

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.

Contributing to the local economy on the Pennine Way. Great evenings entertainment in the pub and night in the bunk house.

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.

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.

Klymit Inertia O Zone Regular sleep mat

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!

Children crossing a stream up in the hills
The fun of stepping stones over a river – even in the rain!

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.

The family at the top of Castle Crag, Borrowdale.
The family at the top of Castle Crag, Borrowdale (eldest son taking the photograph)

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. Thanks 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.

Gear Reviews

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.

My review of my favourite gear for navigation and safety when hiking, the Ulefone Armor 3W waterproof phone.

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: I’ve had to put advertising on this blog to help the site running costs. The reviews on the site may contain some affiliated links. This means I receive a small payment for any purchases made as a result of clicking on the links, at no additional cost to you. These payments help to finance the costs of the site and have not influenced my review of the products.

10 Replies to “Mark Webb: about me”

  1. Hi Mark,
    I’m so glad to have found your website!
    I live in Lowestoft, Suffolk, and have just had to postpone my Cape Wrath Trail hike that was due to start end of April.
    Interesting your comments about not being hill-fit because you live in Norfolk. Same problem me, and the same solution. I walk up and down the cliffs and scores here as much as I can. What’s your next adventure going to be?

    Regards,

    Kevin

    1. Hi Kevin

      Thanks for the message. I had to postpone the Scottish National and Skye Trail walks, which I planned to start shortly. So I’m just back from a walk and wild camping trip from Diss to Blickling instead, via Angles Way and the Coast Path. Should post the blog shortly. Depending on when the restrictions will dictate the next walk, I want to get the postponed walks done and I had been planning walking the Pennine Way again, with my family this summer.
      Best of Luck.
      Mark

  2. Hi Mark,

    I’ve just discovered your website, excellent reading and resource! I’ve always been an outdoors person, loved fishing, wild camping etc. With everything going on lately it’s made me rethink a few things, I’ve just purchased some camping gear for me and my 17 year old daughter (I have five children) and we’re looking to do the Isle of Wight coastal walk soon.

    I’m very conscious of the environment and the importance of being outside, I’ve even been studying foraging and bushcraft. I run a green cleaning company in Romsey, Hampshire called Green Clean (I’ve put my website in the form). I only use plant based and biodegradable products and methods.

    Thanks for the inspiration and may see you out there one day 🙂

    Cheers

    Mark

    1. Hi Mark
      Thanks very much for your message. I’m just back from a few days hiking around the Norfolk coast with my 17 year old daughter. It was a special time and it’s great that they still want to hike with us. The Isle of Wight coastal walk was probably our best family wild camping trip. Not always easy to find a wild camping pitch that meets all my wild camping rules but is possible. Enjoy and good luck with the weather. Mark

  3. Hi Mark…. I just bought a Soulo 2nd hand but now that i see the weight difference i probably know why the people did get rid of this tent since its old school .
    I do like to know how tall are you because i am 1.90m that is 6’3 and having problems with the lenght cq hight of a tent .
    could you fill me up on this height item please …if its not too personal …. i
    I will take a look further on your site later .
    Kind regards

  4. The Hilleberg Soulo is a good tent. Heavier than many 1 person tents but a true 4 season mountain tent; as Hilleberg say, it’s as light as it can be for its strength. An indication of its intended use is that they sell extra pole sets and the tent pole clips are designed to be accept 2 poles. Few tents can match that level of strength. That toughness is often not needed and lighter tents are then more appropriate. I have a six moons lunar solo (~700 gm) and a Soulo (~2300 gm) depending on where and when I am going the choice between them is rarely decided by weight. I like light gear but have spent too many miserable nights in smashed tents to say that lightest is always bestest. The Soulo will stand you in good stead, maybe get something lighter for easier times though…

  5. Still buzzing to have met you today in the beautiful Scottish Borders hills Mark . Made my day !!! Ice bath is calling me now which is always a treat . All the best for the next 4 weeks my friend !!! Peace & One Love

  6. Hi Mark,

    Just want to thank you for a fantastic blog. What a great way to share your experiences and thoroughly enjoyed reading them.
    I found you looking for John O Groat Trail information and have found that you have provided the best review of it I can find!
    Even seeing your adventure for the West Highland Way which I’m doing in October provided me with a lot of insight. You’ve already got me rethinking some of my kit…

    Great to read your reviews, understanding your thoughts and feelings with products. It’s good to find reviews on items where the actual life of the products are considered.
    If you ever are hiking back through Glasgow please let me know!

    Thanks again,

    Mike

    1. Hi Mike

      Thanks so much for your message – it’s very kind of you to take the time to contact me. I’m so glad you have enjoyed reading the blog. Good luck with the West Highland Way in October. You will love it. I’d be interested to know which bits of your kit you have been rethinking?
      Best wishes
      Mark

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