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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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: 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.