After a winter of hibernation and a spring with only a sprinkling of sun, June may be eagerly awaited for much of the British population. It's the beginning of summer, flowers are in full bloom, and the excitement of getting out and about to enjoy the weather often strikes the nation in a flurry.
The UK has some stunning scenery and areas to enjoy throughout June. By planning a hike you could enjoy all the wonders the outdoors has to offer, reap some health benefits, and have some well-deserved fun with friends or family.
If you're an avid hiker already, you may already know the ins and outs of planning a great hike. But for many, organising a suitable walk could be a daunting thought.
So, what are some of the things you could consider before lacing up your walking boots?
Before you begin planning your hike you may want to consider the capabilities of the group that will be taking on the challenge. Will younger kids be rambling up the hills, or are you planning to take the family dog?
No matter how fit you are, walking for 3-4 hours (dependant on your trail) can be very different than an hour in the gym or doing a round of squats at home. Putting one foot in front of the other may seem a simple concept but it can definitely be tiring.
There is evidence to suggest that a 150lb person could increase the number of calories they burn by 60% from walking uphill as opposed to on the flat, so decide on a route that suits the amount of exertion you and your fellow walkers are capable of.
You've decided you want to go on a hike, but where do you walk to?
Search around your local area for National parks, walking routes, National Trust sites or public areas. There are a number of online resources, such as blogs and forums, where avid hikers may have already done the hard work for you and found some suitable routes.
You could also plan your route around something you've always wanted to see, such as a natural wonder, monument or point of interest. A hike can be made even more interesting by a stop off for lunch by a waterfall or a lake.
If you can find a visitor's centre or a trailhead, that can be a great starting point for a good loop walk.
Once you've found your perfect hiking route, you may want to consider other factors such as access to water, the weather, food, and suitable clothing.
Before you round the group up and go on your adventure, checking the weather forecast could be crucial to ensure you remain happy hikers. But if you don't mind a bit of drizzle and you're sure it won't dampen your moods, it still may be worth ensuring that the terrain is suitable for wet weather and that your safety wouldn't be compromised.
It might be a good idea to leave a copy of your itinerary with a friend who is not coming along, just in case anything unexpected happens. Making a checklist before you head out could also help you keep organised and avoid forgetting the all-important packed lunches!
Other important things to pack in your bag may include a map, some sun cream, and a first aid kit.
Aerobic activities such as hiking can work all kinds of wonders for the mind and body. You could improve your health and fitness, but also relieve stress, improve your memory, mental health, sleep quality and even spark creativity.
Wherever you are, if you decide to go on a walk this June, you're bound to find a number of options. If you're "taking a hike" outside the UK this summer, make sure you have travel insurance in place for additional peace of mind!
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