Before we all forget about 2018, yes, two days in and everyone is already busy planning new and awesome adventures for this year (myself included!) But it’s also a great feeling to look back and ponder the top walks from last year. We’ve seen the Top Nines on Instagram.
I had to go one better with my top 10 hikes with you from 2018.
The main problem was picking those top 10 hikes, haha but after a strict voting process (with myself) I’ve picked my favourites.
There are a few obvious ones in here and some that might surprise you. Oh, and just because I’ve named it Top Hikes, it doesn’t mean it is all the highest UK mountains, but you might spot a few 🙂
Be sure to tell me what your top hikes of 2018 were in the comments below 🙂
My Top 10 UK Hikes from 2018
These are my top 10 favourite hikes from this year, they are in no particular order, that would have been too difficult. I’d love to know if you’ve done any of these hikes and whether you love them too?
Edale to Kinder Scout, Peak District
Starting my top UK hike list with my birthday walk and wild camp in the Peak District National Park. Edale is one of my go-to places as there are so many different walks you can do from here.
Not been to Edale yet? What!!! I’m deeply shocked haha! Well, fix that now by checking out some of my top 10 favourites hikes from Edale, which suit all levels of hiker.
My birthday was a mid-week day in May and it so happened that the weather was amazing. I packed my wild camping kit, plus a mini bottle of champagne haha (you’ve got to treat yourself) and set off late in the afternoon to find my spot for the night and have my bubbly (in a mug) with olives. This is my kind of luxury!
In the morning, (my birthday), I enjoyed a luxury breakfast of porridge and a coffee, then set off. The weather was stunning again and I soon arrived at Kinder Downfall. Depending on the weather, the waterfall may not be there or it might be blowing upwards (and chances are you will get wet). On this day, the sun was shining and the scenery was beautiful.
Since I was in a remote location, I ended up sitting at this spot, admiring the views and taking a few photos for nearly an hour and feeling like the luckiest person in the world.
That’s why this made my top hikes list. It’s also one of my favourite birthdays too.
Helvellyn Scramble + Catstye Cam, Lake District
Another hike from May on this list, yep it was a pretty awesome month and the weather in the UK was amazing. I wanted to make the most of every day.
This weekend’s hike was life-changing for me this year, I know that sounds dramatic but let me explain. This is the weekend I met with almost 20 strangers from Instagram, organised by the wonderful @AdventurerNic (aka the Instagram Secretary).
You can read more about Nic and fellow Instagrammers in my post on the BEST UK Hiking Instagrammers to follow!
Each person that weekend also had a passion for hiking and the outdoors so I immediately got along with everyone. We spent two days hiking in the Lake District, plus a wild camp on the top of Sheffield Pike, watching the sunset for epic.
It was at the end of the hike on day two, a Sunday when people were heading home. But I decided the weather was too gorgeous to go home and planned to stay to hike Helvellyn. It wasn’t just me that had the idea (#hikingaddicts) and an hour later, a small group were heading back up into the mountains.
We first hiked up Catstye Cam, a mountain with some epic views and played around with a few candid shots, thanks to Nic for the laughs! Then a scramble up to Helvellyn via Swirral Edge. It’s one of those moments I remember so well, the views were amazing and I felt nothing but happiness, maybe a few nerves, as I scrambled to the summit.
But also good fortune that I was stood at the top of a mountain in the UK, only wearing shorts and a t-shirt (the last time on the Coast to Coast hike I was on Helvellyn it was terrible conditions).
Eventually, we had to head back down. Time to tackle Striding Edge, a knife-like ridge that is pretty scary to scramble. I cautiously made my way down, stopping when I could to enjoy the experience. Even on a beautiful day, you still need to watch where you put your feet and for someone as clumsy as myself I had to concentrate.
Read next: 15 Best Lake District Walks
Solo Hiking the Jurassic Coast, Devon to Dorset
The Jurassic Coast was an epic adventure, where I really had to push myself both mentally and physically and that’s why it makes the top 10 hikes for this year.
Ironically, when I had planned this trip, I wasn’t doing it solo or hiking as many miles but a last minute change of plans from my hiking buddies meant they couldn’t come.
I had two choices, abort the trip or go solo. Well, you’ve guessed it (the title kind of gave it away), I opted to go it alone. And to add an extra challenge I decided to hike the full 95-mile route instead of the 60-mile trip we’d initially planned.
Setting off on day one, I had a treat of seeing the Red Arrows perform, I’d never seen them before and it was amazing. The next five days I had epic views, insane weather and kindness from numerous strangers.
The Jurassic Coast is a wonderful hike, making up a part of the South West Coast Path, hmm maybe a long-distance challenge I will do at some point!
The highlights from my six-day trip included wild camping along the coastal trail, hearing my first nightingale (sounds so beautiful), hiking in heavy rain and 40 mph winds (yes this was a highlight because I was proud that I had done it) and awesome coastal views along the walk, every day!
My lowlights mainly consisted of a horrible blister that caused me lots of pain and discomfort, totally my fault because in my last-minute plans I’d not packed my best hiking socks. Hiking with a full rucksack of gear, food and water meant extra pain due to the weight.
But I didn’t give up, I made it to the end and looking back I’m immensely proud of myself for completing the hike.
Bamford Edge, Peak District
Back to my local National Park, ok it’s not mine but it’s my closest and one that’s I’ve explored a lot over the years. During the summer months, one of my favourite things was travelling to the Peak District late in the day, setting up camp, then spending the next day doing a full hike.
Bamford Edge had been on my list for a while, I’d seem some stunning sunset photos and decided it was a great place to set up camp for the night.
It turned out that I wasn’t the only one with that idea, on arriving there were three guys setting up camp. I said hi, then found my own spot for the night, enjoying a magical sunset over Ladybower Reservoir and a peppermint tea before tucking up for the night in my tent.
In the early hours of the morning I unzipped my tent expecting amazing views, hmm I was basically in a cloud haha. So I had an extra snooze before getting up and making my breakfast, by which time the sun had burnt off the clouds and I had my view, yippee!
I then ended up chatting to the three guys who had been wild camping and we ended up spending a full day hiking together.
Great Gable in the Lake District
This was the last of four days hiking in the Lake District. I had stayed at YHA Borrowdale in a camping pod which was super cute and lovely and warm, considering it was November!
The first three days hiking had been amazing, with clear winter days and wonderful views of the fells of the Lake District, I’d finally hiked alongside Derwent Water, up Catbells, Fleetwith Pike, Haystacks, Dale Head and more awesome walks up the hills.
Day 4, I’d hoped to save the best for last, and spoiler alert I had! From Honister Pass, I hiked up to the first Wainright of the day, Grey Knotts and as soon as I reached the summit I could see Great Gable looming in the distance. I always love seeing where I’m hiking towards and sometimes depending on the route you can’t always see where you are heading.
Great Gable’s dome shape is very iconic and makes it even more spectacular.
Check out these places for more glamping in England
The previous three days I’d seen snow-capped mountains all around us and now I was finally going to hike up a mountain with snow. For those of you that know me, you’ll know I’m a total big kid and love the snow. Come on admit it you do too!
If you want to do some winter walking, check out these budget pieces of gear and equipment you need for winter walks.
Reaching Great Gable’s mountain friend, Green Gable the hike looked steep, probably because it was! But it also gave me that tingle of excitement and I couldn’t wait to climb to the top and see how much snow was up there.
The hike up was more of a walk/scramble, a few of the section were rocky and I swapped my hiking poles for my hands to help climb up. There were also a few icy patches so I needed to be careful where to put my foot, but as I reached the top it got snowier and snowier until at the top there were a few deep snowdrifts.
Obviously, I had to lie in the snow, take a million and photos and generally have a fun time.
Admiring the views of the nearby mountains, Scafell and Scafell Pike in one direction and Helvellyn in the other. As well as views of my previous day’s hikes. But looking further into the distance to my west I could see the outline of the Isle of Man and far in the north I could see all the way to Scotland. The photos didn’t do it justice but my memories were awesome.
Moel Siabod, Snowdonia
Another trip to Wales and the wonderful Snowdonia National Park. I spent a couple of days hiking and the weather had been very hit and miss, with rain and clouds making an appearance regularly. It was on my last day, as my friends were heading home that I decided to do one last hike since the weather was improving.
My friend and hiking buddy from Instagram Ryan @VanilaKodey suggested hiking Moel Siabod. I’d done no research, hadn’t plotted a route but I did have a map, compass and hiking gear, plus my usual sense of adventure!
Setting off late in the afternoon, I started my hike to the summit, passing lots of people on their way down. It seemed I was the only one hiking up the mountain. The route that Ryan had recommended was a circular route, with instruction to do it in a clockwise direction, turned out to the good advice!
The first part of the trail was relatively straightforward but then I had to hike and scramble to the top of Moel Siabod, which in my opinion is the fun part. Reaching the summit at about 5 pm, there was one man and his son. I took the opportunity to ask him to take a trig point photo and he seemed bemused as I climbed up on it!
Come on I know it’s not just me that climbs on the trig points!
From Moel Siabod on a clear day, you can see most of the top peaks in Snowdonia, including Mount Snowdon which is why it makes it such a great hike. I spent well over half an hour at the summit before deciding it might be time to head back down (and wishing I’d taken my camping gear with me!)
The hike down was a slightly less challenging route, although I did have one scary moment where I trip and fell. Fortunately, I fell on the only grassy section amongst surrounding rocks so no injuries but ouch it could have been different if I’d landed on a rock (and it might not have made it to the list of the top hikes haha)
Bowfell and Crinkle Crags, Lake District
For me, this Lake District hike was memorable not just because of the beautiful scenery but the great company and laughs I had on the day.
Following the previous day when a huge group had summited Pavy Arch (and equally epic hike) to celebrate @advenuturernic and her completion of the Wainwrights, a small group of us decided to go for a Sunday hike!
The weather was gorgeous as we made our way up to Bowfell, where we stopped for a snack and photos! From there two hikers went back to the campsite and I continued with @summits_with_saul.
The weather started to change, it when from sunshine to rain and even hail but the views were still epic so we didn’t care. Of course, a rain and sun combination created a beautiful rainbow, which we promptly both began some jumping photos. Who doesn’t love a rainbow!
Then later on as the sun cast a shadow going downhill we laughed at our giant shadows and created our own shadow dance, which we found highly entertaining. Yes, I’m being serious! Our giant shadows were like those mirrors at fairs and we giggled as we danced (then got grumpy when the sun went behind a cloud!)
The great thing about hiking is that it gives you energy and introduces you to new people with a passion for the outdoors!
Tryfan Mountain, Snowdonia
Another trip to the lovely Snowdonia, I arrived late in the afternoon and headed straight up Tryfan Mountain with my camping gear.
It was one of those summer days that was ridiculously warm and climbing the mountain, I stopped plenty of times for water breaks. Finally reaching the summit of the mountain, the views were amazing and unbelievably there wasn’t a breeze, I’d planned a longer hike but since time wasn’t an issue I sat for ages just enjoying the moment.
One of the great things about hiking solo is that you can change your mind and plans!
As the light started to fade I found a great wild camping spot and pitched my tent. The highlights were watching the sunset whilst sat eating my delicious Summit to Eat freeze-dried meal haha. I also wasn’t alone, as the sky was fading several mountain goats were jumping around on the mountain, their mountain skills far outway mine.
In the morning I was treated to an equally beautiful sunrise. So lucky!
The Glyders, Snowdonia
In Snowdonia, the weather can be very interchangeable, one moment the sun is out and the next minute it is raining! But as long as you have waterproofs there are no excuses!
On this trip, I set off hiking up Devils Ladder the sun was shining, the views were epic across Llyn Idwal across to Pen yr Ole Wen and I was loving every moment. I even posted an epic photo on Facebook – oh look how beautiful Snowdonia is… Then ten minutes later I realised I’d spoken too soon, as rain and clouds totally blocked my views haha.
But I was on a mission, hiking up to the summit of The Glyders (Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr), a bit of bad weather wasn’t going to stop me!
I hiked up to the summit of the first mountain – Glyder Fawr, then all I needed to do was navigate in an easterly direction across to the next summit Glyder Fach. It seems simple enough when you can see, however, my views obscured by some pesky clouds and I couldn’t see more than a few metres in front of me.
The mountain was quiet, apart from the rain on my hood. I had not seen another person since I’d started to climb The Glyders, so I was alone and feeling a bit nervous. Can I do this, should I go back the same way?
But I did it, I navigated through the clouds and reached the summit of Glyder Fach, it truly felt amazing, I was so proud of myself.
I admit I did have my OS Online App, which boosted my confidence but it shows sometimes the best hikes aren’t the ones with epic views they are the ones where you challenge yourself and succeed.
Sometimes it’s about how a hike makes you feel and not necessarily the views that you see. This hiking achievement made me feel epic, woohoo!
Welsh 3000s Challenge, SNowdonia
And lastly, my biggest, craziest and most memorable hike from 2018 was the Welsh 3000s. Teaming up with a group of awesome hikers from Instagram we decided to take on the Welsh 3000s.
It was by far one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life and I made so many mistakes but that doesn’t stop it from being up there with the top UK hikes from this year.
The short version is that we wild camped on Mt Snowdon, woke up in the rain at 4 am, hiked continuously for 11 hours in the rain, followed by another 7 hours in daylight and lastly 8 hours from dusk to darkness to dawn.
Yes, 25 hours of hiking, it was tough!
You can read about the full challenge here but putting all the tough moments aside, I met some amazing people on that hike, whom I’m still friends with now. We had plenty of laughs, shared lots of food and sweets but more importantly showed wonderful kindness throughout the hike.
Towards the end I was struggling big time, hiking in the dark is tough at any time but when you have been walking all day and your feet are in a world of pain, each step is painful. But the last few hours, even though everyone else was finding it tough, we all looked out for each other.
Now looking back, yes I remember the tough times but most of all I remember my hiking buddies and how awesome they were.
The UK hikes that didn’t make the list
- Hiking up Cadair Idris in South Snowdonia
- Meeting the Highland Cattle whilst Hiking Curbar Edge/Baslow Edge in the Peak District
- Hiking to the Source of the Seven from Hafren Forest
Have you done any of my top UK hikes? What are your favourites hikes from this year? Tell me in the comments below.
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