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Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Contents -

What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween

walk­ing and hik­ing? The sim­ple an­swer is: “the At­lantic”.

In the USA, there’s a def­i­nite dif­fer­ence be­tween walk­ing (mov­ing func­tion­ally on foot, es­pe­cially in ur­ban ar­eas) and hik­ing, (go­ing for a long, vig­or­ous walk in the coun­try­side). In Bri­tain, we tend not to make that dis­tinc­tion. Whether we’re on a lunchtime stroll in a coun­try park or halfway up Snow­don, we call it ‘walk­ing’.

The Amer­i­cans also like the phrase ‘thru-hik­ing’: walk­ing a long-dis­tance trail in one go, for ex­am­ple the Pa­cific Crest or Ap­palachian Trail. Again, if we’re do­ing the Pen­nine Way in one go, we’re still just ‘walk­ing’ it.

That’s not to say we don’t have an aw­ful lot of other words for walk­ing. Here’s a few for starters: yomp­ing (from the Royal Marines’ phrase for march­ing with full kit, thought to de­rive from Your Own March­ing Pace), tab­bing (the Army equiv­a­lent, de­riv­ing from Tac­ti­cal Ad­vance to Bat­tle), strolling, am­bling, ram­bling, bim­bling (pos­si­bly our favourite), trudg­ing, tramp­ing, hoof­ing, plod­ding, traips­ing, mo­sey­ing… and many more. Maybe we should be called Coun­try Pootling. You think?

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