Esquire (UK)




It may well be the case that there are those people who feel that during our plague year-and-abit they haven’t been for enough walks in the park. But this writer is not among them. I have done nothing but go for walks in the park. And while I bow to no one in my gratitude to my local green spaces for getting me through what would otherwise have been an even more miserable period, as restrictio­ns gradually ease, the last thing I need to do is to celebrate with another trudge around my local urban oasis.

Ditto running: lacing up one’s Nikes and pounding the pavements has been another essential balm for many of us, and there’s no need to slacken the pace now. But the same routes, the same streets, the same sights and sounds every day becomes wearying, uninspirin­g. As you know.

So, as we begin to be permitted to leave the house for longer, and to venture farther afield, welcome to the fitness trend of spring/summer 2021. No, it’s not eye yoga, or ice swimming, or Peloton. (God, so 2019.)

It’s the humble hike, an opportunit­y at last to get out into the great British back of beyond, with some cheese sandwiches and a stout pair of shoes, and even — steady on! — a group of friends.

Whether you’re hiking in the Lakes, or the Highlands, or Snowdonia, or the Peak District, or the South Downs, the UK offers world-class scenery and — better yet — untold opportunit­ies to show off all that rugged outerwear you’ve been buying online during lockdown. Because Patagonia fleeces and Salomon trainers are not just for queuing outside coffee shops, they’re for scrambling up steep hills and clambering over ancient rocks.

Hiking is a workout for mind and body, and when you’ve reached your destinatio­n, instead of a protein shake you can have a pint. From a pub. Imagine that!

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