In a world where so many of our interactions are mediated through a screen and keyboard, there are few things better than a long walk. After a few days a new routine establishes itself – the fuss and bother of emails, phone calls and ‘to do’ lists is stripped away, and we are left with the first hand experience of landscape, culture and the elements at the rate of roughly 4 miles an hour. Slow travel is the best teacher.
Top Trails is designed to be a celebration of this simple, glorious act of putting one foot in front of the other. It’s my first as editor, but I have to say I’m pretty excited about the line-up. There are few guidebook writers as prolific as Paddy Dillon, who walks through the French Alps on the beautiful GR5, a walk I would love to do. Long distance walker Keith Foskett brings us tales from perhaps the ultimate European Trail, certainly the most popular – the Camino de Santiago. But I was also conscious that not everyone has the time or energy to take on months of trails in one go, so asked Peter Edwards and Damian Hall to do something a little different. Peter has taken the best part of a decade to get to know the Hebrides inside and out, and brings us a handful of his very best short routes from these otherworldly islands. Damian Hall celebrates the 50th birthday of the UK’s oldest national trail, the Pennine Way, with 5 of the best shorter sections from it.
Elsewhere, OE Assistant editor Chantelle Kelly chooses her favourite walking books, and we have the pick of the year’s gear from our two qualified mountain leaders and expedition guides, Tom Hutton and Lucy Wallace.
May the road rise up to meet you, and the wind always be at your back. Far from the distractions of magazines and mobiles, at least one of those is guaranteed!
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