From long distance pilgrimage routes to a short and sweet Sunday stroll, hiking is a hugely popular pastime in the UK. And what better way to break out of your daily routine and get into the open air than to use your motorhome as a homely base from which to explore?
There are so many benefits to hiking, but sometimes we have to look for a new challenge to test our capabilities.
When that happens, many intrepid ramblers look upwards to some of the stunning mountain peaks to be found dotted all over our fair island.
If you’re ready to put your body and mind to the test, check out our list of the best mountain hikes for beginners. Who knows where the adventure might take you?
Before you set off on your mountain expedition, you need to make sure you’ve got the best insurance for a motorhome to keep your vehicle and contents covered during your adventure. Get a quick quote from the dedicated team at Motorhome Protect today and see how much you could save.
Mountain hiking for beginners
The UK has produced some of the world’s greatest mountain climbers, all of whom got their first taste for the high life by climbing the summits the UK has to offer.
However, the great thing is that to try mountain hiking for the first time, you don’t have to scale the tallest, most demanding peaks.
In fact, you can easily follow in their footsteps by hiking some of our most scenic yet attainable summits.
From Scotland’s diminutive Conic Hill to the family friendly Cat Bells in the Lake District, mountain hiking is within everyone’s reach. So long as you pack the right hiking equipment to deal with the many challenges along the way.
After all, as anyone with even a passing knowledge of the UK climate knows, just because you start off your walk in brilliant sunshine, it might not stay that way for long.
Particularly as you gain altitude, the weather can change suddenly for the worse. So it’s important to wear suitable clothing and footwear capable of dealing with the potential conditions of the unpredictable British weather.
This is a brief list of the bare minimum you should always carry:
- Water- and wind-proof-jacket – The chance of wind and rain is always high on a mountain.
- Warm layer – Just in case the temperature drops or the wind comes on strong.
- Gloves and a hat.
- Sunglasses – It’s all too easy to take a misstep if you're blinded by the sun.
- Spare socks – When your walking socks get dirty and wet you’ll thank yourself for taking a second pair.
- Food and water – It’s vital to stay hydrated and keep your energy up during any arduous parts.
- Small first aid kit - Including an emergency blanket, plasters, sunscreen and any essential medication.
- Map and compass – While GPS is great, you don’t want to have to rely on it. Many of these hikes are well known but it’s not worth tempting fate.
- Fully charged mobile phone – Nobody wants to be stuck on a mountain hiking trail with no battery and no means of calling for help. A pleasant walk can soon turn into a dangerous situation if you’re not prepared. Check out the What3Words app which can help emergency services pinpoint your location.
- Small backpack – You need somewhere to store everything!
And always remember:
- Make a gear list – Whether you’re hiking for three hours or three days you don’t want that ‘uh oh’ moment while on the trail.
- Check the weather forecast – Always check the weather forecast and pack accordingly.
- Hike during the day – No one wants to be hiking in the dark. Always err on the side of caution and leave plenty of time to finish your hike before the sun goes down. You want to get back in plenty of time to cook a warming dinner in your trusty motorhome after a day on your feet.
- Know the area – We all love exploring new areas, that’s why we own a motorhome after all. However, this does mean that we’re more likely to be hiking somewhere unfamiliar. Always check local information before setting off on a hike.
- Tell someone – Even the most experienced of hikers can sometimes need help. Make sure to tell someone where you’re going, your proposed route, and when you’ll be back.
Mountain hikes perfect for beginners
Brecon Beacons, South Wales
At a height of 886m Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, has long been considered the ideal first peak to conquer for many mountain hiking enthusiasts in the UK.
Indeed, it’s a long time favourite for Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme expeditions.
For motorhome owners there’s an oh-so-handy car park at the starting point of the hiking trail.
Making it straightforward for anyone looking to find the path to their first peak. However, despite its ease, tragedy has struck here so always be careful when weather conditions are bad.
If you’re looking to add an additional layer of challenge to your Brecon Beacons hike then why not tick off some other relatively straightforward peaks while you’re at it?
At 596m, the wonderful Welsh peak of Sugar Loaf encapsulates everything that is magical about the Welsh landscape and can be reached via a five-mile circular walk.
And while we’re talking about magical places then a walk to the top of Ysgyrd Fawr, or the Skirrid, has to be on your to-do list. At 486m it might be smaller than its siblings but it more than matches them for myths and legends.
Also known as the Holy Mountain, a popular local legend tells how a dramatic landslide hit the mountain at the exact moment of the crucifixion of Jesus.
Where to stay? Brecon Beacons Caravan Club Site is the perfect base for exploring the area with a central location near the foothills of the Brecon Beacons mountain range.
Snowdon, North Wales
The 1,085m Mount Snowdon can seem an intimidating prospect for a beginner, but if tackled during the pleasant summer months you should be able to conquer it without too much trouble.
Providing you’ve got sturdy boots on, a decent level of overall fitness and a bit of determination there are plenty of designated trails that will guide you to the top. If you get a move on, you should reach the summit of Snowdon and back to base in around six to eight hours.
If you’re a more experienced mountain hiker then a nearby challenge that’s well worth undertaking is that of the classic Glyders circular walk. With superb views over towards Mount Snowdon and the surrounding Welsh landscape your Instagram account will never look so beautiful!
Where to stay? Snowdon Base Camp is a stunningly peaceful campsite set in a breath-taking location in the heart of the national park at the foot of Mount Snowdon. Wild, wonderful and Welsh – it’s a very special location indeed.
Yes Tor, Devon
While it might not be Dartmoor’s highest point, at 619m Yes Tor offers a decent challenge for those looking to tackle their first mountain hike.
While the nearby High Willhays is very marginally higher at 621m it doesn’t have quite the same striking craggy looks. However, don’t let that stop you from combining the two into a truly inspirational hike across the Devon moorland.
Where to stay? Langstone Manor Holiday Park near Tavistock offers a five star start to any Dartmoor mountain hiking expedition.
Mam Tor, Peak District
A view from Mam Tor north over the Edale Valley to the legendary Kinder Scout and the Derwent Moors has to be a highlight of any hiking tour of the Peak District area.
The so-called ‘shivering mountain’ is in fact the summit of a long, high ridge and makes a thrilling route along which even beginners can feel confident in their footing.
If you want to explore the depths as well as the heights of this area then at the base of the Tor and nearby are four show caves that are well worth visiting.
Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Peak Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern are where lead, fluorspar and other minerals were once mined.
Where to stay? Well maintained and well located Castleton Caravan and Motorhome Club Site makes a great base from which to explore.
Cat Bells, Lake District
Small but perfectly formed, the 451m Cat Bells is a popular summit in the Lake District upon which many mountain hikers get their first experience of this exhilarating pastime.
While it can be steep in places (and certainly not suitable for pushchairs), it’s a fun challenge for beginners who are rewarded with some spectacular views across Derwentwater and north to Skiddaw, Blencathra and Keswick.
While hikers who reach the summit can simply return to their starting point after admiring the view, many don’t.
Instead, strong walkers can continue along the ridge to take in the fells of Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson to enjoy a spectacular horseshoe walk.
Where to stay? The National Trust’s Low Wray Campsite is nestled on the western shoreline of Lake Windermere in Ambleside. A perfect spot from which to explore all that this UNESCO world heritage site has to offer.
That said, if you decide to leave your motorhome for a couple of days while exploring, be sure to have the best motorhome insurance in place to protect your home on wheels while you’re away.
Pen Y Ghent, Yorkshire
At 694m the Yorkshire Dales’ Pen y Ghent, or the so-called ‘Mountain of the Winds’, is the lowest of the area’s famous Three Peaks challenge (the other two being Ingleborough and Whernside).
However, it’s by far the most dramatic, particularly when approached from its more direct south side. If doing so, be aware that beginners might find the steep scrambles up the two pronounced ‘steps’ a tough test of both their endurance and their head for heights.
If you’re in the area then something worth looking out for on the western side of the mountain is the geologically interesting Hull Pot. Apparently, it’s the largest natural hole in England at 300ft long, 60ft wide and 60ft deep. So, be careful close to the edge!
Where to stay? If you’re planning on completing the Three Peaks challenge then you need a cosy campsite to return to.
The Punch Bowl Hotel provides the perfect country pub welcome and a campsite that offers a real fire, restaurant and beer garden for thirsty hikers!
Conic Hill, Stirlingshire, Scotland
With imposing mountains like the 1,344m Ben Nevis and the 1,309m Ben Macdui, Scotland provides the sternest of challenges for even the most experienced of mountain hikers.
For those novices looking for a more agreeable 361m hike then the short but stiff climb to the top of Conic Hill offers an excellent introduction to the drama of the Scottish Highlands.
The stunning vistas over Loch Lomond & the Trossachs will leave you camera storage full to bursting!
Where to stay? Milarrochy Bay Camping and Caravanning Club Site is situated on the beautiful east shore of the loch. Spectacular!
Slemish Mountain, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Abruptly rising 437m above the surrounding plain, this was the legendary first known Irish home of Saint Patrick.
The mountain is in fact the central core of a long extinct volcano! The hike is short, steep but very sweet when you see the inspiring views from its summit.
Where to stay? Cushendun Caravan Park in Ballymena is a family friendly site offering excellent facilities.
Protecting your vehicle with motorhome insurance
From novice hiker to experienced mountaineer, no one should leave home without ensuring they’ve got the right insurance – and that also means motorhome insurance.
Motorhome Protect’s bespoke cover can include benefits such as:
- Cover for up to 365 days a year including foreign use
- Cover for vehicles valued up to £150,000
- Enhanced cover for camping personal effects up to £3,000
- Uncapped mileage cover
- Consideration of all claims and convictions
Call Motorhome Protect and get a quote for motorhome insurance today.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.