Monday Tip - Let's Go Exploring...

But open your eyes and try doing it locally.

Posted: 22 April 2013
by Jon

The trig point on Kinder Low - part of the popular side of Kinder, buy why not head off to the quieter northern edges for a change?
Speaking of which, here it is in winter cover. Part of the joy of local terrain is watching it change with the seasons.
Change your activity - a dullish bridleway on foot could make an ace mountain bike descent, or go the other way and spot stuff you'd miss while biking or running.
I must have run, biked or walked past these gateposts to nowhere hundreds of times. Doh...

This week's Monday Tip is all in your head - try going exploring, but doing it locally instead of travelling for hours to new places.

Talk about exploration and most of us automatically think of far-off foreign places or distant mountains in the UK, but it's easy to overlook what's right under your own nose and there's a lot to be said for doing your exploring locally.

If nothing else, you're saving transport costs. hassle and, if for the sake of argument, you would have made a four-hour round trip to get to the Lakes or North Wales, for example, those are four hoursyou could spend walking, scrambling, climbing or on your bike instead. 

Check Out The Less Obvious

Even if you live in a hilly, outdoorsy area, chances are that you tend to repeat the same relatively small handfull of routes in the same direction repeatedly, so why not mix things up? Get out that OS map you haven't looked at for years and ferret out some local trails you've never used, then simply go and walk, run or bike them.

It could be that odd little cut-through you've always gone straight past or it might be something bigger. Head up to Kinder for example, and you'll find countless hundreds of walkers treading the familiar path along the popular side of the plateau past the Downfall and on to Kinder Low. 

Follow the edge on the other side overlooking the A57 Snake Pass road and the chances are you'll see just a handfulll of people all day. The same's true of the Lakes - look beyond the popular 'normal routes' and see things from a different angle.

Change Your Direction

If you're someone who tends to walk the same route in the same directione every time, freshen things up by simply walking one of your favourites in the opposite direction. The funny thing is that simply facing a different way and making what were ups downs and vice versa seems to significantly change the feel of some routes. Not better or wose, just different, but often fresher. You're literally seeing stuff from a different angle.

Change Your Activity

Another cracking way of freshening up your local stuff is to tackle it a different way. If you normally walk a route and can - legally - ride it, you might be surprised at how different it feels. A non-descript, rubbly slope might be an exciting descent or exacting climb on a mountain bike for example. Or a tricky downhill running section.

Alternatively, if you're habitually a fast-moving biker or runner, try walking one of your usual routes and have a proper look around you instead of focussing on where your next foot placement might be or the fastest line through that pile of rocks.

Chance are you'll notice views and things you've always blazed straight past - I managed to miss a stone bench and set of gate-posts on a local mountain bike route for years until I walked the same track one day and had a proper face-palm moment.

If you're climber, how about choosing one of the lesser-used crags, something high on the side of Kinder maybe or tucked away down a quiet Lakeland valley?


One of the joys of local routes for local people is the way they change in different seasons: a path that's a muddly, water-logged gloopfest in aumtumn, might turn into deep-frozen rutted Velcro in mid-winter before becoming dry, dusty and rubble-strewn desert tracks in high summer. Part of the joy of it is watching them change.

Get Out At A Differerent Time

Try walking, running or biking your favourite route at a less usual time. Get out at night with a good head-torch and move in a little pool of intimate light. Head out before dawn and watch the sun rise from a handy summit - there's something magical about the world being uncloaked in front of you and even the most popular places tend to be quiet before breakfast. Or head out and catch the sun setting for the same reasons.

There's lots more your can do besides - try bivvying in your local hills for example - just use your imagination and your local area and explore.

Previous article
Monday Tip - Add An ICE Contact To Your Phone
Next article
Monday Tip - Stay Drier For Longer

exploring, local trails

Discuss this story

I've fallen out with you lot now haha! The northern and north eastern sides of kinder are some of my favourite places which I can go with possibly not seeing another soul, even on a sunny Sunday! Who says its always good to share? :(

(On a serious note, I love exploring chunks of kinder and bleaklow I've never been even though I live a couple of miles away and have been up tons of times)

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 21:10

I thought about this article when cycling home, just before getting to the broken road up Mam Tor this evening.

Just before the Casleton entrance to Treak Cliff Cavern, there is a pillbox.  Quite small on the surface, but there seems to be a lower level.


Posted: 04/05/2013 at 21:38

Talkback: Monday Tip - Let's Go Exploring...

Sign up to our weekly newsletter
Sign up to our twitter feed