It’s November which, let’s face it, is a bit of a ‘meh’ month (sorry to the Scorpios and Sagittarians out there…). You know, we’ve just had Halloween, so it could be the low after the sugar high that’s making us feel this way, but then we’re also not quite ready for the Christmas hype either. And, whilst Guy Fawkes night is fun, fireworks just aren’t for everyone – especially pets.
Ugh! There’s no pleasing us in November… except… maybe a walk. There’s nothing a walk can’t cure, and it doesn’t really matter what time of year it is, nature will work her magic regardless. And if we’re going for a walk in this weather, well, we’d better get ourselves a new waterproof, hadn’t we?
Having observed many a walker in our time, and then done a bit of thinking, we have managed to narrow it down to four general types – the non-walkers, the occasional amblers, the daily walkers and the weekend hikers. Whilst there’s certainly overlap between the categories (daily walkers may very well become occasional amblers in winter!), we thought this would be a good opportunity to pair you with some walk suggestions and a good waterproof from our favourite outdoor retailer, Cotswold Outdoor.
Person Specification: The mud-phobic non-walker
You will do anything and everything to avoid going walking or hiking and prefer to get your exercise in the gym. When someone says “walk”, you assume they mean walk to the nearest coffee shop to get a vanilla latte… right? When you think of nature, you think of terrariums and potted orchids, and camping (glamping) is for summer-time festivals only. It’s not that you don’t like the great outdoors, you’d just prefer to admire it from inside.
Walk Specification: Urban Walks
We promise walking doesn’t mean you have to get your shoes muddy! Ease yourself into the walking scene with one of our beautiful town and city routes, keeping your feet on paved roads and leaving the mud to the experts… for now anyway (we’ll get you there eventually).
We recommend giving the Glasgow Commonwealth Walkway a go. At 34km long, we don’t expect you to do this all at once! The Outdoor Trust recommends completing this in six stages making this is a great way to get into walking – aim to complete a stage each week (or day, depending on your location and free time).
For those who prefer culture over nature, this is the one for you. For a shorter and simpler stroll, head to the North York Moors for the Helmsley Town Accessible Walk. A little bit of history and a little bit of nature (kept to the confines of hanging baskets and flowerbeds, don’t worry), this is a great route to take in the best bits of Helmsley without getting your feet dirty.
See more of our favourite Urban Walks here.
Waterproofing Specification: Minimal
An umbrella will suffice – you’re not planning on being anywhere too far from a coffee shop where you can seek shelter from the rain.
Try the Miniflat 1 Umbrella from Fulton. We love it for how small it folds down, perfect for popping in our rucksacks, handbags or briefcases so we never get caught out.
Person Specification: The no-time-in-the-day occasional ambler
Most of the time, the steps on your pedometer are from dashing from train station to office, tearing down the High Street towards your nearest Tesco for a lunchtime meal deal, and running the kids around to various after-school activities. Your idea of relaxation, and unashamedly so, is a lie-in on a Sunday until 8:30 if you’re lucky and putting your feet up in front of the TV, not going for a walk.
Although you might get a chance for an amble in the park once or twice a week, as the days get shorter and you’re only getting colder, it’s not really how you want to be spending your precious free time. That being said, you love the outdoors and are constantly promising yourself that you will start implementing longer walks as part of your routine – yet to be seen.
Walk Specification: Park and circular walks
Londoners – make the most of living not only in the greenest capital city in Europe, but also in the world’s first National Park City. For a quick amble, head to Golders Hill Park for an easy woodland stroll of just under 1.5 miles. This is also a great sensory walk for those with visual impairment. If you’re feeling like something a little longer, try the Richmond Park Walk – you can escape to nature without ever having to leave the confines of the M25.
Golders Hill Park
For other good ambles around the country, we recommend circular walks. Starting with simple circuits will get you into the walking habit without having to put too much thought process into where you’re going – a good way to start getting outdoors more! Our favourite circular walk at the moment is this circular route around Lilstock from Visit Somerset.
Waterproofing Specification: Lightweight and affordable
If you haven’t quite caught the hiking bug yet, don’t make the mistake of buying loads of expensive gear in the hope that you will use it. Speaking from experience, we can confirm that this is an ineffective and expensive method by which to encourage good habits.
We recommend something like a windbreaker, because not only will they beat the blustery conditions on your new walking ventures, but they look cool too so you can wear them over work or casual outfits in wet weather and not look like you’re specifically off to trek the Himalayas. Our favourite is the water-repellent Challenger Windbreaker Jacket from Columbia, available for both men and women.
Person Specification: The routine – (and-dog)- loving daily walker
We could have guessed you’d have a dog or two. You are a sucker for routine and your daily walk is the very last thing you’d give up (otherwise your dogs would probably eat you!). You will head out in literally any weather, no matter how wet or cold it is. You say it’s for the dogs, but they are actually quaking inside at the thought of being out in that rainstorm and looking at you like you’re mad for stepping outdoors… which you probably are.
You might have a rota of certain other individuals who occasionally join you on your daily walk, but more often than not, it’s just you, the dogs and the elements. Bliss. There’s no denying it, you’ve got the walking bug and are proud to say so.
© Sioban Sellars
Walk Specification: Medium-difficulty and dog friendly
One of our favourite dog walks going is the Newtonmore Walk in the Cairngorms National Park. We recommend this route for its stunning scenery which, no matter how many times you do this walk, you will never tire of absorbing. There are also many entry points to this 10 km circular trail, so you can choose where to enter and exit to tailor the route according to your walking ability and/or how much time you set aside for your walk each day.
Another great walk for daily walkers is the Holywell and Crantock Beach Dog Walk. Perfect for water-loving breeds (of both dogs and humans), this walk is of medium difficulty and offers plenty of beach space for everyone to stretch their legs.
Please note all routes can be enjoyed with or without dogs! Discover more dog walks here.
Waterproofing Specification: Durable and breathable
Your dedication to the daily walk means you need something that will last. We recommend choosing a product made with GORE-TEX® for its long-lasting properties, guaranteed to withstand the rain for years. GORE-TEX® material also allows body moisture vapour to escape making it highly breathable, so you can go on walking for as long as you like without steaming yourself like a piece of white fish.
What’s more, with the extensive range of canine-clothing from Ruff Wear those with four legs needn’t fear the rain either. We think the Cloud Chaser Softshell Dog Jacket is perfect for pooches who get a little shivery in the rain.
Person Specification: The outdoor-fanatic-adventure-obsessed weekend hiker
Now you’re speaking our language! Your diary is packed full of adventures to the furthest reaches of the UK – just as one mountain is climbed, you’re ready to take on the next. Maybe you’re a bit of a thrill seeker who likes the dizzying heights of the Lake District and is always after the next challenge.
You like to make a weekend of your hiking trips and, whilst you like staying in cosy cottages with easy access to good hiking trails, you are actually happier sleeping in your tent. The great outdoors is more a way of life for you than anything else and your only regret is that you can’t spend every waking minute clambering over hills.
Walk Specification: Challenging
You very well may have ticked this one off the list, but Helvellyn via Striding Edge is definitely the walk for you. This route won first place in Britain’s Favourite 100 Walks according to a 2017 poll conducted by ITV and it’s not hard to see why. The mountainous terrain and vertiginous drops make this a walk for seasoned hikers who know how to look after themselves on more challenging stretches. If this doesn’t satiate the adrenaline hit you’re after we don’t know what will!
If you’ve already explored Helvellyn and are looking for something you can make a trip out of, we suggest the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path. This is a 130-mile route takes 12 days to complete so is perfect for those looking for a camping opportunity. The coastal path is in an AONB covering 95% of Anglesey’s coast. Whilst stunning, with over 4,000m of ascent, this walk requires excellent fitness and good outdoor knowledge.
Waterproof Specification: Insulated and comfortable
Knowing you, we’re likely to find you on the highest peaks where micro-climates can quickly take hold. To avoid getting caught out in bad weather make sure you’ve got an excellent waterproof jacket that is insulated to protect you from the cold at higher altitudes, but that is also comfortable enough for hiking over many hours to spend hours hiking in.
Rab aren’t called ‘The Mountain People’ for no reason. Consider investing in one of their quality insulated waterproofs for warmth, comfort and waterproofing on your next adventure. We love the Women’s Valiance Jacket for its 100% waterproof outer shell. For men, try the Microlight Summit Jacket – the hydrophobic goose down will guarantee you’ll stay warm and dry out on the mountains.
For expert knowledge on choosing the right waterproof jacket for you, head to Cotswold Outdoor to read the Waterproof Buying Guide which offers in depth information about waterproof materials, models and features.