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With the price of the GBP at an all-time low, no doubt a trip to the UK will prove a better deal now than ever before. It’s also generally acknowledged that the UK is home to some of the most scenic walks, taking ramblers past rolling hills, idyllic farmland, and breathtaking historic villages. From the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District to the craggy peaks in the Scottish Highlands and Beacon Brecons, there’s never a shortage of landscapes to explore.
What’s more, some of these routes are dotted with quaint centuries-old watering holes where you can imbibe in well-earned pints by pub fires.
LINGMOOR FELL, LAKE DISTRICT
Length: 8km/3 hours
Start/finish: Elterwater village
Refuel: The Brittania Inn, Elterwater
Ever since Romantic poets arrived in the 19th century, the Lakes’ picturesque patchwork of lakes, valleys, woodlands and fells have been stirring the imagination of visitors. The Lake District – or Lakeland to locals – conjures up images of Britain’s greenest countryside and grandest views.
The Lakes is awash with outdoor opportunities, from lake cruises to bike rides, and of course, mountain walks. One of them is the trail from Elterwa- ter village to Lingmoor Fell (469m), a lonely peak that affords superb views towards Windermere. From the south of the village, you’ll cross a stone bridge over Great Langdale Beck towards Dale End Farm, where the trail to the fell starts.
The trail is an old quarry path which leads to just below the summit of Lingmoor Fell – follow the path along the ridge for views of Great Carrs and Harter Fell. A number of trails line the area, taking you to nearby fells and lakes; maps are essential.
GRASSINGTON, YORKSHIRE DALES
Length: 18km/5.5 hours
Start/finish: Grassington NP Centre
Refuel: Craven Arms, Appletreewick
Mention the Yorkshire Dales, and images of expansive heather moorlands, ancient woodland, and some of the finest limestone scenery in the UK come to mind. Human settlement has only added to its charm; stone-built villages, drystone walls, and hay meadows are set against a backdrop of traditional farmland that has been shaped over thousands of years by human hands.
All this makes the Dales prime walking country, dotted with walking trails throughout. One of the finest is the circular walk from Grassington National Park Centre to Appletreewick, home of the Craven Arms – considered one of the park’s greatest pubs – before the return portion.
The journey to Appletreewick is photogenic; after crossing the picturesque Linton Falls, you climb up to the pretty hamlet of Thorpe through fields criss-crossed by dry-stone walls. Here, the pleasant meadow trail leads you to the famous bridge at Burnsall before crossing the river to Appletreewick.
Appletreewick is a sleepy village with views across the surrounding fells. Perched above the river, Craven Arms is a country pub that features the Dales’ first ‘cruck barn’, built using traditional materials 400 years ago.
The best time to tackle the trail is late morning, when you can reach Craven Arms for lunch and explore Appletreewick before returning to Grassington by dusk – via the suspension bridge at Hebden – to enjoy woodsmoke from farmhouse chimneys as the sun fades into the horizon.
You can overnight at the elegant 17th century market town of Grassington – spend the night in a rustic farmhouse or historic coaching inn.
GLEN FINGLAS, TROSSACHS
Length: 6.4km/2 hours
Start/finish: Woodland Trust car park
Refuel: The Byre Inn, Brig o’Turk
With its sweeping vistas of rolling hills mirrored in glassy lochs, Glen Finglas is a great expanse of ancient woodland, hidden lochs and open heathland, and is one of the best examples of the Scottish Highlands.
Situated at the heart of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Glen Finglas was once part of a royal deer forest where kings hunted, and whisky smugglers and cattle drovers played a part in its history.
The estate supports iconic wildlife like red deer, golden eagles and black grouse. A popular way to explore the park is by cycling or walking the myriad trails that range from short low-land walks to longer, upland trails.
Access to colour-coded walks from the Woodland Trust centre include the Brig o’Turk loop which combines several shorter waymarked loops and has good views of Loch Venachar. The walk involves a climb on good paths up the lower slopes of hills that reach 600m – as the oak thins out, birchwood reclaims the land from the felled spruces.
The path contours a south-facing hillside with views across lochs, foothills and the majestic miles of the Great Trossachs Forest to Ben Venue above Scott’s Loch Katrine.
There will also be a boardwalk portion which leads across a marshy area – once the village’s curling rink – that is now an important habitat for wildlife. Watch out for red squirrel, black grouse, golden eagle and pine marten.
At the tiny village of Brig o’ Turk, there’s a wooden tearoom and The Byre Inn, which specialises in local game and microbrewery ales where you can refuel.