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General disclaimer

All the material on our site is a personal statement of what we do, our view of backpacking and the routes we have walked. Unless otherwise stated it should not be construed as advice that is necessarily applicable to everyone. Walkers must satisfy themselves about the applicability of any information to them and the suitability of any route to their capabilities and experience. They must be entirely responsible for their own actions at all times.


Gorllwyn: difficult navigation in mist

Many of the routes demand considerable hillwalking experience and walkers following them must be highly competent at navigation. That means navigation, as in the interpretation of the landscape using suitable maps and compass, not relying on technology like GPS.

While all upland areas demand great respect, the highest rockiest mountains are not the hardest to navigate, e.g. most of the Lake District is easy terrain with many good paths and is not nearly as formidable as some remote trackless parts of Wales and the North Pennines, which can be a navigation nightmare in mist and confusing even in clear weather. In these featureless areas there is often the added problem of arduous and/or boggy terrain which makes progress much slower and prediction of walk timings difficult.

A dramatic weather change approaching... a snowstorm

Many people use Naismith's rule for timing but they obviously walk only on good paths - it is useless in these rough and trackless areas. In fact it is worse than useless, it gives results that are far too optimistic and could land you in trouble if the planned route has no escape shortcut (but at least when backpacking you can always pitch the tent if you get benighted!).


It is assumed that anyone backpacking and wild camping for the first time will already have plenty of experience in day walks and be well aware of mountain weather variations, and will have the necessary clothing and kit to deal with them. The common tendency for the conditions to change dramatically and unexpectedly is well known, but the effect can feel worse in remote featureless tracts of high open moorland with no trace of shelter. It can be really demoralising and affect your ability to think clearly, but again you can always pitch the tent if it gets desperate.


This has become less of an issue now with the recent definition of CROW (right to roam) access areas for England and Wales (there was a de facto right to roam in Scotland). The CROW areas on the 1:25000 Explorer mapping, completed in 2006, are shown in light shading on both digital and paper maps. They are not shown on 1:50000 mapping. They include almost all the upland areas of the country, the most notable exceptions being Ministry of Defence land where we have added a special note on any routes that venture into it.