May is National Walking month in 2019 – challenging us to get out into the fresh air and walk for at least 20 minutes a day. Walking is not only good for our metabolism and heart, it can help reduce the risk of dementia and is a natural boost for our mental health too.
It’s also one of the best ways to explore planet earth – whether you’re following the less travelled muddy trail to some remote outpost, or putting your headphones on and heading off from the hotel lobby.
Here are some of our favourites:
Hornstrandir - Westfjords, Iceland
Home to the protected Arctic Fox, while its 500 human inhabitants deserted it in the 1950’s. Only accessible to hikers in the summer months, it has no shops, roads or dwellings (aside from a few rebuilt as summer homes by the families of those who left). Expect arctic tundra and acres of sky.
The Old Forge Pub, Inverness-shire, Scotland
The most remote pub in the UK. It’s either an 18 mile hike or a 7 mile boat trip, but just think of the reward.
The High Line, New York, USA
Look up... Head to Manhattan’s West Side and walk an old elevated freight trail route that’s been transformed into an urban jungle pathway. The High Line offers visitors the chance to thread through the streetscape of New York from a birds eye view, discovering a jubilant hotchpotch of art and design installations, historic industrial buildings and lush park-scapes along the way. It’s won awards for its accessibility, and better still – it’s free.
The Pennine Way, England
One of the most remote hikes in the UK. With 268 miles to tackle in total, its tough terrain belies its cosy image as a National Trust Footpath.
Supai, Arizona, USA
Only accessible by helicopter, foot or mule the Havasupai Indian Reservation - part of Grand Canyon National Park – is 8 miles (13km) from the nearest road. Fun fact: It’s the only place in the US where the post is still carried by mule!
Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany
Breath-taking alpine scenery and Bavarian quirkiness abound – you can even use your time amongst the Alps to walk the very hills that feature in The Sound of Music. Don’t forget to pack your lederhosen.
Brecon Beacons, England
Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. But you might need wheels. The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority works closely with disability groups to make the park accessible to all upgrading pathways and replacing stiles with gates and ramps. There’s a guide to accessible routes and if you’re in it for the off-road thrills, you can even hire their electric powered all-terrain Boma-7 wheelchair to power over the bumps.