Adventures with walking sticks are an important part of life at Classic Canes. Here are some of our favourite long distance walks, and others we would love to find time to undertake. Our 2020 and 2021 walks have been derailed by Covid-19, but the Northumberland Coast, vineyards of Burgundy and those lovely hills above Lake Garda will all still be there when we can travel again....
Devon Two Moors Way (Coast-to-Coast) www.twomoorsway.org
For 2019, we felt we'd like to explore our neighboring county of Devon. The coast-to-coast path starts at Wembury on the south coast and crosses Dartmoor, central Devon and Exmoor to reach the north coast at Lynmouth, eight days and 117 miles later. We stayed in wonderful pubs, Morag enjoyed swimming in many different rivers and I even joined her in the Barle on a particularly hot day on Exmoor. We saw Bronze Age dwellings, standing stones and stone circles, reminding us how much history there is right under our noses in Britain's beautiful West Country.
The Rothaarsteig, Germany www.rothaarsteig.de
In 2018, Malcolm and Charlotte completed a 99km stretch of this beautiful path through rural Germany. We started at Brilon and finished four days later at Giller, near Hilchenbach. We saw a lot of Christmas tree farming and timed our trip for when the white asparagus was in season; we think we had it for every meal. Delicious.
The Pennine Way www.nationaltrail.co.uk
This was the challenge of summer 2017. Starting in the Peak District National Park, this 266 mile walk proceeds up the Pennines (the 'backbone of England'), through Yorkshire, through Northumberland, through the Cheviot Hills and finishes in Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. Charlotte and Malcolm, accompanied for the first time by young Morag, walked for six days, covering the middle stretch of this great walk: Malham Cove to Dufton, which is approximately 80 miles. It rained every day but the waterfalls were magnificent.
The Rheinsteig: The Upper Middle Rhine, Germany www.romantic-germany.info
What a fabulous walk this was! The Rheinsteig is an eight day hike from Rüdesheim to Koblenz of 117 km (approximately 73 miles), through surprisingly varied scenery of farmland, vineyards, forest and attractive little villages, often with a view of the majestic Rhine far below. In the evenings we descended to the riverside towns such as Boppard and Braubach for excellent meals and to enjoy the local Reislings. Our Classic Canes folding trekking poles were essential kit, especially on the very rocky parts where hand ropes were also provided! Our illustrated report on this, our 2015 walk, can be read at: Eight days on the Rheinsteig.
The King Ludwig Way www.koenig-ludwig-weg.de
This was the challenge of June 2014 for Charlotte and Malcolm. The King Ludwig Way is a 120km footpath through Bavaria in Germany, from Lake Starnberg (where Ludwig II's body was found in mysterious circumstances in 1886), past many famous baroque churches and monasteries, to the fairytale castle Neuschwanstein that Ludwig built at the edge of the Alps. The walk is scenic rather than difficult, so there was plenty of time for Bavarian food and beer along the way. We took Classic Canes folding trekking poles; the easiest way to fly and hike. See the photographs at King Ludwig Way | König Ludwig Weg
The South West Coast Path www.swcp.org.uk
This beautiful path covers 630 miles from Minehead on the north Somerset coast, right around Land's End in Cornwall, to Poole in Dorset. In 2003, Charlotte, Malcolm and a succession of dogs started walking Britain's longest national trail at the rate of one week a year, finishing at long last in June 2010. The total ascent over the 630 miles is equivelent to more than three Everests! It was a fabulous experience and we recommend it thoroughly.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales www.visitpembrokeshire.com
Charlotte, Malcolm and Boris completed this beautiful walk by tackling it in stages when time allowed. The path covers 186 miles from St Dogmaels to Amroth, through diverse scenery on north, west and south facing coasts. We saw choughs, porpoises, seals and red kites along the way, as well as enjoying the beautiful weather and fabulous sandy beaches. The total ascent of the path is 35,000 feet (equivelant to just the one Everest) so we needed our Classic Canes trekking poles....
The West Highland Way www.west-highland-way.co.uk
95 miles from Milngavie to Fort William, this wonderful Scottish walk passes from the lowlands to the highlands, much of it on old drove roads. Highlights of the walk include beautiful Loch Lomond, Charlotte's favourite mountain - Buchail Etive Mor, and the impressive Devil's Staircase.
The Southern Upland Way www.southernuplandway.gov.uk
Another Scottish walk, this one is 212 miles, coast to coast from Portpatrick in the south west of the country to Cockburnspath by the North Sea. The terrain is very varied, covering remote moors, farmland and woodland.
There are many wonderful walks on Exmoor, taking in such famous scenery as the Doone Valley, Dunkery Beacon (the highest point on Exmoor), Tarr Steps and the beautiful Horner Woods. One of our favourites is to park at Tarr Steps, follow the River Barle to Withypool and return via Winsford Hill, where wild Exmoor ponies can often be seen. A favourite destination of the Classic Canes golden retrievers!
Il Sentiero dei Fortini (The Walk of the Old Forts), Capri, Italy www.italytraveller.com
A short but perfect path along the west coast of Capri from the Grotta Azzurra in the north to the lighthouse at Punta Carena. A series of ceramic tiles set into the limestone rocks along the way illustrate the flora and fauna of Capri, including the European Whip Snake, one of which we encountered! The dazzling blue of the sea and gleaming white of the cliffs make this a truly memorable walk.
and some we dream of doing:
Route de Grands Crus, Burgundy, France
We were really looking forward to this one for obvious reasons, but were thwarted by Covid. Hopefully one day soon we can enjoy this 60km walk, which takes in 24 of Burgundy's 33 grands crus. As Hilare Belloc once said, "I forget the name of the place, I forget the name of the girl, but the wine...was Chambertin."
The National Forest Way, UK www.thenationalforestway.co.uk
A new walk of 75 miles from the National Forest Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire. It is of great cultural interest too as it demonstrates the area's evolution from a rural landscape, through industrialisation and decline, to the modern-day creation of a new forest.
The walk to Everest Base Camp
Definitely not to be undertaken without Classic Canes trekking poles. None of us have yet done it, so we stand in awe of our long-standing customer, Mr David Jones of T Jones & Son, Oswestry, who has. Here is his photograph to prove it (note the Classic Canes trekking pole held proudly aloft!).
The Eagle Walk www.austria.info
The longest walk in Europe, Austria's Eagle Walk covers 1480km; we like the look of the 180km section that runs the length of the Tirol. The mountains, flora and fauna are all spectacular; we would take the Classic Canes monopod camera stave (ref. 3569) to ensure perfect photographs of this beautiful region.
The Appalacian Trail www.appalachiantrail.org
At 2,178 miles, this famous North American walk would be a huge undertaking! It starts in Georgia and finishes in Maine, passing through a total of fourteen US states and eight national forests. We would carry substantial Classic Canes hiking staffs in case we met any bears….
The Inca Trail www.incatrailperu.com
Just 26 miles, but apparently rather steep and with lots of steps, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu looks rather fantastic. If only we could find a stockist in Peru to justify our visit as a business trip.