Article Types News National Walking month - Nine favourite hikes from BMC staff

National Walking month - Nine favourite hikes from BMC staff


This month is National Hill Walking month, so to celebrate the power of a good old romp in the UK’s countryside, nine of the BMC staff have shared their favourite hike, in conjunction with Komoot, the route planning app.

Don't forget, BMC members get a free Komoot region map bundle worth £8.99 here! And if you need accommodation for any of these walks, check out the BMC HotelPlanner search facility for the best deals and discounts, especially for large group bookings. For even more member benefits click here.

If you value the hills and your time walking in them, consider volunteering for or donating to the BMC's Mend Our Mountains project, find out more here.

The Derbyshire Dragon’s Back, Peak District

The BMC’s Jon Fullwood is the Access & Conservation Officer for England, diligently working to secure climbers and hill walkers access to crags and footpaths across the land, from his recent success at Wildcat Crag in the Peak and ongoing discussions at Symonds Yat in the Wye Valley.

Jon says, “Mine is what’s sometimes referred to as the Derbyshire Dragon’s Back, over Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill, south of Buxton in the Peak District. You can make this into a lovely circular walk by coming back via Hollins Hill. I’m very into fossils and this is really good place to see them because these sharp, mini-mountains are actually the remains of a fossilised carboniferous reef. Along the way you might see brachiopods and gastropods, and even trilobites if you’re lucky. You’ll find them in the loose stones in the path or on the screen slopes on the western side of Parkhouse Hill, but please leave any fossils where they are though for others to enjoy.”

Walk it with Komoot

Try a 9 mile (450m ascent) Dragon’s Back loop from Longnor on Komoot here.

Jon's son on the hunt for fossils up Parkhouse Hill

Fossils on Parkhouse Hill

Grindslow Knoll & Fist Rock, Peak District

Katy Shilladay is the BMC’s Digital & Marketing co-ordinator, gathering all the info for the monthly email newsletter and daily social media posts, keeping members informed of all the BMC projects, campaigns, advice, news and collaborations. The BMC's Access Land film has been one of her most popular posts this year.

Katy says, “The walk was part of the BMC staff away day and we teamed up with Moors for the Future to learn more about their projects. The BMC’s Access & Conservation Trust charity are funding Moors for the Future as part of The Climate Project and they help to restore the peat bogs to their natural, carbon-locking state by revegetation, dam works and planting sphagnum. So far they have restored 250km2 of damaged peat land, and through the BMC Get Stuck In volunteer projects we are helping to plant more of this moisture-absorbing, carbon-sinking moss.”

Walk it with Komoot

Follow this walk on Komoot here.

Fist Rock stands out on the Peak District skyline

BMC staff hike with Moors for the Future

Grasmere Circuit, Lake District

Gavin Finch is the Chief Commercial Officer for the BMC. His most recent success has been getting the accommodation provider HotelPlanner on board, securing BMC members discounted accommodation, particularly with big group bookings, and giving the BMC a percentage of its profits. Try it out here.

Gavin says, “My favourite round is a walk from Grasmere in the central Lake District, starting with an ascent up to Helm Crag, following the ridge NW to Gibson Knott and Calf Crag, circling round and back via Tarn Crag with Easdale Tarn down to your right. It’s a 4-5hr walk and gives you a real sense of what the lakes has to offer, fun in all weathers and you can stop off at the tarn on your way back for a dip! There’s a bit of history at the tarn where you can see the remains of a Victorian ‘snack shop’ where they used to serve tired Victorian walkers!”

Walk it with Komoot

Try this 4.5 mile (300m ascent) loop from Grasmere to Helm Crag on Komoot here.

Easedale Tarn, a lovely spot for a hill walk

Fairfield Horseshoe, Lake District

Cressida Allwood is the BMC’s Partnerships Manager. She is also a mountain leader, expedition leader (listen to her incredible back story on The Outdoors Adventure Podcast interview) and passionate about encouraging more equality and diversity in the outdoor world, having been on the BMC Equity, Diversity & Inclusion committee in the past too. Recently she has been involved with the very popular YHA Festival of Walking which will take place this Sept 2024, dates coming soon. Here there are fantastic volunteer opportunities for trainee mountain leaders to practice leading groups under the wing of more experienced, qualified outdoor folk.

Cressida says, “I live in Kendal right next to the Lake District National Park so I’m really torn for my favourite route there! Veering off from the walking slightly I recommend a short sub-10k of very doable trail running around the mini mountain of Loughrigg just next to Ambleside - stunning views around four different bodies of water and when it’s quiet it feels amazing. But you said favourite walk, oops! So there I’d go for the iconic round of the Fairfield Horseshoe from Ambleside. It’s about 10-12 miles long and takes in High Pike and Dove Crag before summiting Fairfield itself at 873m high. Then you descend via Great Rigg and Heron Pike with the most wonderful views of Windermere.”

Walk it with Komoot

Try this 11 mile (870m ascent) circuit from Ambleside around the Fairfield Horseshoe on Komoot here.

Great views of Windermere from the Fairfield Horseshoe

Crib Nantlle, North Wales

Eben Muse is the BMC’s Policy & Campaigns Officer (Wales), working to make sure the government puts access, conservation and the right to roam for hill walkers and climbers at the top of its agenda, especially with the general election coming up this year. Eben was also heavily involved with the Sirhowy Crag Crowdfunder campaign that raised £20,951 to protect and enhance access to this popular climbing area.

Eben says, “For me, when I go home to Eryri, my heart always wants me to return to Crib Nantlle. It's not the highest range in Eryri, nor the steepest ridge, but it's placed right at the edge of the park and is the boundary of the valley in which I grew up. It's quieter there than other areas, and I've always loved the perspective it gives me of the valley below - the patchwork of farmland, the scars of Pen yr Orsedd and Dorothea quarries. It also doesn't hurt that it passes by some of the most wonderful cliffs in Wales (and therefore the world) at Cwm Silyn - and you can peer down at some of the new bouldering developments at Cwm Dulyn (both also the names of the houses at my school). The walk itself is stunning, I prefer to start with the sharp hill from Rhyd Ddu, enjoying the gentler slopes to finish down at Nebo or with a nice cool dip in one of the lakes scattered around the northwestern slopes of the range. The views of Llyn, Yr Wyddfa, and Ynys Môn are unbeaten in my mind.”

Walk it with Komoot

Try a 7.5 mile loop (700m ascent) along part of Crib Nantlle on Komoot here.

Eben enjoying the views from Crib Nantlle

North Ridge of Tryfan, North Wales

Paul Ratcliffe, the new BMC CEO is a two-time Olympian who won silver in the Canoe Slalom at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. As well as paddling, Paul has a passion for climbing mountains and is getting stuck in to supporting and inspiring the current BMC community as well as encouraging new audiences into the outdoors. He recently helped plant sphagnum moss in the Peak District as part of The Climate Project, watch the film including his interview here.

Paul says, “My ‘likes’ in walking are when I feel slightly on the edge of my comfort zone and being challenged. For those reasons, the North Ridge of Tryfan and then going on to climb Bristly Ridge on Glyder Fach is one of my favourites. This North Wales classic inspires me with the technical challenge it presents and the incredible views once on the tops being in the centre of Snowdonia.”

Walk it with Komoot

Try a 3 mile loop (530m ascent) up Tryfan's north ridge on Komoot here.

The north ridge of Tryfan is a great scrambling route

Crib Lem/Llech Ddu Spur, North Wales

Jon Garside is Acting Head of Performance at GB Climbing, supporting our athletes representing Great Britain on the international stage. Recently he has been excited to see TeamGB’s Olympic hopeful Toby Roberts win the second Lead World Cup of his career, becoming only the second British male to do so. See our interview with Toby in the Summer issue (#114) of BMC Summit magazine, out 18 June.

Jon says, “My fave walk is a bit of a scramble too, but not a hard one. Crib Lem, or Llech Du spur, is both remote and quiet and yet very easy to access from Bethesda, where you can park. The spur sits above a big crag, easily access by a path on the right hand side. I’ve always loved the remoteness of the Carneddau and Crib Lem takes you into the heart of some really impressive scenery. You pop out just near the summit of Carnedd Dafydd and can loop back to Bethesda then another lovely quiet walk down the grassy shoulder NW from Carnedd Fach. A perfect day out!”

Walk it with Komoot

Scramble Crib Lem/Llech Ddu with Komoot here.

Aonach Eagach Scramble, Scottish Highlands

Claire Maxted is the editor of BMC membership magazine Summit, and the comms lead for the BMC’s Access & Conservation work, including the Mend Our Mountains campaign and The Climate Project. Her favourite news story so far has been how access colleague Jon Fullwood (see his fave walk above) filled in a swastika on a crag at Burbage North, and the call out to spot adders this summer as you walk and climb.

Claire says, “Aonach Eagach is a tremendously airy scrambling ridge in Glencoe Scotland, that makes a sensational traverse with rocky pinnacles and skinny sections high above the valley with views of Ben Nevis and Curved Ridge. This one is for experienced scramblers and mountain climbers, but don’t worry, it’s still a spectacular hike around this famous mountain if you don’t have a good head for heights and a firm feeling of where to put your hands and feet.”

Walk it with Komoot

Hike around Aonach Eagach with Komoot here.

Aonach Eagach, not for the faint-hearted!

Via Alpina, Switzerland

Tom Carrick is the BMC Access & Conservation Officer for Wales. He has been busy lately adding the seagrass planting project to the BMC’s The Climate Project portfolio, updating this summer's nesting bird restrictions on the Regional Access Database (RAD) and bagging up crag-side rubbish with Bangor University.

Tom says, “The Via Alpina from Murren to Kandersteg is one of my favourite hikes, crossing two beautiful cols the Sefinafurgge and Hohturli. The Alpine terrain of this walk moves from the stark peaks of the Jungfrau through a mixture of terrain with alpine flowers, exciting paths and views across the Swiss Alps. More importantly though, the alpine huts on the route make some of the best cakes and milkshakes. This is topped off by a finish descending towards Oeschinensee, the most beautiful lake in the Alps in my opinion.”

Walk it with Komoot

Find the Via Alpina route collection here on Komoot.

The Via Alpina is well worth a trip

BMC members, get your free Komoot region map bundle worth £8.99 here! And search for accommodation on HotelPlanner here for the best deals and discounts, especially for large group bookings, and a share of the profits goes straight back to the BMC!

Not a BMC member? Not only do you get a 15% discount off Cotswold Outdoor, Snow+Rock and Runners Need stores plus £15 million Worldwide Combined Liability Insurance and £10,000 Personal Accident Insurance cover, but you’re also helping to support vital access and conservation work, protecting the hills you love to walk in. Become a member today, here.