Frequently asked questions
Can I really turn up alone?
Yes of course - most people do! If you are nervous about committing to a weekend trip, don’t be, almost everyone has turned up on an event before without knowing anyone. We all know what it is like to join an event for the first time. If you are still concerned then feel free to try one of my free walks from London and meet some of the members.
Who normally turn up to these events?
Generally, friendly, active & open like minded people who enjoy the outdoors. Some new members attend one of my free Sunday walks before committing to a weekend event. I have Sunday free walks from November to April all a short train ride from London, join one of these and meet Michael and other members.
What about meals?
Meals are not included in the price as we are staying in hotels. For every meal, I will make reservations at 2-3 different good restaurants for those that wish to budget to others that want to treat after a days walk. Restaurant menus are normally sent out to the group in advance of the event. All restaurants will cater for vegetarians and vegans. On previous events we have dined in many great restaurants along the sea front or just have fish and chips on the beach. Other groups many include their meals as part of cost, however they are normally held at hostels. In the past I have organised a few fully catered meals at hostel but eating at the same hostel for breakfast and dinner for 2/3 days was dull.
What about breakfast and lunch?
Breakfast is normally booked for 7am as we want to get out and hike asap. All Premier Inn hotels have a restaurant attached for our breakfast. The cost are normally £9.50 for unlimited cooked full English breakfast and £7.50 for a continental breakfast. If you don't want breakfast you can get up later as we do not tend to leave the hotel until 07:45-08:00am. With a large breakfast most members do not require a large lunch, however we will stop at a mini store daily for you to get snacks and water. It is a good idea to bring your favorite energy snacks from London (dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, energy bars) as sometimes we are short of time and cannot get snacks.
How do you allocate the rooms at the hotel accommodation?
The hotels are 2 sharing, I prefer not to allocated rooms until late evening on the first day. After the 1st day of walking, by the evening most members generally know who they would like to share a room with (same gender). Happy to let members select their own room but also able to allocate rooms for the whole group. Most members don’t really mind who they share with but if you are attending the event with a friend I will assume you to wish share with your friend if off the same gender.
Where do we meet on the first day?
There are 4 main meeting points I use for the mini bus and drivers with their vehicles to meet members that require transportation. Each London meeting point is the most direct route to the event location (1) Uxbridge tube station for events to the Lake District, North Wales (2) Hatton Cross tube station for events to Cornwall, South Wales & Cotswold (3) South Coulsdon station for events to Dorset & Isle of Wight (4) Colindale tube station for events to the Peak district and Yorkshire 3 peak challenge.
How are seats allocated in the vehicle?
Anywhere you wish. Members tend to sit in the same vehicle during the whole event. Pre Covid, I encouraged members to move around and travel on other vehicles and seats as the topic of conversation, music taste and atmosphere are different in each vehicle. There's always a good atmosphere in the mini bus and the seats are very comfortable.
Is there any flexible on the drop off point back in London?
It is possible but not a guarantee - To the end of the event Michael will discuss possible drop off options that would be agreeable with the drivers. If Michael is driving the mini bus, he would always offer 1 other most convenient drop off location from the original pick up point.
If I have my own car can I drive myself?
Yes of course you can, however for my events I would prefer a minimal carbon foot print. This is why, I normally hire a mini bus for 13 passengers that replaces 4 cars. The mini bus fuel during an event is similar to a large car. The events are normally held in remote areas so driving will be along very narrow country lanes and sometimes after dark. If you don't drive daily you will feel very tired hiking all day then driving. Parking cost will be around £5-7 per day to park at designated areas.
If you still wish to drive, be aware that all of my coastal walks are linear (not circular) so we finish 8-10 miles from the start point. Therefore if you drive you will have to leave first with the designated drivers doing the vehicle drop off and when we finish you will have to return back to the start point to collect your car whilst other members are having a break. I hire a mini bus and have designated drivers to avoid members having these issues.
What KIT do I need for hiking?
Good hiking boots and waterproof jacket are essential. A daypack to carry (lunch, drinks, sun block, cap, camera). Hiking socks are always better than regular socks. A few thin tops so you can take layers off if you get warm. Suggestions for HOT conditions: broad beam hat, sun glasses, shorts. For COLD conditions: beanie, gloves, extra fleece, waterproof trousers. A hiking pole would be useful if you have any difficulties with downhills. For coastal events, if you enjoy swimming, there's always time set aside to swim in the sea. Never wear jeans as this would get very heavy and cold if wet. Many members wear shorts during the hike, however be careful with nettles, thorns, bushes and overgrown paths. Convertibles trousers are good (long trousers with a zip above the knee to convert trousers into shorts. If wet weather is forecasted, bring waterproof trousers, if you don't already have them, just get a cheap pair for £12. Michael will always check for bad weather in advance and may even get you a pair of waterproof trousers from Decalthlon.
How much clothes do I need to bring?
For 2 day event you just need 1 change of clothing, 3 days, 2chnage of clothing etc. Many thin layer tops is better than one thick top as you will get hot when hiking up hills. If you are prone to the cold, bring something warm for your head and hands as it will be cold early morning and later evening.
What does the hotel provide?
Each hotel room is en suite and will have coffee/tea facilities with a kettle, TV, hair dryer, washing gel for hair and body and towels.
Additional KIT advise:
If you are sharing a room, bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper
If you have hiking poles, bring them
If you enjoy swimming or just being in the sea bring swim wear and towel and bring this on the hike. We will have an opportunity to swim every day on coastal hikes
Bring blister pads (Compeed) if you are prone to blisters or new to hiking
Never wear jeans or any trousers that will soak water, this will make you very cold and uncomfortable.
Bring a few £5 notes or coins for snacks as some small shops will have a minimum spend for credit cards.
Walking boots: Do not wear your boots in the mini bus car, especially after a walk. Bring a separate bag for your dirty boots and a spare pair of shoes so that you have clean footwear whilst in the mini bus or car.
Luggage: Don’t pack excessively, the kit list supplied is all you need. If your luggage is large we may have to store it a different vehicle to the one your travelling in, so don't pack too much. No hard case as they tend to slide and will fall. You will never have to carry out main overnight luggage. If we are walking between hotel your main luggage will be stored in the car.
Do I really need hiking boots?
The grip and the ankle support on your footwear is your only protection against slippery, uneven & steep terrain. Most hiking boots will also give some degree of protection from the wet. I would always advise you to bring boots designed for hiking to all of my events as you need to be prepared for a wide range of terrain. If you are new to hiking and need a pair of boots, going to good outdoor shops such as Cotswold Outdoor (many branches in London), Sports Direct and ordering online is not a good option. Decathlon outdoor shops are a good cheaper option. Tell the shop assistant where you are going and what you plan to do in the future and they will measure your feet and give you options for your budget. A good pair of boots range from £100+. and can last you up to 6-8 years with around 10 days of walking per year. A good waterproof jacket is also essential and will start from £70+.
Do I need to carry my luggage?
Never. Your luggage will either be in the vehicle (mini bus or car) or in the hotel, you just need to carry your daypack (water, food, waterproof jacket, sun cream). Of course you will keep your valuables with you at all times (mobile, money).
How do I know I am fit enough?
All of my events are suitable for members with an average fitness level unless indicated as DIFFICULT or STRENOUS. With coastal events there will be many undulating, this will give you the rewards of great viewpoints. If you have completed one of my free day walks, you are fit enough for any of my weekend events. You should be able to walk for 2 hours on a flat terrain at a moderate pace (2.5 mph) before taking a break. Another measure of suitability: You should be comfortable walking up 10 flights of stairs without resting or being breathless, around 100 steps.
How long are the walks/hikes?
The distance are generally not on the description as the "miles walked" can give a misguided expectations. A circular mountain hike may only be 6 miles but with the 850 metres of ascent and decent, this will make this 6 miles walk a whole day challenging walk of minimum 7 hours. All of my events are designed for a member with an average fitness, walking at between 2 to 2.5 miles an hour on flat terrain. For coastal event where there are many undulations, we will take a break and enjoy the views after every hill. My average day's walk will be around 10 miles, 4-5 hours walking time and with coastal event 250-400 metres of ascents/decents over the 10 miles with a around 2.0-2.5 hours total break time and swims during the whole day. We are normally out early and back late, making most our time.
If I feel tired can I only do part of the walk?
The pace is never too fast and we take a long break after each ascent if the terrain is hilly. Some members may not have ever walked on 3 consecutive days and by 3rd day you may feel too tired to complete the walk. Just let Michael know and I will give you several options. In coastal areas there will be seaside villages where you can take an extended break.
Do you cater for vegatarians and vegans?
We will go to restaurants that would have a good vegetarian & vegan options.
Can I have my own room?
Yes if there are availability and if you are willing to pay a single supplement.
What are the typical age range that join these walks ?
From 18+ but mostly ages from late 20s to 50s. Cannot accept members that wish to bring their children under the age of 18 years of age.
Can I bring my dog?
Sorry no. Even though your dog maybe very well behaved and obedient I have come across many bad owners that cannot control their dogs. I also know some members that are afraid/apprehensive of dogs and as my events are for members to relax and enjoy the walks, these are my main priority. I am sure there are many other walking groups that cater for walkers and their dog.
What if I get lost during the walk?
You will have my mobile number, your drivers number and other members numbers if you wish to be added to the WhatsApp chat for that particular walk only. Michael will set up the WhatsApp group the night before the event starts. Being on the group's WhatsApp will give you access to all the photos the group wish to share. During the event you will get confirmation of meeting times and locations and informed of any delays or changes. The WhatsApp chat will be deleted once the event has ended. In areas where the mobile signal are weak I give walkie talkies to members, this is distributed amongst the group so we can maintain communication throughout the walk.
There will always be a briefing in the morning where Michael will cover the following: walk description (walking time, terrain and ascents) driving time to the start of the walk and what to carry. The brief will also include: options for evening meals. If there isn't an opportunity to get everyone together, info will be sent out via the group's comms WhatsApp. This WhatsApp will start at around 9pm on the night before the event.
What is the refund policy?
You can reserve your place on any event, months in advance with a £50 deposit. I understand that member’s work, family & personal situation can change therefore do not require the balance until 10 days prior to the start of each event. If you can no longer attend before transferring the balance, deposits can be transferred to any other event within the year's programme.
If you withdraw, within the 10 days period, and if I am able to find a replacement to fill your space I am more than happy to give you a refund of the balance and transfer your deposit.