[Buy your SIGNED COPY direct from the author!](https://www.howtoclimbamountain.uk/buy-now/) Cheaper than Amazon! :muscle:
[Buy your SIGNED COPY direct from the author!](https://www.howtoclimbamountain.uk/buy-now/) Cheaper than Amazon! :muscle:

Book Contents

Getting Started

Why do we climb mountains? Almost without fail, every time I’m stood on a mountain summit, I’m overcome by a huge sense of achievement. Even if it’s a mountain I’ve climbed many times before, or if the weather is rubbish and I’m soaked, or if we got lost on the way up and it took an hour longer than planned; I’ve still achieved something that most others haven’t.

What is a Mountain?

Surprisingly, there isn’t actually a universally accepted definition of what a mountain is. If you grew up in rural Lincolnshire, you could be amazed when you come across any size hill; whereas someone brought up in the Swiss Alps might come to the UK and scoff at our highest point being just 1,345m (4,413ft) high.

Are you Fit Enough?

You might be put off the idea of climbing a mountain because you don’t think your fitness is up to scratch. It is true that reaching the summit of many mountains around the world is a real physical and mental challenge, and an individual’s fitness level is subjective – but taking the routes in this book as an example, none of these are out of the realm of most of you reading this now.

Where to Go

The UK is fortunate to have 15 national parks covering nearly 9,000 square miles of the country. They range from the New Forest on the South Coast, the Broads in East Anglia and Pembrokeshire in West Wales, up to the Cairngorms in the Northern Highlands of Scotland – so you’re never going to be too far from one. Between them they welcome over 100 million visitors each year, and they’re completely free of charge.

When to Go

Mountains around the UK, and certainly those in England and Wales, are usually climbable in the three non-winter seasons; assuming you have what’s called ‘summer conditions’ (which is pretty much summed up as ‘no snow’). If there’s snow on the ground at your starting point, or if it’s forecast during your day, then that’s not the right time for you to be out walking unless you’re with a competent and experienced person.

The Countryside Code

The Countryside Code is a set of ‘rules’ for visitors to follow when in the outdoors. I first remember learning about it in Cubs, but sadly it’s still not part of the curriculum in schools, and many first-time visitors to the countryside have little or no awareness of it. One might suggest that much of it should be common sense. However, if you’ve spent most of your life growing up in a busy city you could be forgiven for not understanding some of the advice.

What to Wear

What you should wear on a mountain day is probably the question that gets asked the most. That’s because getting it wrong can, at best, spoil your day, and in the worst- case scenario, lead to much worse – but it’s really not that difficult if you follow a few simple rules.

What to Take with You

We’ve discussed what you need to wear when climbing a mountain, but there’s potentially a whole host of other stuff you’re going to need to take with you. Much of this will depend on the nature of your mountain day but this should provide a useful guide.

The Weather

Knowing and understanding the weather on your mountain day is key to making sure you’re properly prepared and that you get the most enjoyment out of the experience. For example, having the wrong gear for the conditions could turn a nice day out into a nightmare, or even worse, venturing out in poor visibility or strong winds might lead to serious injury or death.


Being able to navigate safely when out in the mountains is an essential skill, and the more time you spend outdoors, the more you will want to develop this skill. Following a route plan in a guidebook or from a smart phone app is OK up to a point but being able to understand what’s around your route, and how to deviate from it should a problem arise, is critical.

Walking with Children

Children love being outdoors, and the added achievement of reaching the top of a mountain should make for an even more enjoyable day out for the family – but knowing how to keep them entertained is essential for the group harmony, and for ensuring that they’ll want to do it again. The key is getting them started when they’re young.

Walking with Dogs

Dogs are a common sight in the mountains and, if you have one, you’ll probably want to share your mountain day with yours but remember, that as well as being a physical challenge for you, it may be a much greater challenge for your pet. You should be sure your dog is up for the job if you want to avoid having to carry it down.

Going it Alone

More and more people are venturing out into the mountains on their own; and it’s no wonder when you consider the amount of space and the abundance of peaceful solitude available.

Going to the Toilet

Why are you laughing? It’s something we all do every day, and usually with very little thought. However, when you’re out in the countryside or half way up a mountain and potentially several hours away from a proper toilet, it suddenly becomes more of an issue. Perhaps a bigger concern for women than it might be for men, who will typically go anywhere without a care, there are some rules and useful tips I’d like to share.


You might think it sad that there’s a chapter in this book about litter in the mountains, and you’d be absolutely right. I’m sad that I’m even writing this. But it happens, and while some of it is down to a minority of people not caring about our environment, other litter is a bit more complicated.

What to do if Something Goes Wrong

f you’re well prepared, have planned your day right and followed all the excellent advice in this book then, just like the vast majority of mountain days, yours should go without a hiccup. However, knowing what to do if something does go wrong is essential, as you never know what you might come across on a day out.

Where Can I Learn More?

This book covers what you need to know to climb your first mountain, but there is no substitute for practical experience. The theory suddenly makes a lot more sense when you try it out for real. Fortunately, there are some great courses that can guide you in your early steps.

Hiring a Mountain Guide

If you’re at all unsure about your first serious mountain adventure and you haven’t been persuaded by everything I’ve written here, then I’d highly recommend paying a profes- sional to look after you. They will know the area where you want to walk, can provide a safe pair of hands and will take all the guesswork out of your day – and it might not cost as much you think.

Popular Mountain Challenges

If you’re looking for something to aspire to, there are several popular UK mountain challenges. These are definitely a big step up from the beginner routes in the back of this book, and absolutely not recommended without some prior hillwalking experience, a good amount of physical training and, in most cases, a professional guide. However, they are something you can aim for in the future.

What Next?

If you’re already looking ahead to your next mountain adventure, you might be wondering how you can step things up a gear. What I love about climbing mountains is that there is something out there for everyone. There are great ‘beginner hills’ for those who’ve never climbed anything, and then there are serious mountain experiences waiting for you when you’re ready.

Route Maps and Guides

Over 40 pages of detailed route maps and guides to what I believe are some of our most popular and achievable hill and mountain walks. I’ve tried my best to choose a selection from around the coun- try, so hopefully you won’t have to travel too far. All the routes in this book are designed for beginners who may not have any more outdoor experience than simply reading this book. They mostly follow marked footpaths which should make for simple navigation and are all popular with walkers, so it’s unlikely you’re ever going to be on your own.