Austria Henry Rivers

Henry Rivers

Although we’re dwarfed by Welsh and Scottish mountains, England has over 40 mountains (and many more peaks). Nearly all the highest mountains in England are in the (mostly rural) county of Cumbria. Most of the area is taken up by the beautiful Lake District (the largest of England’s 10 national parks and home to the largest body of water at Lake Windermere, which confusingly is not a lake). It’s also home to 3 million sheep (six times more than people!) and the most rain in all of England (so bring your wellies). Nearby is Carnforth Station, the setting for the beautifully-made film Brief Encounter. And the seaside town of St Bees marks the beginning of Wainwright’s coast-to-coast walk (which ends when you paddle your toes in the East Yorkshire village of Robin Hood’s Bay).

Near the Scottish border, you may wonder why all 10 of England’s highest mountains are in the Lake District. It’s just geology really: lands are formed by tectonic plates and when they collide, the fold until rocks are forced up to make a mountain. Mountains are taller when the plates continue to collide. Unlike in Norfolk where it’s so flat that there’s a joke: you can park your car and go for a whole day walk, and still see it!

Although we associate northern England with mountains, there are quite a few mountains elsewhere.  The Lake District mountains are mostly volcanic rock, limestone and Ordovician slates. But travel north towards Scotland and you’ll find the Cheviot Hills (part of Northumberland National Park), the Pennines (the ‘backbone of England’) and the Peak District. You even have mountains in the Midlands (the Malvern Hills are notoriously difficult to climb, and often uses as practice for mountaineers trying to ascent Mount Everest, as it kind of looks like a ‘mini-Himalayas). From the top (Worcestershire Beacon), on a clear day you can see several counties at once, and even Wales!

For more info, read The Mountains of England and Wales, a walking guide to climbing all 254 summits in a series of 60 walks. The book covers mountains by region (the Lake District, Chevoits, North Pennines and Yorkshire Dales) along with the Peak District and Dartmoor. Discover some of our most famed peaks including Coniston Old Man (Lake District), Kinder Scout (Peak District), Blencathra and Great Gable, along with mountains ‘with no name on OS maps).

take a zero waste mountain hike!

seafarer knitted cotton jumper

If you enjoy a nice mountain hike, Rapanui organic cotton jumpers are as warm as wool! Follow the 7 steps of Leave No Trace, which include disposing of waste responsibly, preventing fires and respecting wildlife. And take a battery-free torch, stored in a sustainable rucksack.

Will’s Vegan Shoes makes great hiking boots for men and women, sent in zero waste packaging. Created in a solar factory in the Dolomite Hills of Italy, the uppers are made with scuff-resistant materials to avoid discomfort on long walks, and the feet/ankles are supported with padding on the tongue and around the collar. Lab-tested to be waterproof, these are also easy to take on and off. Sold with a 365-day return service (paperless & carbon-neutral).

If hiking low slopes with (fit) dogs, read The Essential Guide to Hiking with Dogs for safety tips (by Jen Sotolongo).

Rapanui also makes organic cotton beanie hats, made from offcuts from their other clothes. Ideal to keep your head warm on a mountain, the beanies are sold for men and women, made with green energy and sent in zero-waste packaging.

an update on the tartan Thermos flask

ocean bottle brew flask

If you’re hiking up a mountain, you likely want a nice mug of tea or vegan soup when you reach the summit. Ocean Bottle Brew Flask is an update on those old Thermos tartan flasks with plastic lids. This is made from recycled materials (including stainless steel) with a 360 degree drinking design and a leakfree lid to keep drinks hot all day. For each purchase, the company donates to a charity that clears 1000lb of plastic bottles from our oceans.

Don’t let children drink from wide-mouth flasks due to hot liquids. Avoid caffeine for pregnancy/nursing and medical conditions. 

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