Ditch The Car – Walking With Public Transport
You may be fed up of paying petrol prices, or motivated by more altruistic reasons to try walking without the car. Doing so can be cheaper and opens up linear routes that those planning their trip by car alone will miss out on. You can always drive to one end of the walk and use public transport to return to your car at the end if you want to open up more interesting and varied routes. You can also enjoy a pint at the end of a walk without worrying!
1 – Catch the Bus. Visit one of the Traveline sites for the area in question in order to see if you can get a bus to where you’d like to walk, and sufficiently early as well. Some trips are just impossible to do by bus, perhaps as you don’t arrive at your destination until after noon. One way around that is to travel the previous night and stay nearby. That makes a weekend of it, but negates any cost benefits. Walking areas often have buses for walkers at certain times of the year (e.g. Snowdon Sherpa) and you may be able to base yourself in one town in order to explore an entire area. The Anglesey Coastal Path can be walked in this manner if you base yourself on the bus routes, Menai Bridge for instance.
2 – Go by Train – This can be an effective option in some cases. The Cambrian Line opens up the west coast of Snowdonia and is probably the best option if you wish to walk a linear route over the Rhinogydd.
The sleeper to Scotland is certainly the train that opens up the most walking, and even those already in Scotland can make use of the Glasgow – Fort William (and Mallaig) route. This is one of the most scenic routes in the UK, and as such can be crowded with all sorts of tourists, trainspotters, cyclists and climbers. The sleeper means you avoid the crowds and wake up in the hills. You can access countless Munros and Corbetts from the stations along these, including the Loch Lomond and Trossach hills, Black Mount, Corrour and Rannoch Moor and of course the many mountains around Fort William. That’s not to mention all the ones up to Mallaig as well as being the most direct route to Knoydart. There’s also an east coast line that takes you to Aviemore.
The smaller trains can be useful in some cases. The Welsh Highland Railway provides access to Yr Wyddfa, as well as the Nantlle Ridge and Moel Hebog.
Strangely enough, the only way I can get to Machynlleth by morning from Caernarfon is to catch a train via Shrewsbury. The earliest bus wouldn’t get me there till mid day. Traveline will open up these weird and wonderful options for you.
3 – Take up Wild Camping. This opens up the possibility of walking in to those peaks not served by public transport as well as making a longer trip.
4 – Cycling. If you live sufficiently close to the hills then cycling in may well be an option. More realistically you could combine this with the train and possibly the bus in order to get to your destination. Be careful though, as you need to book places on the trains and confirm that your bus will take bikes (and some have been known to do so grudgingly or refuse outright, meaning you could potentially be left stranded!) Ideal for reaching those hills that are just off the beaten track, such as the Arenig, that would otherwise require an overnight wild camp (which is certainly no bad thing!)
5 – Walk in. The most extreme option, but if you’re lucky enough to live on the edge of a national park or hilly area, it may well be practical to walk from your doorstep. You’ll end up walking a lot further than just the hill, but it’s all mileage under the belt. There’s also something strangely satisfying about a hill that’s walked to from your doorstep, even if it does add a good 15km to the walk.