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Some of my Personal Thoughts on Long Distance Walking


A Yorkshireman's advice to his son - Eat all, drink all, pay nowt

The simplest solution to the cooking problem is not to cook. Even the lightest stove requires fuel, which is heavy and difficult to obtain en-route. However, more recently some wood-burning stoves have become available (for example this Toaks stove). A pot noodle takes a couple of minutes to prepare with boiling water, but not many people know that it can also be prepared in about 20 minutes with cold water, and tastes equally horrid. My solution is to carry cold food, sandwiches, fruit, biscuits etc, and study the map for suitable hostelries to aim for. Watch out for burger vans and ice cream vans, and don't waste an opportunity - you'll soon burn off the extra calories. My cooking days are over, but if you do want to cook without burning wood, I prefer meths to gas, as the stoves are lighter and the fuel comes in plastic bottles rather than metal canisters.


Water is heavy. It's also very important, so take some with you. Get used to how much you need, but watch the weather forecast and always overdo it. Drink gallons of the stuff before you set off in the morning and after stops. I've seen people arrive at their destination after a day's walking, weighed down with litres of water which they've carried all day, past many water sources, so work out what's best for you. Buy a decent water filter (mine is the Sawyer MINI Water Filter) and study your map for streams which you can drink from. Stop at as many pubs as you can, but only drink water, like what I do. Never waste an opportunity to drink water, especially in hot weather.

Many pubs and cafés will be happy to provide a packed lunch or a meal to take out, so if you stop somewhere for lunch and you're intending to camp that night, you can get your evening meal as well at the same time. You can make you own decision about how long food will last, depending on the weather conditions, but most food should be OK for 12 hours or so, especially overnight when it cools down.

Don't rely on pubs or cafés marked on maps, or even on my website, as potential sources of food, as they may be closed. In some cases this may be just the wrong time of day, or you may find that the nice country you pub you expected has been converted into flats (very bad) or an Indian restaurant (very good). I carry a couple of pot noodles, a few biscuits and the odd flapjack, just in case.

When you stop for a snack, remember to eat the heaviest food first. Simple but effective!