Tag Archives: backpacking

10 Hiking Essentials for Beginners

I have had several questions asking what it is I take with me on my hikes, or what should you pack when you go out on a hike. If you are a beginner, then this is for you. Preparing for a hike, and what you should wear, I will cover in a separate post.

Some people routinely overpack — they’re the ones carrying a sleeping bag and tent on a short dayhike, just in case. (Of course, by the end of the season they’ll be totally buff from hauling around all that extra weight!) Others eschew basic comforts like insoles and the fingertips on their gloves, all in the interest of shaving a bit of weight off their load.

Of course, most of us fall somewhere in between those two extremes. But the one thing we all have in common is that, unless you’re ready to plunge into the wilderness in nothing but your underpants with a knife clenched between your teeth, there’s a core list of essential gear you just can’t do without.

If you’re gearing up for your first hike, these are the items you just can’t do without:

  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
  4. Extra clothing
  5. Headlamp/flashlight
  6. First-aid supplies
  7. Firestarter
  8. Matches
  9. Knife
  10. Extra food

Know what these are and be equipped. Make sure you and your fellow backpackers are on the same page when it comes to who is bringing what. Double-check before you leave home. It can be a real downer to discover that no one brought a lighter for the stove or a water filter.


Wander, Hike.

I challenge you to plan a hike for this upcoming weekend – preferably Saturday or Sunday morning before football games start.  Get some great snacks, strap on your shoes, and go explore.  If you have tips to share with other would-be hikers, I’d love to hear what else we can do in the comments. 


The North Yorkshire Moors

So last weekend I took a trip to somewhere that’s pretty awesome, and somewhere not too far away from home. The North Yorkshire Moors.

The North York Moors is a special place, forged by nature, shaped over generations – where peace and beauty rub shoulders with a rich history and a warm welcome. Heather moorland is rare on a worldwide scale – there is probably less heather moorland in the world than tropical rainforest. Around 70 percent of the world’s heather moorland is in the UK and the largest continuous expanse of moorland in England and Wales is here in the North York Moors – a sheep could wander from Egton to Bilsdale without leaving the moor. Moorland covers a third of the North York Moors National Park and most of the higher ground is covered in heather.

Unenclosed and unsurpassed, this stunning landscape responds sensitively to the changing seasons and has a quiet drama all of its own.

In early summer you’ll hear the call of the moorland birds, such as the red grouse, curlew and golden plover. Later, as the summer evenings draw in, the flowering heather turns the moors into a purple carpet that stretches for mile after mile. In winter the moors can be exceptionally beautiful, with mist and cloud rising above the sweeping expanses and crisp dustings of frost and snow turning the landscape an ethereal white.

Although it often looks wild and empty, our heather moorland is not a natural environment. The stone crosses and boundary markers remind us of man’s influence on the land, while most of the moors are carefully managed by farmers and landowners so that they can make a living from sheep farming and grouse shooting.

Some areas are managed specifically for landscape and wildlife, such as Levisham Estate, which is owned by the National Park Authority, and Fylingdales Moor, which is managed by the Hawk & Owl Trust on behalf of the Strickland Estate. If the moors were not grazed or managed, trees would appear and much of the moorland would slowly turn into woodland.


Now the moors are vast, but I took to one of the mapped out trials.

Levisham Moor and the Hole of Horcum

I was met with grand landscapes and big views on this North York Moors classic. Starting with the dramatic panorama from Saltergate over the Hole of Horcum, the 8-mile scenic walk follows a prominent track over Levisham Moor, past important archaeological remains. There is a diversion to the stunning viewpoint of Skelton Tower, after which the route drops into the rocky ravine of Dundale Griff and returns along the valley to the Hole of Horcum, climbing back out at Saltergate.

The Hole of Horcum is one of the most spectacular features in the National Park – a huge natural amphitheatre 400 feet deep and more than half a mile across. Legends hang easily upon a place known as the ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ – the best-known says that it was formed when Wade the Giant scooped up a handful of earth to throw at his wife during an argument. Actually, it was created by a process called spring-sapping, whereby water welling up from the hillside has gradually undermined the slopes above, eating the rocks away grain by grain. Over thousands of years, a once narrow valley has widened and deepened into an enormous cauldron – and the process still continues today.


The track across Levisham Moor runs through a landscape rich in archaeological remains – in fact the moor itself is the largest ancient monument in the North York Moors. Half-hidden in the heather are traces of human occupation stretching back thousands of years, from Bronze Age barrows to late Iron Age boundary dykes. These mounds, ditches, banks and ridges are evidence of burial sites, fortified farmsteads, enclosures and eld systems – hard to spot at first glance but obvious once identified.

In medieval times, a monastic sheep farm (or bercary) was established at the head of Dundale Griff , and the foundations of stone buildings can still be seen. It’s important to keep to the path on the route from Dundale Pond to Skelton Tower, in order to preserve the remains.

Ruined Skelton Tower offers an extraordinary view down into Newtondale and over the track of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Built around 1830 by Robert Skelton, rector
of Levisham, it was used as overnight lodgings after a day’s shooting on the moors. The grassy headland was a wonderful spot where I sat and had my lunch, and I could hear the whistle of the steam train below coming towards me. I had to get my camera out and ready for a snap shot.



I enjoyed some fantastic views, blustery winds at the top of the moor, and a great new adventure somewhere new. If you’re planning to visit The North York Moors, then all information can be found HERE.

Berlin Day 2 – A Backstreet Tour!

So today I decided to have a wander around some parts of Berlin that you may not have had thought about. It was pretty interesting to say the least.

It started off in the neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg. Formerly a working class neighbourhood of cramped tenement housing, during East German times Prenzlauer Berg’s war-damaged buildings were basically abandoned in favour of new, planned-housing blocks to the east of the city centre. It became the home then for many bohemians and dissidents who looked for a different way of life to the socialist norm, and with the fall of the wall they were joined by many artists, squatters, musicians and others who made the neighbourhood a buzzing and lively home during the confusion of the nineties. Although money has flowed into the area over the past decade or so, Prenzlauer Berg is still home to many charming cafes and bars, independent shops, and its leafy streets are great to wander.

So I started off with Weinbergspark – This is the local neighbourhood green space from where I was staying. One of the top spots for summer beers or winter sledging.

Then on to the Fashion House – This is a huge corner byuidling once the home of fashion in East Germany.

The ACUD – A cultural and Arts centre, with bars, cinema and theatre.

Then Zionskirchplatz – Was once the church of anti-Nazi resistance member Dietrich Bonhoffer. Now it’s a pleasant space which hold an Organic market out the front every thursday.

Arkonaplatz – A little tranquil housing area that is home to a flea market every Sunday.

Bernauer Strasse – The Berlin Wall once ran along the street……..It ran the length of the street and its evident in many places. I attended the Berlin wall memorial, and visited the only watch tower that exists. A story is told of some students who dug a tunnel from an old bakery underneath the wall to get to the other side.

Oderbergerstarsse – This is a quirky leafy street that is home to some of the neighbourhoods nicest cafes, restaurants and ice cream shops.

Prater Garten – At the end of Kastanienalle is whats claimed as Berlin’s oldest , and finest beer garden in Berlin.

Which lead on to Husemannstrasse – This street was renovated in East German times to represent a typical workers street, some nice cafes and bars here too.

And then I arrived to probably my favourite place today. Kollwitzplatz – This is a small square with a park in the middle, but surrounded by nice cafes once again, and I experienced a nice organic market, where I had some white wine gluhwein. It may not be Christmas but can always have some gluhwein.


T Minus 4 Days

And so the real countdown begins. It’s only 4 day left till my first trip of 2017. Flights are booked, hostel is booked, train is booked. It’s all good to go. BERLIN HERE I COME!!!!!!

I have been keeping myself busy on Instagram, making various posts, connecting and networking with places and people in Berlin, which has been pretty positive so far. The hostel I am staying at, The Circus Hostel, have been particularly very receptive to my posts and comments, which gives me a positive vibe before I arrive. If you wish to follow my adventure on Instagram, you can do so here instagram.com/thesolotr4veller

The one big thing I look forward to the most on this trip, is the Beer. Yes, the Beer. I miss the good old Weizenbier, and it’s been a long while since I enjoyed a real glass of this.


This is only a short post, but it’s an update keeping my blog alive hahaha. Keep tuned for proper posts of the adventure itself.

It’s nearly time.

Happy New Year.

2017 is now upon us, and the start of my travels edge ever so closer. It’s only 25 days till the first trip, Berlin. I have been wondering whether I should plan what I will do there beforehand, or whether I take it in my stride, and go with the flow. So I decided to go with the flow. I felt it was part of the adventure not knowing, and go where my legs take me on the day when I get there. However, I know the two main places I do want to see and visit are The Brandenburg Gates, and The Berlin Wall.


One thing I am sure of, is where I will be staying. My digs for the trip will be the Circus Hostel in central Berlin https://www.circus-berlin.de/hostel/ It has a very good rating, great reviews, its a central location, and situated immediately by a train station for easy access to everywhere I need to go.


Throughout all my travels, Instagram will be my choice of social media platform to share m travels and memories https://www.instagram.com/thesolotr4veller/

New to solo travelling!

You’ve heard about the world, right? This place called everywhere, where everyone else is. You’ve heard about travelling, right?(And let me tell you, everyone else is having a great time doing it.) And, deeply, truly, honestly I’d love it if you were next to me – in the thick of it. Exploring cultures. Uncovering new worlds. Turning possibilities into realities day in and day out, like some impossible dynamo that never tires and never slows down.

But, and this is the greatest part, it’s not impossible. It’s out there and all I have to do to become enmeshed in it is go. And so do you. And once you start going, just don’t stop. And that’s the easiest thing in the world – it’s so easy, the world was made that way. You’ve heard about that, too? “An object in motion wants to remain in motion.”

paris berlin amsterdam helsinki copenhague dublin stockholm madrid vienne lisbonne londres athenes luxembourg bruxelles reykjavik

Now I have never been travelling alone before. This is a first. I will become one of those people you hear all about, one of those people that take those risks and who embrace what it is. The Solo Traveller. I am absolutely 100% looking forward to this adventure, and you can be a part of it with me.