> FAQs

About Our Hiking Tours

1. What is a self-guided hiking tour?

A self-guided hiking tour means you are hiking without a guide.

Hillwalk Tours will provide you with all the resources you need to successfully complete the trail alone or in the company of good friends. We’ll plan your route, transfer your bags and show you all the best places to visit but you decide whether you want that extra hour in bed in the morning! All this gives you the freedom to enjoy the trails and the wonderful countryside at your own pace.

Find out more about the benefits of a self-guided hiking tour in comparison to a guided tour here.

2. How are the hiking tours graded in terms of difficulty?

Choosing the right hiking tour can be tricky. It’s important to consider the balance of physical challenge and comfort level that you require. To make your decision easier, we have drawn up a menu of Gentle, Moderate and Challenging hiking tours.

Before we explain the difference between the various grades, it is important to note that each hiking tour within a specific region follows the same official hiking trail. For example, if you choose to go walking in Kerry in Ireland, it doesn’t matter whether you pick a ‘Gentle’ tour or a ‘Challenging’ tour – you will still be walking along the official ‘Kerry Way’ trail. To make these walking trails more accessible to all walkers, we have either 1) picked out the sections of the walking trails that are less demanding or 2) shortened the average daily hike between accommodations.

  1. Same Trail, Easier Sections: For example, on the Kerry Way in Ireland, our ‘Gentle’ tours are restricted to the less demanding sections of the trail while our ‘Challenging’ tours cover the entire trail including the most difficult sections.
  2. Same Trail, Shorter Distances: For example, on the Hadrian’s Wall Path in England, you can walk the entire trail on a 8-Day Challenging Tour, a 10-Day Moderate Tour or a 11-Day Gentle Tour. However, while the Challenging tour requires you to keep up a brisk pace of 23km (14.5 miles) per day on average, the Moderate tour has a more leisurely average of 18km (11.25 miles) per day and the Gentle tour only requires an average walking distance of 15km per day.

Below is a general overview of each tour grading level. Note that the figures for ‘Average Daily Hike’ and ‘Hiking Time’ may vary between regions. Poor weather conditions can affect the average hiking time which is based on a person of normal fitness walking at a moderate speed of around 4km/h (2.5 mph). The hiking time takes into account the terrain covered but not the time required for lunch stops, photos, etc. For more details on daily distances, the level of ascent and the terrain the trail crosses; refer to the itinerary page of each individual tour.

Gentle

12-18km (8-11 miles)  3-6 hours

Our Gentle Hiking Tours are designed with the part-time hiker in mind. While you can still expect some climbs, these tours offer the shortest average daily hikes, which in turn means less ups and downs. This will give you plenty time to enjoy the sights and scenery, take photos, have a long lunch and, if necessary, negotiate the more tricky sections of a walk.

Moderate

 16-23km (10-14 miles)  4-7 hours

Our Moderate Hiking Tours will suit people who are used to some regular exercise or who have done some previous hiking. They offer longer but still manageable daily hikes and should give you a little more of a challenge without going beyond your limits. There will be more climbs in a day but harder days are generally followed by easier ones. Of course, you will also still have time for a relaxed lunch and to take photos.

Challenging

 22-30km (14-19 miles)  5-9 hours

Our Challenging Hiking Tours are designed for the experienced hiker or those walkers who love a good challenge. They offer the longest daily hikes with more elevation gain and will often test your endurance by having you walk all day. Of course, as with all of our tours there will be a hot shower and the finest local hospitality waiting at the end of your walk to re-charge your batteries each evening.
3. Why book with Hillwalk Tours?

Our core purpose at Hillwalk Tours is to create experiences that make people happy. Some of the ways we try to achieve this, and ensure you have the best possible experience with us, include;

The biggest choice of itineraries for the trails we offer, guaranteed – We want you to explore these areas of outstanding natural beauty at your own pace, with nearly 400 itineraries to choose from across 21 different trails (and we’re always looking to add more).

We book your tour direct, always – We don’t book third-party companies to organise tours for our customers. We don’t resell tours from other third-party companies. We always directly book and operate all of our tours ourselves.

Creating memorable self-guided hiking tours is all we focus on, nothing else! – We just focus on creating and organising self-guided hiking tours, and nothing else! And we’ve been doing it for quite some time (since 2008), with over 20,000 hiking tours taken with us so far, and growing…

You can access your tour information easily – You will receive a designated Hillwalk Tours account where you can login to access all your tour documents, trail GPS file, and other important details. Access your tour information anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

We don’t do off-the-shelf guidebooks – We personally walk each trail we offer & create our own detailed route notes. By doing so, it allows us to provide you with more itineraries, route options and alternatives than any other walking tour company!

We come highly recommended by other hikers – Our tours & service have consistently received 5* reviews from walkers. Check out our reviews on GoogleFacebook & Tripadvisor.

You can start your tour on any day / date you like – We don’t confine you to book your tour on specific dates. Instead, you can book your tour to start on any day / date you like during the walking season.

We have itineraries to match your fitness levels – We provide 3 levels of hiking; ‘Gentle’, ‘Moderate’ & ‘Challenging’, which are designed to suit all types of fitness levels and abilities of hikers.

You can walk at your own pace – As all our tours are self-guided, you can walk the trails at your own pace as opposed to adhering to a strict schedule, allowing you the freedom to enjoy the beautiful nature & surrounds.

We’re here to support you 24/7 – You can reach us by phone 24/7 if you ever need additional support while on the trail.

We have a very low booking deposit – Our booking deposit of £100 is one of the lowest, if not the lowest, in the industry.

4. Do you offer guided hiking tours?

Guided hiking tours are not available from Hillwalk Tours.

However, don’t be put off doing a self-guided hiking tour. With help from the documentation that you are provided in advance i.e. Route Notes & Directions, Local History & Attractions, Places To Eat / Evening Meal Suggestions etc., you are well prepared, making it perfectly manageable to complete the trail by yourself – and without missing out on any of the local information & history as you walk along the trail!

5. When can we start our Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday?

You can start your hiking tour on any day / date you wish within the walking season. Generally, the walking season for most of our hiking tours takes place between March to October, but there are some exceptions. Please see the individual trail pages for further information on the start and end dates of the walking season for each individual trail.

6. Does a 7-Day tour include 7 days of hiking?

Our 7-Day tours include 5 days of hiking. The first and last days of all our hiking tours are travel days used to transfer to/from the town where your hike will begin/end. If you would like to hike for 7 days, simply select one of our 9-Day tours.

7. Does a 7-Day tour include 7 nights of accommodation?

Our 7-Day tours include 6 nights of accommodation – specifically the first 6 nights on your hiking tour. Your tour finishes on the seventh day when you check out of your last accommodation.

8. What is a single supplement?

A single supplement is an additional charge for walkers booking single accommodation (a room for one person).

This is due to the fact that most accommodation providers price their rooms for double occupancy, meaning that they don’t discount the rooms even if they are only occupied by one person. Furthermore, accommodation providers have outlined that the cost of cleaning the room is the same regardless of how many people are in it, and also the potential cost of giving up a double occupancy (or more) sized room for just one person at a cheaper rate, when they could sell the room to more than one person at the normal rate, is too high.

Therefore, the total tour price for individuals who request a single room is “the price per person plus the single supplement”. This added supplement covers the extra costs associated with accommodating a single person in their own room.

9. Can we bring our dog?

It is not possible to bring your dog on a Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday. Unfortunately, the majority of our accommodation providers do not accept pets of any kind. Furthermore, on many of the trails you will pass through farmlands where livestock are present, and where dogs are not permitted as a result.

10. Can we buy bus/train tickets in advance of our trip?

Yes, most bus and train tickets can be purchased online in advance of your trip. Specific transport information is available on the tour pages of each hiking region. See the Travel Info section for each tour for more information.

Upon booking you will also receive a step by step public transport guide which will outline some potential public transport options you can take in order to get you from your arrival airport to the start location of your tour.

11. If we arrive by car, where can we park while we are on our hiking tour?

We can generally arrange for you to park at your first accommodation.

If you are bringing your car, please contact us in advance.

About Accommodation and Luggage Transfers

12. Will we have to carry our own bags during our hiking tour?

No, on all our hiking tours your luggage will be transported to your next accommodation each day as you walk and will arrive before 4pm. Weight limits apply to each piece of luggage, and vary from trail to trail, so please refer to your walking pack documents and communications sent to you in advance of your tour for the maximum weight limit allowed per bag on your selected tour.

13. What type of accommodation will we be staying in?

You will mostly be staying in traditional Bed & Breakfasts (B&B’s) / Guesthouses and small Hotels during your hiking trip. B&Bs / Guesthouses are often private lodging houses, where the friendly hosts welcome travellers into their homes. To ensure your comfort, most accommodation you will stay in has been personally checked by a member of the Hillwalk Tours team. At your accommodation, you can expect a warm welcome, en-suite facilities (where available) and a tasty breakfast each morning (but usually no other meals).

If you are planning to walk the Camino Francés pilgrimage trail in Spain, you will mostly be staying in family-owned hotels, boutique pensiones (guesthouses), casas rurales (country cottages) and traditional pazos (manor houses) during your hiking trip.

For more details on the types of accommodation you can expect to find on a Hillwalk Tours walking holiday, read here: Accommodation on your Walking Tour

14. Can we get a list of our accommodation before we leave?

Yes, you will receive a list of all accommodation that you will be staying in prior to the departure of your travels. Once final payment for your tour has been received, you will be sent an email with a digital PDF copy of your walking pack documents such as your route notes, accommodation details and evening meal suggestions etc. It’s within the PDF copy of your walking pack documents that you’ll be able to find what accommodation you will be staying in each night*. You will also be posted a walking pack (either to your home address or the first accommodation on your tour) which will include essential physical items for your tour such as the required maps for the trail and luggage tags.

*If you’d prefer to receive a physical copy of your full walking pack documents too, it’s essential that you reply by email within 48 hours of booking your tour in order to let us know.

15. Will our accommodation be close to the local town/village?

In general, we try to book accommodation which is as close to the local amenities as possible. If you are staying in a remote location (where access to local pubs/restaurants is not feasible), the owner of the B&B / Guesthouse or Hotel that you are staying at will ensure that you are well fed.

Please be aware that occasionally, due to the limited supply of accommodation, we may have to make reservations for you at a nearby B&B / Guesthouse or Hotel and arrange transfers to and from the walking trail accordingly. In most locations, this is not a concern but in certain places, availability can be an issue. For more information, just have a chat with the person who is booking your tour.

16. What is the difference between a ‘twin’ and a ‘double’ room?

A ‘twin’ room is a room for two people with two separate beds. A ‘double’ room has just one large bed (for two people).

For more detailed information on the different room type options, please see the following page: Room Types

About Your Walking Pack

17. What’s included in my walking pack?

Once final payment for your tour has been received, you will be sent an email with a digital PDF copy of your walking pack documents such as your route notes, accommodation details and evening meal suggestions etc. You will also be posted a walking pack (either to your home address or first accommodation on your tour) which will include essential physical items for your tour such as the required maps for the trail and luggage tags*.

*If you’d prefer to receive a physical copy of your full walking pack documents too, it’s essential that you reply by email within 48 hours of booking your tour in order to let us know.

A breakdown of the documents and items you can expect to find in your walking pack are as follows;
– Route notes (prepared by a member the Hillwalk Tours team who has walked every step of your tour)
– Detailed hiking map(s)
– A high-quality waterproof map-case
– Full details of your accommodations and where you will be staying
– Our tips on the most interesting attractions to visit along the trail
– A look at fascinating local history
– A guide to the best places to eat and drink
– Safety information, emergency contact details & the country code for walkers

18. Do you provide GPS data?

You will find GPS coordinates for each overnight accommodation on your tour in your walking pack, which you will receive prior to departure. Additionally, you will find the GPS coordinates for the trailheads (i.e. the start and end points of your daily hikes) for most of our tours.

GPS tracks for your walking route will also be provided and available to download prior to your tour. Please note that while we are reasonably confident that the tracks are correct and up-to-date, we recommend that they are not used as the only tool for navigation. The most important means for navigation should be the way markers along the trail, our route notes and the maps we provide in the walking pack.

19. How many walking packs are provided?

Once final payment for your tour has been received, you will be sent an email with a PDF copy of your hiking documents. This PDF document can then be forwarded to as many people within your walking group as you’d like.

For the walking pack which includes physical items such as luggage tags, map-case, maps etc. and which will be posted to you (or awaiting at your first accommodation) – one walking pack will be provided per four people. Therefore, for a group of 1 – 4 people, one walking pack will be sent. For 5 – 8 people, two walking packs will be sent, etc.

20. What language will my walking pack be in?

The contents of your walking pack (route notes, accommodation information, history, etc.) will all be in English.

About Fitness Levels

21. How fit do we need to be to take a hiking tour?

We try to provide trail itineraries that cater to a large range of hikers & abilities. To achieve this, we provide 3 different levels of difficulty i.e. Gentle, Moderate, and Challenging itineraries. The difference between each level of difficulty is in the average distance that you will walk each day. It does not differ in relation to the elevation, as the exact trail will still be followed. Therefore, the same elevations (the up’s and down’s) of the trail are usually present regardless of the level of difficulty. Depending on the trail, you may find in your route notes some alternative & easier route options for sections of the trail in order to help you navigate & bypass more difficult parts of the trail, but this isn’t always the case.

It’s important to note that levels of difficulty provided by Hillwalk Tours should only be used as a guide against where your own level of fitness is at, and what you feel you will be able to manage on a daily basis. At the end of the day, it’s you that knows your own level of fitness best. We strongly encourage you to review the distances & walking times for each itinerary that you may be considering, along with any additional notes on the specific tour page, in advance of booking.

22. What is the difference between Gentle, Moderate and Challenging Hiking Tours?

The difference between these tours is the distance that you will hike each day:

  • Gentle tours cover an average of 12-18 km (8-11 miles) per day
  • Moderate tours cover an average of 16-23 km (10-14 miles) per day
  • Challenging Tours cover an average of 22-30 km (14-19 miles) per day

For a more detailed breakdown of how we grade our hiking tours, please see the following question: Tour Grading

23. Can we take a rest day?

Yes, we are more than happy to organise an additional night for you at any location along your tour.

For those undertaking a hiking tour in Ireland, if required, we can also book you extra nights in Dublin, at the picturesque seaside village of Dún Laoghaire which is only a short 25 minute train journey from Dublin City Centre, or also in the popular cities of Galway and Belfast.

Suggestions on interesting places to take a rest day are available on the tour pages of each hiking region. See the ‘Extra Days/Activities’ section of each tour for more information.

About Money, Flights and Insurance

24. Will there be ATM/Credit Card facilities along the hiking route?

ATMs (cash machines) are available in most larger cities, towns and villages. Remember that your home bank will likely charge you for withdrawing money overseas. Additionally, if you have a debit card, you can often get cash through the ‘cashback’ system at some shops and pubs when you make a purchase with the card (ask for ‘cashback’).

Credit and debit cards can now be used for payment almost everywhere. However, there are still some smaller businesses that may only accept cash, such as smaller shops, B&Bs (for packed lunches) or taxis (for transfers to or from restaurants). We therefore recommend that you carry some cash (local currency) with you as a back-up.

Contactless card payments are also increasingly accepted in many places (please check daily card limits in advance of use).

25. What currency do I need for my hiking holiday?

The currency used in the Republic of Ireland is the Euro (€). Therefore, if you are taking any hiking tour in Ireland (except the Antrim Glens & Coastline tour), you will need Euros.

The currency used in Northern Ireland is the Pound Sterling (£). Therefore, if you are taking an Antrim Glens & Causeway Coast hiking tour, you will need Pound Sterling. Please note: If you are travelling to Northern Ireland via an airport in the Republic of Ireland, it is advised to bring Euros also.

The currency used in the United Kingdom (i.e. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) is Pound Sterling (£). Therefore, if you are taking any hiking tour in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you will need Pound Sterling.

The currency used in Spain is the Euro (€). Therefore, if you are taking a Camino Francés tour, you will need Euros.

26. Are flights and transport to the start and from the end of our hiking tour included?

Flights and transport to the start and from the end of your hiking tour are not included on our tours. However, we do provide a detailed step-by-step guide of suggested options on how you can make it to the start location of your hike by public transport from numerous major airports. In addition, for further travel information, see the ‘Travel Info’ section on the individual tour page for each trail.

27. Do I need to buy insurance?

Although travel insurance is not required to take a hiking holiday, we strongly encourage you to take out adequate insurance cover prior to travel.

Unfortunately 3rd party travel insurance is not available through Hillwalk Tours, and must be booked separately.

How To Book

28. How do I book my hiking holiday?

1. Browse through our website to find your preferred hiking trail.

2. Choose the type of hiking tour you want to take: ‘Gentle’, ‘Moderate’ or ‘Challenging’.

3. Next, identify the number of days you want to spend on your hiking tour.

4. Click the ‘Make a Booking’ button on the top right of our webpage.

5. Finally, fill out our booking form and make a €100 deposit per person.

29. What options have I to pay for my tour?

Deposits and Final Payments can be made using:

1. Credit Card – through PayPal, for Euro Payments, or through Stripe, for Sterling Payments

Paypal is used by 180 million people worldwide to make secure online credit card payments. Please note if you have opened a PayPal account at any stage in the past, you must log in to your account in order to make the payment.

Stripe is a quick and secure way to accept credit card and debit card payments online. Stripe handles millions of transactions every year for businesses around the world and is now the preferred payment partner for many major companies.

2. Bank Transfer – Instructions & account details on how to make a bank transfer payment can be found on our booking form and also within the final payment email. Alternatively, you can contact us directly for the required account details.

Process After Booking

30. After I book, what can I expect?

1. If you paid by credit card or debit card, you will receive an e-mail within 24 hours verifying receipt of your booking form and deposit payment.

In this email, you will be asked to confirm your tour details. If you paid by bank transfer, payment will take a few days to reach us. Therefore you will receive your email confirmation and request to confirm your tour details shortly after we have assigned the bank payment to your booking form. In this case, you may receive an automatic email outlining that a booking form has been received, but no deposit has been received – you can disregard this email.

2. Once your confirmation is received that all details on your booking form are correct, we will begin making the arrangements for your tour. Therefore, the sooner you send us this confirmation, the sooner we can start to book your tour.

3. After all the arrangements for your tour have been confirmed (this process can normally takes between five to ten working days) you will be sent a breakdown of the balance outstanding for your tour and a due date for payment.

4. Once your final payment has been received, we will send you an e-mail confirming receipt.

5. PDF soft copies of your walking pack will then be sent to you by email which will include all your tour details, and physical items required for your tour (e.g. maps, luggage tags etc.) will be posted to your home address, or to the first accommodation on your tour where it will be waiting for you on arrival. Alternatively, if you have requested that your full walking pack be printed, this will also be either sent to your home address or to your first accommodation on the tour where it will be waiting for you on arrival.

6. You will receive an automated email from us, one week in advance of your tour start date, providing you with some additional information to help with your preparation before travel.

7. During your tour, if you have any issues, you can reach us 24/7 on our emergency contact number which is found in your walking pack.

8. After your tour has finished, we will send you a feedback form in relation to your tour and how it all went. We place a huge importance on our customers feedback and experience of our tours, so when you have some free time, we strongly encourage you to fill out this feedback form as it helps us to continue to provide a high quality service and to further improve where necessary.

9. Lastly, if you would like to tell others about your experience with Hillwalk Tours, you can leave an online review on our Google, Facebook or Tripadvisor pages.

Don't Forget!

31. What should I bring with me for my hiking tour?

ESSENTIALS:
Please note: A detailed ‘Recommended Equipment List’ will be included in your walking pack.

WATERPROOF JACKET AND OVER-TROUSERS – You never know when you will need protection from wind and rain – so prepare for unpredictable weather by packing a waterproof, breathable jacket and over-trousers.

BASE LAYER – This is what you wear against your skin and the best options are breathable and wicking fabrics instead of cotton. They will move moisture away from the skin so that you feel more comfortable when you are walking.

FLEECE – It keeps you warm in ethe cooler months and on top of the hills, and will allow you to shed layers when you are working hard in the summer.

LIGHT AND COMFORTABLE TROUSERS – Make sure you choose trousers that are stretchy or allow enough space to move your legs freely. Denims are not suitable for hill walking and dry very slowly once they get wet.

WICKING SOCKS – Choose non-cotton socks that fit well and will move moisture away from your feet to stop them feeling sweaty. This will help to reduce the likelihood of blisters and ‘hot spots’.

FOOTWEAR – We recommend you bring comfortable, waterproof, lightweight shoes or boots, that provide good ankle support and offer good grip on rock, grass and mud. Remember that the trails in many of our regions, but especially along the west coast of Ireland, can become quite wet and muddy, after periods of rain.

  • If you are taking a walking tour in the Burren, the West of Ireland, Dingle or on the Great Glen Way, we recommend you choose your footwear carefully and bring something suitable for prolonged sections of hiking on asphalt or hard packed dirt.
  • (T) Many walkers find hiking shoes sufficient and often more comfortable for the Speyside Way Whisky Trail, and for walkers hiking the asphalt section from Callander to Lochearnhead on the Rob Roy Way
  • For the South Downs Way we recommend good soles to help with sections of exposed flint stones. Some walkers bring both light shoes AND boots to be prepared for different terrain.
    • Our tip: If you buy new boots or shoes for you holiday, make sure to try them out on one or two longer walks before your tour!

BACKPACK / RUCKSACK (with Waterproof Cover or liner) – To store all your essentials and keep them dry – including extra layers of clothing, your waterproofs, first aid kit, camera and your lunch, snacks and drinks. Don’t forget how important it is to stay hydrated and bring at least 1 – 2 litres of water per person each day, depending on the weather!

WARM HAT & GLOVES – They can be essential in many regions, even in the summer, at higher altitudes and on exposed places.

CASH – Bring some cash to pay some smaller businesses that may not accept credit or debit cards, such as smaller shops, B&Bs (for packed lunches) or taxis (for transfers to or from restaurants).

FIRST AID KIT & FOIL BLANKET – It’s a good idea to have a small, basic first aid kit to deal with little injuries such as sprains, scrapes, cuts and blisters. Good things to bring are plasters & wound dressings, sterile cleansing wipes, pain killers, tweezers (for splinters & ticks), bandages, zinc oxide tape or elastoplast tape (for blisters or sprains) and a foil rescue blanket to keep you warm (or cool) in case of an accident.

WHISTLE & TORCH – In the very unlikely event you need to signal for help (whistle) or if your walk takes longer than expected and you end up walking in the dark (torch).

MOBILE PHONE – We recommend that you bring or purchase a mobile/cell phone. It will allow you to contact your accommodation and transfer providers from the trail and call for help in an emergency.

  • Visitors from other European Countries: Most European billpay and prepay customers can use ‘roaming’ in Ireland and Northern Ireland, but check with your operator for the best rates before you travel.
  • Visitors from the United States, Canada and elsewhere: Make sure that you have a GSM/UMTS phone compatible with European networks and a roaming service / suitable phone plan for the country you are travelling to (Ireland, or the UK for our Antrim Walks). If your phone is unlocked and GSM/UMTS compatible, you can also purchase an Irish or UK SIM card from a variety of mobile phone stores and supermarkets and use it in your own phone.
  • Alternatively, you can purchase a cheap pre-pay phone when you arrive. It is possible to buy a basic pre-pay phone for as little as €20 or £15. You can then top-up with vouchers or a credit/debit card.
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged before you start your walk. You might not always have a phone signal on the trail but, in general, the level of coverage is quite good.

PLUG ADAPTER (/CONVERTER) – Three square pin plugs are used in Ireland and the UK – voltage is 230V.

ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS:
SUN CREAM, SUNGLASSES AND SUNHAT (April to Sept) – Let’s hope you’ll need those!

MIDGE/INSECT REPELLENT & MIDGE NET (May to September only) – More important for Scotland, but can also be useful for other regions. Our tip: Smidge – a product developed in Scotland and considered the UK’s #1 Midge Repellent Spray.

CAMERA – Vital for capturing photos of the stunning scenery along your trip, which help you brag to your friends about your holiday.

COMPASS – A compass (and the ability to use it) is a good idea but not a requirement for our Irish tours.

WALKING POLES – Assist forward movement, reduce impact on your knees, and help with balance in difficult terrain. A pair is best but many hikers also just use one.

GAITERS – By covering your upper boot and lower leg these help to keep your feet and trousers dry in wet grass and boggy terrain.

EARPLUGS – We know how important it is to get a good night’s rest. However, as there may be other guests in the guesthouse with different plans for their night, we recommend bringing a pair of earplugs to ensure sweet dreams!

During Your Tour

32. Is there specific check-in and check-out times at each accommodation?

Your room will be ready each day from 4pm at the latest and sometimes sooner.

Check-in times to your accommodation is generally not before 4pm. You may be able to check-in a bit earlier (e.g. around 3pm), but this is not guaranteed. To request an earlier check-in time, please contact your accommodation host in advance to discuss.

If you expect to arrive later than 6pm to your accommodation, please inform you accommodation hosts in advance (in particular B&B’s & Guesthouses). Reasons for this can be that your flight is delayed, that you are still on the trail or because you might have stopped for food or a drink before check-in. By letting them know in advance, it allows the hosts to plan accordingly and to also put their minds at ease that you are OK.

Check-out time is usually 10am , but it can vary, therefore it’s often best to discuss check-out times with your accommodation hosts directly.

 

 

33. What time will my luggage arrive at?

Your luggage will arrive by 4pm each day.

34. What types of breakfasts are available?

A tasty breakfast is important to prepare you for the day of hiking & adventure ahead. At your accommodation you can find either, a hot breakfast, a continental breakfast, or perhaps even both!

In some cases, where we have no other option but to book you into accommodation where no breakfast is served, we will deduct the cost of the breakfast from your tour price which can instead be used to purchase breakfast in a nearby café / restaurant.

Most accommodation hosts will always try and cater for dietary requirements as best they can, provided they are notified in advance. Therefore, if you do have any dietary requirements (e.g. vegan, vegetarian, etc.) please let us know in the “Any Dietary Requirements/Allergies?” field on our booking form when booking.

Please note, not all businesses may readily accommodate dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc., especially in more remote and rural areas. If you require a specific diet, we recommend you enquire in advance or talk to your hosts. You may also find it useful to download an app such as Vanilla Bean or Happy Cow, both available on Android and iOS, to help you find a venue which meets your needs.

35. Where can I get lunch each day? Can I pick this up along the trail?

In your Route Notes, we list places where you should expect to find at least one café, pub, shop or restaurant along each day’s hike. However, opening times can change, some places may only open in afternoon, and businesses can close unexpectedly. We therefore recommend you also check with your accommodation hosts where you can get lunch the next day, either along the route or at the start of the hike.

If it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase food or drink during the day, you may wish to purchase a packed lunch before you start in the morning, especially if it is a long hike. If there are no shops nearby, your host will be able to provide a packed lunch at a reasonable price on request.

Most accommodation hosts will always try and cater for dietary requirements as best they can, provided they are notified in advance. Therefore, if you do have any dietary requirements (e.g. vegan, vegetarian, etc.) please let us know in the “Any Dietary Requirements/Allergies?” field on our booking form when booking.

Please note, not all businesses may readily accommodate dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc., especially in more remote and rural areas. If you require a specific diet, we recommend you enquire in advance or talk to your hosts. You may also find it useful to download an app such as Vanilla Bean or Happy Cow, both available on Android and iOS, to help you find a venue which meets your needs.

36. Where can I get an evening meal?

You can generally buy an evening meal in one of the local restaurants, cafes or pubs close to your accommodation. If there aren’t any restaurants/cafes/pubs in the local area, evening meals can be obtained from your host.

Most accommodation hosts will always try and cater for dietary requirements as best they can, provided they are notified in advance. Therefore, if you do have any dietary requirements (e.g. vegan, vegetarian, etc.) please let us know in the “Any Dietary Requirements/Allergies?” field on our booking form when booking.

Please note, not all businesses may readily accommodate dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc., especially in more remote and rural areas. If you require a specific diet, we recommend you enquire in advance or talk to your hosts. You may also find it useful to download an app such as Vanilla Bean or Happy Cow, both available on Android and iOS, to help you find a venue which meets your needs.

37. Will there be drying facilities at my accommodation?

The majority of accommodation hosts will be able to assist you in drying your clothes and boots.

38. What is the difference between kilometres and miles?

1 kilometre = 0.62 mile
1 mile = 1.61 kilometres

39. How do I deal with animals on my hike?

Many of the hiking trails can pass through private farmland. This means that farmers can have their livestock (such as cattle, sheep, goats etc.) grazing in the same fields that you walk through. Some livestock may look intimidating. However, don’t worry, you will find these animals are actually quite timid. Continue walking in a normal fashion (do not run) and you should have no problems. In addition, take note of any signs which the farmer may have put up.

You can find more information on how to deal with animals on your hike in the Safety Information & Country Code document you find in your walking pack.

40. Will I have mobile / cell phone reception?

Most areas have mobile / cell phone reception, even while you are hiking. However, you may pass through some remote areas where reception will be either limited or unavailable entirely.

It is important to note that, if you are ever in an emergency, mobile/cell phones can still contact the emergency service numbers even without mobile/cell phone reception.

41. Will our accommodation have Wi-Fi connection?

Yes, in most accommodation Wi-Fi is available, however it’s not guaranteed. In addition, due to the remote locations of some accommodations, the Wi-Fi quality may not always be the best.

42. Are the trails clearly way-marked?

Yes, in general most routes are very clearly way-marked with a marker directly before and after each turn. If you are ever in doubt, you can also check the Hillwalk Tours route notes or maps provided in your walking pack.

43. Will my hiking tour involve taxi transfers?

Yes, it is possible that your tour may include taxi transfers to bring you to and from the trail. The reason for this is;

  1.  Due to limited accommodation options in some locations on your tour, we may need to book you into an accommodation which will require transfers to/from your hike start/end point.
  2.  Due to limited accommodation options or no availability in accommodation, we may need to book you into the same accommodation for more than one night to cover multiple locations, in which case taxi transfers will be required to bring you to and from the trail.
  3.  Due to minimum night stay requirements in accommodations on certain trails, we sometimes have no other option but for you to stay multiple nights in the same location and use transfers to get you to and from the trail.

The cost of these taxi transfers bringing you to and from the trail is covered in the tour price, and they will not affect your tour itinerary i.e. you will still walk the exact route as listed.

Climate / Weather

44. What weather can I expect on my hiking tour in Ireland?

Ireland, known as the Emerald Isle, enjoys a mild, maritime climate, due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream. The warmest months are July and August with temperature averages between 16 and 20°C. Rain falls throughout the year and the weather in Ireland can change very quickly. Annual rainfall in the mountains and the west can be more than 2,000mm, but many other areas receive an average of less than 1,000mm. The driest months are April, May and June.

 

 

45. What weather can I expect on my hiking tour in Scotland?

The climate of Scotland is temperate, and tends to be very changeable. It’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day! The warmest months are July and August with temperatures at an average 17 °C. Rain falls throughout the year and April, May and June are normally the driest months. Annual rainfall in the western Highlands can be more than 3,000mm while the east coast receives an average of less than 800mm. The prevailing winds are from the west and southwest, and are a constant feature in the islands and Highlands.

46. What weather can I expect on my hiking tour in England?

In England, famous for its rain and the lush green of its countryside, the Gulf Stream ensures mild, maritime influenced weather. The warmest months are July and August with temperature averages between 16 and 21°C. Rain falls throughout the year, and the weather in England can sometimes change very quickly. Average annual rainfall in the north is more than 1,600mm, but central and southern England receive an average of less than 800mm. April, May and June are the driest months.

47. What weather can I expect on my hiking tour in Wales?

Wales is surrounded on three sides by the sea and experiences a maritime climate. It can get quite windy at times but the coasts are generally milder, while the inland areas tend to get a little colder. Overall the temperatures are generally quite mild but it can be relatively warm during the summer months. The warmest months are June, July and August. Rainfall can be expected throughout the year and the weather in Wales can be quite changeable, even over the space of one day. The driest months are April May June.

Cardiff Average Weather

48. What weather can I expect on my hiking tour in Spain / along the Camino de Santiago?

Galicia is located on the Atlantic coastline in north-western Spain meaning that the climate is different from that of many other popular Spanish tourist destinations. The region experiences relatively mild and rainy winters and quite sunny summers with temperatures generally lower than found in other parts of Spain.

Spring can be wet and windy but also offers cooler walking conditions than the summer. Nights are often cold and rain is plentiful especially in mountain areas. August is the hottest month in Galicia with an average temperature of 18°C (64°F) but short heatwaves are possible during the summer, with highs around or above 30 °C (86 °F). At these times the wooded and shaded landscape of Galicia makes temperatures much more bearable than conditions in other regions of Spain. Early autumn offers more stable and cooler weather but later months also bring once again the risk of heavy rain.

Trail Specific Questions

49. WEST HIGHLAND WAY: I am a solo walker, can I take a tour on the West Highland Way?

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to book a single room along the West Highland Way. Many B&B’s along the trail do not have single rooms and are simply unwilling to take solo walkers in their double/twin rooms, unless they are part of a larger group (e.g. a group of three people). For this reason, Hillwalk Tours can only offer walking tours for solo walkers along the West Highland Way in the months of March, April & October. Unfortunately it’s not possible for us to book West Highland Way tours for solo walkers in all other months. For a solo walker who is part of a larger group, we will continue to try and book a single room (maximum of one) throughout all months of the walking season. We are of course still offering walking holidays for solo walkers, without restrictions, in all of our other hiking regions in Scotland, England, Ireland and Spain. Thank you for your understanding.

50. CAMINO FRANCÉS: What is the Credencial del Peregrino (Pilgrim's Passport)?

The Credencial del Peregrino or Pilgrim’s Passport is a small booklet that allows you to document your progress along the Camino by collecting stamps or sellos from many accommodations, cafes, shops, churches, etc. on the route. If your itinerary covers at least the last 100km of the walk to Santiago, the Credencial (stamped at least twice per day) will serve as the necessary proof required to obtain your Compostela (the certificate of completion of the Camino offered by the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago).

51. ANTRIM GLENS & CAUSEWAY COAST: Is Northern Ireland part of Ireland or the United Kingdom (UK)?

Antrim is located in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom (UK). The currency used in Northern Ireland is Pound Sterling (£) and not Euros (€).

If you are entering Northern Ireland directly by ferry or plane, a passport is required. If you are an EU Citizen, a national identity card will not suffice, as the UK is no longer in the EU.

Travelling to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland: Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the island of Ireland will continue to have no land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This means that people can travel freely between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland without any land border check.

52. HADRIAN'S WALL PATH: In which direction should I walk the trail?

The Hadrian’s Wall Path can be hiked both from East to West (towards Bowness-on-Solway) or from West to East (towards Newcastle). The ‘original direction’ was to start from Newcastle and hike towards Bowness, but recently many hikers are hiking the trail from West to East, towards Newcastle.

If you are looking for Hadrian’s Wall Tours running from East to West (Newcastle to Bowness-on-Solway), please click here.

If you are looking for Hadrian’s Wall Tours running from West to East (Bowness-on-Solway to Newcastle), please click here.

There are arguments that can be made for either direction and it really is down to personal preference:

Why walk the trail in a West to East direction?

In recent years many hikers choose to walk the trail from west to east, i.e. starting from Bowness-on-Solway and hiking towards Newcastle. The main reason for this direction is that the prevailing winds in the UK are usually blowing from the west. If you are walking from west to east you will therefore generally have the wind at your back.

Another reason is that many of the best views along the centre section of the route are from west to east and some say that you also get a better understanding of how the Wall was laid out by travelling in this direction. Lastly, it is a lot easier to travel onwards after finishing in Newcastle, when compared to Bowness, and some hikers feel that there may be something poetic about finishing a hike along the Wall in a place called ‘Wallsend.’

Why walk the trail in an East to West direction?

The official guidebook describes the route of the Hadrian’s Wall Path from east to west, i.e. starting from Newcastle. Many hikers feel that it is ‘more natural’ to walk out of a big city into the open country, and to finish on the quiet Solway estuary, which seems a better place to reflect on your achievement than urban and industrial Wallsend in Newcastle.

It usually also makes getting to the start of the walk easier due to the better transport connections to Newcastle. Furthermore, starting this way, you get the long stretch along the B6318 Military Road out of your way early on in your tour. You also get a little more Roman archaeology from each day to the next and the scenery improves the further west you go – up to a point. Lastly, you will be following the direction in which the Romans built the Wall, which is why the turrets and milecastles are also numbered from east to west.

53. HADRIAN'S WALL PATH (EAST TO WEST): What is a Slow Adventure tour?

Our “Slow Adventure” hiking tours of the Hadrian’s Wall Path focus on the most exciting central section and cover less daily distance than our standard Gentle itineraries. They are designed to provide hikers with a more immersive and relaxed experience while exploring the rich history and stunning landscapes of this iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site. This type of tour is perfect for those who prefer a slower pace, allowing them more time to enjoy and explore the archaeology and attractions along the central section of Hadrian’s Wall.

Highlights and Features

  • Leisurely Pace: The primary focus of this “Slow Adventure” tour is to encourage a more leisurely pace, allowing participants to take their time to appreciate the sites and scenery. This means shorter daily walking distances of 12-13 km (7.5-8 miles)
  • In-Depth Exploration: The shorter distances give you more time to explore the history and archaeology of Hadrian’s Wall and visit the attractions along the route where in-depth explanations and stories bring the fascinating history of the Wall back to life.
  • Hidden Gems: This tour is designed to let you spend more time at some of the lesser-known and less-visited sections of Hadrian’s Wall where you have the opportunity to discover hidden archaeological treasures and enjoy moments of solitude.
  • Flexible Daily Itinerary: The daily hikes are short, which allows you to adapt to your own pace and interests. This means more time to linger at a fascinating ruin, enjoy a breathtaking view, or chat with fellow travelers.
  • Leave No Trace: Emphasis on responsible and sustainable tourism practices, ensuring that the natural and cultural heritage of Hadrian’s Wall is preserved for future generations.

In summary, our “Slow Adventure” hiking tours of the Hadrian’s Wall Path are all about taking your time, immersing yourself in the history and beauty of the area, and savoring every moment of the journey. It’s an opportunity to connect with the landscape, the archaeology, and the stories that make Hadrian’s Wall such a unique and captivating destination.