2017 is your year of hiking. It’s time to don those hiking boots and take off on one of the great beginner hikes that can be found all around you.
Long-distance routes can seem daunting, but each route is broken up into small, hike-size pieces. If you’re new to hiking, or just fancy a gentle start to 2017, these are the hikes that you should aim for. Manageable, not too strenuous, and they will certainly whet your appetite for larger hikes later in the year.
The winter season is almost behind us, carving a trail for hiking in front of you – now’s your chance!
Cloghane to Scraggane Pier on the Dingle Way
As beginner hikes go, it doesn’t get much better than a long stroll along a sandy beach with the wild Atlantic Ocean beside you.
Many hikers may be reluctant to call a walk along the longest beach in Ireland a ‘hike’, but it’s certainly a gentle way to encourage you to take on more strenuous routes.
The rest of the Dingle Way is certainly not something to be missed either – filled with Irish culture, music and the best locally-sourced seafood imaginable.
Bere Island on the Beara Way
Bere Island, or Bear Island (don’t worry, there are no bears), is an island located off the Beara peninsula in the southwest of Cork.
A short looped walk brings you around the remote part of the small island. At just 14km long, this beginner hike is a perfect gentle introduction to the year.
The island is steeped in military history, with the longer 24km route showing you this part of the island.
Glendalough on the Wicklow Way
The hike to Glendalough may not be strictly a beginner hike, but it’s worth it to see this 1,000 year old monastic site.
You’ll also take in the beauty of the Wicklow Mountains on this hike, so it’s not something to be missed!
Waterville to Caherdaniel on the Kerry Way
Your legs will thank you for taking this on as one of your shorter beginner hikes!
At just 13km long, you’re still treated to all the beautiful coastal scenery that Kerry has to offer.
Lough Inagh to Leenane in the west of Ireland
Flanked by two impressive mountain ranges – the Twelve Bens and the Maamturks – this 15km hike brings you through the heart of Connemara.
The bogland can sometimes get soft underfoot, however this hike is still a great option for a beginner.
Ballintoy to the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim
Experience the majesty of the Giant’s Causeway with this hike in Northern Ireland!
If you don’t fancy walking from Ballintoy to the Giant’s Causeway, you can always go directly to the great wonder.
Bantry to Glanlough
With stunning views over each side of the Sheep’s Head peninsula, this short hike is perfect for a beginner.
Just 16km in length, this beginner hike should take you around 5 hours to complete and reward you with spectacular scenery.
Liscannor to Doolin – see the Cliffs of Moher!
Even if this wasn’t one of the beginner hikes, we’d still include it just for the sake of the Cliffs of Moher
Lundrava to Fort William – Ben Nevis looms over you
To Scotland now, and a wonderful beginners’ hike in the shadow of Ben Nevis.
Don’t worry though – you don’t have to climb it. You can simply admire it from a distance.
Fort Augustus to Inverness – catch a glimpse of Nessie
Get your camera ready – a snap of the Loch Ness monster in Loch Ness could make you rich!
Take a nice hike along the shores and discover beautiful Scottish castle and ancient Scottish history.
Acharn to Aberfeldy – possibly the best scenery in Scotland
Considered by some to be the most beautiful scenery in Scotland, this section of the Rob Roy Way is not to be missed.
You’ll probably spot some Highland Cattle on your journey too!
Lanercost to Carlisle along Hadrian’s Wall
Each section of the Hadrian’s Wall route is steeped in history – you’ll never be far from the ancient Roman ruin.
Hadrian’s Wall is a great option for a beginner hike as it’s relatively flat.