Now the clocks have gone back the chances are that all but the most dedicated outdoor enthusiasts will be spending much less time in the outdoors than they have over the past few months.
While there are those who will look forward to the chance to do some winter walking with their ice axes and crampons at the ready, others will limit their activities and spend more time indoors during the long, dark days ahead.
However, that time need not be spent idly; instead it can be used to plan some exciting activities for 2022, when the lightening skies as the days start getting longer again provide new opportunities for adventure.
Some will plan to continue working their way down a mountain tick-list and others will visit somewhere new, but for many the biggest challenge is to take on a long-distance walk.
There are many great trails you can choose. You could go for a walk along a great historic frontier, like the Hadrian’s Wall or Offa’s Dyke national trails. You could go for an epic trek through the countryside like the West Highland Way or the Pennine Way. Or you could head for the seaside with the South West Coast Path. These are just a few of the options available.
Choosing where to go is just the start. There are various practical elements over choosing the time (and how much of it), finance, booking accommodation or finding a tour company to help organise the trip and take baggage from one B&B to the next.
Your equipment is also vital. This time of year may be a good time to assess what you need to renew before next year anyway, be it your outdoor jacket, walking trousers or, most importantly, boots.
If you are taking on a long-distance challenge, a boot like the Timberland Grafton Hiker may be ideal. These are designed for everyday use, which in the context of a long distance walk is just what you should be looking for.
Many people’s hiking boots are super tough, rugged footwear that suits taking on rocky mountainous challenges that will provide great grip and ankle protection. However, these can take their toll on your feet, making them less ideal for an undertaking where the main challenge is distance rather than terrain, and where you will be walking miles day after day rather than resting.
Your main focus when choosing footwear for long trails should be comfort, because there are few things worse than picking up blisters or injuries that will leave you in constant discomfort with days and many miles to go.
National trails are certainly not something to be taken lightly and getting from one end to the other is not easy. At the same time, when you do reach the end there will be a feeling a joy and euphoria at the achievement that’s hard to beat.
Even so, while you can bask in the glory and rest your tired body when it’s all over, the fact remains that looking after your feet with the right boots is crucial to making sure you enjoy the process, with all that wonderful scenery, history and places to see along the way. Make the whole thing a joy, not a struggle through the pain barrier.