What are Guided Walks?

 If you’re new to walking, or even training for Kilimanjaro, a guided walking tour might be the solution to getting you on the right level of where you need to be in fitness and knowledge before you go out solo. I discussed why a walking guided tour is a great idea with Cath Lee, owner of Peak walking adventures based in Belper about why guided walls and walking tours are a great idea for any level of walker.

A tour in Stanage Edge

Cath has lived at the edge of the Peak District all her life and is a qualified Mountain Leader and member of the Mountain Leader Training Association (MLTA).

Hi Cath, thanks for taking the time to speak to GO Activities!

No problems- you’ve caught me just back from a tour of the lakes with a group who I was guiding out there. Even though I own Peak Walking Adventures I still like to get out there.

Who are the guides?

 We have a team of professional walkers all educated to Mountain leader standards with first aid training so walkers are in really safe and capable hands.

We usually have one guide for every 8-10 participants and the guides know routes like the back of their hands as well, which is a great asset for anyone who wants to walk but isn’t sure which route to take, or quite what’s worth seeing- you can let us take charge so you make the most of your time.

A tour on Fairbrook

What sort of walks do you offer?

There are 2 choices, you can hire your own personal walking guide or you can join one of our group walks, available on a few days each month.

Both of them are great ways to get outdoors and you will be looked after by professionals. We see plenty of hen parties coming for the hired personal guide, and these are really good days out for the whole family too.

We also offer the group walks which are a fantastic way to meet people in the Peaks and get a taster of the outdoors- or if you’re already experienced at walking, these are great for training you up for serious walking events.

So what is the benefit of a guided walk over getting out there on your own with a compass and a guidebook?

 There are plenty of reasons why guided walks are interesting. The heart of what we do is bringing the outdoors to life, so instead of walking to a destination, it’s about taking in what’s there on the route.

We take small groups usually of six or so, and it’s a good way to hand over the task of navigating to us, allowing you to catch up, chat, or just take in the scenery as you go.

The other thing is that beginners may not have walking navigation skills yet, at least not for the high hills and moorland routes so they are usually a safer alternative if you aren’t quite ready to go it alone.

Our guided walks could help you get acquainted with what’s actually out there before you learn how to use a map and compass. As well as letting us get you there safely, we also want to pass on knowledge, so the walk will give you advice on wild flowers, the history and geology of the area and just all the things that a local guide picks up by living and working nearby.

 Are there any restrictions in terms of age or fitness for a guided walk?

 It really depends what walk you pick. If you want to get up Kinder Scout or train for the 3 peaks then you need to be fairly experienced and fit. Otherwise, if you want a gentler 2-3 mile walk like the nature trail, all you need is to be capable of walking that and to get over turnstiles- there are quite a few here in the peaks!

We do allow under 18’s with a parent, and we do allow friendly dogs if the group is okay with them, you just need to call us first so we can check!

What kind of routes do you head to on a guided walk in the Peaks?

 As I mentioned before, the highest walk is Kinder Scout which is really popular, and we also go into both areas of the Peak district, the dark peak with the grit stone and the high and remote hills, and the white peak, the side with the gentle rolling hills and limestone gorges, so we really go wherever the group is keen to.

What sort of gear do you need for a guided walk?

 It’s all about comfort, so we really recommend a good pair of walking boots, comfortable clothes and waterproofs too.

What prices are these guided walks?

You would be surprised how cheap the guided walks are compared to some other activities, especially for larger groups like hen parties.  Typically we charge £120 per day for each guide that we provide, so the cost could be reasonable for a bigger group.

You can also take part in existing group walking activities which are even cheaper and allow you to explore specific routes like Keswick in the Lake District, ‘Undiscovered Derbyshire’ guided walking weekend and challenging walks in areas like Hathersage.

Have you been on a guided walk? What did you enjoy about the experience?