After the excesses of Christmas, it’s no surprise that the most common New Year resolutions are to get fit and lose a few pounds. Instead of joining an expensive gym, why not make the most of the wonderful scenery on our doorsteps and get your heart racing with a January break in the UK. I find it the best way to banish the January blues!
Lace up your walking boots
The good news about a walking break in the UK is that whatever type of holiday accommodation you choose; you can almost guarantee that you’ll have great walks on your brand new doorstep. Tackle one of the UK’s three highest peaks-Scafell Pike in the Lake District, Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands or Mount Snowdon in the Snowdonia National Park for a challenging walk sure to get your heart racing. For a walk which guarantees breathtaking views but at a much gentler pace, try a stroll through the Cairngorms to see the resident reindeer herd. There are more than 150 reindeer in the Cairngorms and experienced guides lead a daily trek during which you can feed and stroke Rudolph and his friends. I can’t think of many better ways of getting fit than that!
Find out more about reindeer treks at the Cairngorm Reindeer website.
Take to two wheels
Success in last year’s Tour de France and the news that the Tour will begin in Yorkshire in 2014 has seen many more people take to two wheels. Not only is cycling a great way to burn those Christmas calories, but it’s also a fantastic way to explore the UK. The Camel Trail in Cornwall runs from Padstow to Poley’s Bridge and provides cyclists, walkers and horse riders with virtually flat and traffic-free terrain, making it a great option for families. The whole route can be easily cycled in a few hours or you can make day of it by stopping at the beach for a picnic before returning. For those looking for a more intensive workout, head to the Lake District. For a road route that even Wiggins would fear, try the Fred Whitton Challenge, a 112 mile route which takes in a series of twisting climbs in a single day. Mountain bikers should head for Whinlatter Forest where you’ll find the longest purpose-built track in the Lakes with a stretch leads you 500 metres up with stunning views over Keswick.
Bike hire and weather information can be found at each of the location websites listed above.
Climbing guarantees an all over body workout which is great for climbing newbies as well as those with years of experience. The Peak District is world renowned for its fantastic rock climbing with many of the world’s best climbers living within easy reach of the National Park. If you’re a newcomer to climbing it’s best to learn the ropes at an indoor climbing wall or on one of the easier outdoor climbs at Stanage Edge not far from Sheffield.
You can look forward to panoramic views of the UK’s first National Park from however high you’re willing to climb. Another great option for UK climbing all year round is Scotland where you can choose from a wide variety of climbing styles and environments. Glen Coe, also famous for skiing at this time of year, offers climbs from a manageable 15 metres to a more challenging 300 metre ascent. Choose a descent which requires you to abseil to afford seriously good views of the surrounding area.
If you’re on holiday with the family, why not give bouldering a go? Rock climbing without ropes can be practised in central Scotland in a setting which is suitable for young children, so you can look forward to an active break with the whole family. You’ll find some useful information on Bouldering in Scotland here.