Snowdon and Scafell will be busy this year, but our pick of lesser-known routes should be as empty as ever
In a densely populated country like Britain, finding somewhere to walk alone is never straightforward, but there are places that rarely see humans, and footpaths that have no footprints, often surprisingly close to towns and villages. There is nothing quite like passing an entire day of walking without seeing a single soul, never being called upon to utter greetings. When mental health is in the spotlight and the dangers of isolation are constantly reiterated, it’s good to mention that time alone can also be beneficial, even essential.
Many years ago on top of Scafell Pike, after a day spent in thick mist without encountering anyone, I bumped into another solo hiker. As we passed I said, “Hello,” but he did not reply, just glared. I was young then, and only now do I realise how inappropriate my talkativeness was; an eyebrow twitch would have been adequate.