Five tips for walking England's Lake District: Expert tips

Dave Reynolds spent his youth roving the hills of the Lake District in northwest England, and still loves to return for a ramble. He now lures Australians back to experience the joys of the UK by foot with his company RAW Travel, which operates walks all around the world. See rawtravel.com

STEP ONE

Check the weather forecast. There are many different types of rain in England and it's important to know which one you'll be deluged with on that particular day. Some call for a head-to-toe Gore-tex outfit and others can be shrugged off with a light rain jacket or umbrella. Waterproof shoes are essential as the thick, lush grass of the Lakes retains a surprising amount of rain or morning dew that can otherwise quickly soak your feet. Boots are the best choice for walking in hills, as the ankle support helps avoid sprains. Buy the best quality socks you can, Bridgedale is the best brand choice in the UK.

STEP TWO

May, June and September, October offer some of the best walking months with less crowds than at the height of summer. In May, everything is alive with the vitality of spring, you can enjoy beautiful long summer nights in June while September and October offer crisp autumn air and colours. In the extreme event that you do see any sunshine, don't panic, it will usually quickly pass. On the 293 kilometre Coast-to-Coast route, from the North Sea to the Irish Sea, the Langstrath Country Inn has a memorable tombstone engraved, 'In memory of a sunny day in Borrowdale'.

STEP THREE

Stop for a chat: the English reserve disappears in the hills, especially in more remote places. Be ready to discuss at length the vagaries of the English weather with all you meet, an endlessly fascinating topic that can never be exhausted. Probably best to avoid any further talk of BREXIT shenanigans now. And please mind your dialects. As you venture beyond the Home Counties, your ears will be assaulted with a bewildering array of colourful variations on the English language. But never enquire of a Geordie or a Liverpuddlian if they are a Cockney, or it'll be a long wait for you at the bar next round.

STEP FOUR

Limber up for the stiles. A stile is a flight of steep wooden steps that allows you to cross over a dry-stone wall, rather than using a gate. They are ubiquitous on most hiking routes and involve a degree of agility and co-ordination to avoid flailing around with your hiking poles and taking out the eye of your companion. The wonderful right-of-way laws in England give walkers access to a great deal of the English countryside and all footpaths and bridleways and your right to roam includes all open access land of mountains, moors, heaths, downs and common land. The countryside code just asks that you respect the communities and natural environment you pass through.

STEP FIVE

Relax. You've never too far from a pub. The whole point of a walk in the English countryside is to get to a pub. Walkers are always welcome and there is even an official scheme and sign to encourage walkers, walkersarewelcome.org.uk (In fact, it's so welcoming that many aspiring English walkers never manage to get beyond the pub to actually start their walk.) My personal favourite is the quaint Drunken Duck Inn, near the Tarn Hows, a favourite walking spot for its stupendous views, drunkenduckinn.co.uk

Two friends could win round-the-world flights and a choice of three walking adventures as 'trail testers' in RAW Travel's Hike the World competition. Entries close April 30. See rawtravel.com/hiketheworld

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