10 Best Treks in March


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10 Best Treks in March

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In March in the UK we are getting ready to stop hibernating from the foul rain and gales (less so the snow this year!).

For those who like to escape the weather altogether we have selected four treks that will take you where the sun should be (and one where it probably won’t) outside of the UK.

Though it can be a bit of a gamble trekking in the UK at any time of the year, you can reasonably expect it to start warming up and drying out.

This is why we are suggesting five treks in the UK for the month – all in Southern England where the weather is marginally better than the hills and mountains of the North.

Given our bonkers weather at the moment we aren’t making you any promises!

So let’s go shall we?

Treks Abroad

For those craving some decent weather away from flooded, rainy old Blighty we have chosen some treks that might draw you further afield.

At this time of the year, approaching the Equinox where day and night are almost equal in time, you won’t always find that the weather is better in the Southern Hemisphere than it is in the Northern one.

The Lighthouse Way in Galicia in Spain is likely to have better weather than in the far south of South America (the Dientes Circuit) thanks to the latitudes involved.

That said, the Dientes is a different level of adventure than Galicia!

Larapinta Trail

Australia

  • Distance: 138 miles
  • Time: 12 days
  • Start: Telegraph Station, Northern Territory
  • End: Mount Sonder
  • Best for: Ochre landscape: ridges and plains

The Larapinta Trail is widely held as one of Australia’s best long distance treks.

Now autumn is falling on the country and the extreme heat of summer is wafting away as the days get shorter, now is a great time to consider 12 days walking across the Northern Territory.

This is a hike that takes in some of the best of the Outback in its purest form.

Larapinta Trail

You will be following in the Aborigine tradition of ‘walkabout’ as you climb high desert ridges and plod across wide plains.

For those seeking isolation this is just the tonic for your ills!

The Larapinta Trail is well managed and one of the guarantees of the walk is that you are able to get water at least once a day.

Given the scarcity of this vital resource thanks to climate change savaging the country so hard, this is an important factor to cherish as you go – water is a huge weight and can make you or break you on such adventures.

The water is found at designated campsites – this is just as well as there are strict rules surrounding fires in this part of the world.

How you take the walk on is your discretion.

Should you go east to west you can end the walk by climbing Mount Sonder on the final day, but slogging into an afternoon sun day in, day out can be off-putting.

The choice is yours!

O Camiño dos Faros (The Lighthouse Way)

Spain

  • Distance: 124 miles
  • Time: 8 days
  • Start: Malpica, Spain
  • End: Finisterre
  • Best for: Exploring Spain’s northern Atlantic coast

This coastal walk along the Costa da Morte is one where you will see and feel the deep human and geological history of this area.

We chose this route for March as it is in some of Europe’s warmer climes and you may well get a good dose of winter sun without having to go over to the Southern Hemisphere for your fix.

Along the way you will discover lighthouses, beaches, dunes, rivers, cliffs, forests, estuaries as you follow the coast.

O Camiño dos Faros

The walk involves around nine hours of hiking a day, which can be tough at times but the views and experiences will make it well worth your while.

There are some tough climbs, and with this being coastline you will find some short, brutal and repetitive as you go.

The walk is well way-marked and you won’t need amazing navigation skills to do it.

Just inland from your walk is Santiago de Compostela, so if you are minded to take in some religious relics as part of your 10 days in the area this is a worthy diversion – even as a shorter pilgrimage.

Eight days on foot is one special way to enjoy and absorb the culture of Spain, and this walk will not disappoint.

Paparoa Track, South Island

New Zealand

  • Distance: 34 miles
  • Time: 3 days
  • Start: Smoke-Ho car park
  • End: Pororari car park
  • Best for: Exploring the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island

This is a mountain biking and trekking trail so you can immediately see that you won’t be hitting any huge, killer climbs here.

That said, it isn’t just an easy bimble along the coast!

The first day on the trail involves some tough climbs over mountainous terrain but soon levels out to reasonably hilly stretches but nothing that will do you in!

The Paparoa Trail is one of New Zealand’s newest marked hiking routes and as such it is well marked and you won’t have to carry a tent on the trek.

Paparoa Track

You will have to book your stays at the huts long the routes (two for two nights total).

As well as the fantastic scenery to be taken in as you go, you will encounter the Pike River Mine trail and the story of the 29 miners who perished underground.

In 2010 a methane explosion did for them in the coal mine, and government inspectors were blamed for not adequately enforcing health and safety regulations that led to the deaths.

This area of New Zealand is remote and for those seeking to get away from the babbling masses, presents a great chance to escape and explore an area of the country that isn’t one of the most overwhelmed with other trekkers, locals and internationals alike.

Dientes Circuit

Chile

  • Distance: 32 miles
  • Time: 4 days
  • Start/End: Puerto Williams
  • Best for: Exploring the far south of the Americas

This is the toughest trek in this article on the 10 best treks in the world to do in March.

It circuits the Isla Navarino, and is the most southerly multi-day trek you can do without physically going to Antarctica.

You will experience snowy peaks, glaciers, vast stretches of tundra along this route that will challenge and reward in equal measure.

Getting there is going to be an adventure – you will have to travel by land, sea and air to get to Puerto Williams and that’s going to be part of the achievement in its own right!

Once there you will be confronted with extremely mountainous terrain at the southern tip of the civilised world.

Dientes Circuit, Southern Patagonia

That said, you will see evidence of gross inhumanity too.

The Yaghan indigenous people had a peculiar culture borne of living in the extreme margins of the planet, and wore no clothes despite the extreme climate down that way – just the blubber of sea mammals they caught.

Due to land-grabbing and the idea that they were ‘uncivilised’ they were moved around by those who invaded their world, given diseases that killed many and eventually kept in a township where their language died out.

The route is unremittingly hard for all four days with beefy climbs all the way.

You will be carrying all your food and water, tents and all you need for survival in this hostile climate as you go.

For that you will get the feel of being a true modern-day explorer, trekking a wilderness few others even know about let alone will even manage.

Inca Trail

Peru

  • Distance: 29 miles
  • Time: 4 days
  • Start: Cusco
  • End: Machu Picchu
  • Best for: High altitude trekking to the Inca capital

The Inca Trail is closed in February for repairs and a clean up every year. It opens in March, and for those who want to get away from the worst of the crowds at Machu Picchu it’s worth considering at this time of year.

The trade-off is that March is one of the wettest months – and at high altitude that can mean snow too.

Though the Dientes Circuit above is the toughest in this article, the Inca Trail requires you to be as fit as you can be to manage the high altitudes involved in the High Andes – a step down from the brutality of its southern neighbour perhaps, but you need to be fit to manage the incessant climbs and low oxygen levels.

Experience an amazing sight at the end of the Inca Trail

In our blog we looked at how you should prepare for high altitude trekking and the steps you should take to handle it to minimise the risk of fluid on the lungs or the brain.

You should also look at our article, Top Tips for Trekking the Inca Trail to get an idea of the planning and permits you need to do it.

If you take our advice aboard, from gym work to booking well ahead you will get to do what is widely regarded as one of the best high altitude treks on the planet!

UK Treks

March is the early end of the trekking season in the UK.

You may well be the sort who has been slogging through mud and rain in the winter months just to stay fit but now you could consider taking a week or so off to disappear into the hills.

In this part of the world we would recommend a Southern England hike at this time of the year.

You may even see some sunshine between the rainclouds!

That said, you have a better chance of that than north of the Watford Gap…

So let’s start with a monster shall we?

The South West Coast Path

  • Distance: 630 miles
  • Time: 8 weeks
  • Start: Minehead
  • End: Poole Harbour
  • Best for: Exploring the best of the Westcountry in one big adventure!

Taking on this adventure is one of those walks where you get recognised for your achievement.

You don’t even need to do it in one hit to qualify!

That said, you don’t do it to have your name on some forgotten web page – you do to see some of the best coastline in the whole of the UK if not the world.

Starting on the Atlantic coast at Minehead in Somerset you head over some of the highest cliffs in the country and then wind your way through Devon, Cornwall and into Dorset.

Some of the walking is tough by any standards – expect to climb 500 metres and more in a day, and some stretches doing that every day.

The South West Coast Path

One tip to remember – towards the end of the walk you can only get from Lulworth to Kimmeridge in Dorset at the weekends as that crosses an artillery firing range and the MOD Police don’t take too kindly to trespassers walking through firing ranges when there are shells falling on it.

You can B&B hop or take a tent or a mixture of both.

There isn’t a day where you won’t be in a village to resupply or simply to rest a while.

All this on some of the wildest and beautiful part of the UK’s coastline!

The Two Moors Way

  • Distance: 117 miles
  • Time: 10 days
  • Start: Wembury
  • End: Lynmouth
  • Best for: Exploring Exmoor and Dartmoor in one hit

This is a coast to coast walk across Devon, a county that rivals Dorset and Cornwall for the sunniest county in the country.

The official 2 Moors Way actually starts at Ivybridge but to fully bisect the county you start at Wembury on the south Devon coast and take the Erme-Plym trail to get to the official start – an added day but one to achieve something your non-trekking friends will understand!

The 2 Moors Way starts at the south coast and heads up through the barren moorland of Dartmoor, with its delightful wooded valleys as reward and a chance to hide from the difficult weather the area is known for.

The Two Moors Way

You then descend into mid-Devon that isn’t really on the tourist trail and very authentic for it.

For the last couple of days you are on Exmoor, again barren moorland with some tough topography and geology as you go.

The route can be done in either direction, and is well way-marked for the whole way.

You can B&B hop it (with a little planning and extra walking) or camp as you go but do be aware that wilderness camping is frowned upon – and even downright illegal – in much of England.

You won’t need to cache food along the way and the river water is generally sweet enough that you won’t suffer from not treating it.

The South Downs Way

  • Distance: 100 miles
  • Time: 9 days
  • Start: Winchester
  • End: Eastbourne
  • Best for: A good plod through a quintessentially English landscape

This walk along the chalk escarpment of the South Downs might once have been possible all the way into Northern France, thanks to the geological feature connecting the two countries until an Ice Age tsunami blasted it away – now, that’s quite some wave!

Now, the South Downs Way is a classic walk through rural England where you can take in the delights of southeastern Britain without ever travelling too far from a major urban centre.

If you’re London based it’s conceivable that you could forego B&Bs and instead sleep in your own bed and take a train to and fro the stage ends!

This is about escape not logistics, unless the idea of such planning thrills you!

Book your eight nights at the different towns and villages as you go, and perhaps even have a tour company carry your overnight gear for you as you do it!

If you can manage about 12 miles a day every day (a reasonably decent level of fitness) then this is a good trek.

As to doing it in March?

For those who want to do some bigger multi-day treks later in the year, the South Downs Way will be one that’s good for getting the knots out of your muscles for the season ahead.

Capital Ring Walk

  • Distance: 78.5 miles
  • Time: 10 days
  • Start/End: Woolwich Tunnel
  • Best for: A big walk that’s never too far from Central London

This walk isn’t as big as the 150 mile London Loop but you won’t be choked by diesel fumes even so.

The walk takes in many of the greenest parts of the Capital inside the M25, and is accessible stage by stage by public transport.

Capital Ring Walk

Sights along the way include Eltham Palace, the Olympic Park, Richmond Park and Walthamstow Marshes. Oxleas Wood is another highlight where you can easily forget you’re in a global metropolis – though you may need to turn your music up a bit to drown out the traffic noise at times!

For those seeking good views, the North West London stretch will give you some climbs and rewards at the top.

Equally the flatter stretches in the east won’t disappoint, as you take in the sights and sounds that come with that.

For a Londoner with plans for the year, perhaps to spend your disposable income on a trek like Everest Base Camp, this could be a good way to build your stamina for day-in-day-out hiking.

The extra gases in the air could help prepare you for lower oxygen levels too!

The Purbeck Way

  • Distance: 15 miles
  • Time: 7 hours
  • Start: Wareham, Dorset
  • End: Swanage

Starting in the old Saxon market town of Wareham, this is a walk in one of England’s sunniest counties where you will see some of the best views for miles around.

The floods of winter should have subsided on the lower lands – but do be prepared to take the odd diversion as we don’t recommend getting deeper than your boots for any stretch!

From the lowland first leg you climb up onto the main ridgeway of the Purbecks, descending briefly for the Norman Corfe Castle and up again to see views right across the valley and Poole Harbour – indeed, on a clear day, all the way to the Isle of Wight!

Corfe Castle on The Purbeck Way

Just because this is Southern Britain don’t expect an easygoing walk – there is around 700 metres of ascent on the walk thanks to your crossing valleys.

Once up on the ridges though you will be able to make up time and plod along at a decent clip.

As to why we chose this as a March trek?

The Purbeck Peninsula is one of the most popular holiday resorts in the country in summer and can be extremely busy at high season.

That’s why you should consider doing it off-season, especially as the weather is improving for the warmer months ahead.

Wareham is on the mainline from London too, and for your trip back you can take a steam train back to Wareham for your onward trip home.

Summary

Whether intent on flying to the ends of the earth for a deeper exploration of cultures old, extinct or new, or simply to warm your legs up for another long distance spectacular trek later this year, we hope you have some ideas as to what you can do in March.

As ever, if you have a disagreement or comment as to what you think should be here, let us know and we will consider including it in a future piece.

Happy trekking!

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