The Absolute Escapes team have been handpicked for their love of the outdoors and all share a mutual passion for escaping into wild places.
We asked them to share their favourite photo from their adventures on walking trails around the UK & Ireland along with a short description of the image. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next walking holiday, or just a little virtual escapism, read on …
Situated on a headland near Fishguard on the north Pembrokeshire coast, I stumbled across Strumble Head Lighthouse whilst walking a section of the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Set to a backdrop of blue seas and even bluer skies the lighthouse stands out from its surroundings with its striking white facade.
The coast around the lighthouse is littered with beautiful beaches, cliffs, and a whole host of coastal wildlife – the setting makes for wonderful walking. I could happily spend a whole summer in the area, exploring every cave and every rockpool, and plan to return to Pembrokeshire as often as possible. It really is a walker’s paradise.
After a hearty breakfast at the Once Brewed Inn, we set off into an atmospheric scene with the Northumbrian landscape draped in low-lying mist. A short walk along Steel Rigg and we found ourselves at Sycamore Gap – probably the most photographed spot on Hadrian’s Wall Path – with only sheep for company.
This tree became somewhat legendary after featuring in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner, and has even been named England’s ‘tree of the year’! The satisfying view of the tree sitting symmetrically in the dip is a ‘must’ for keen photographers, but I love this shot of my walking buddy descending to the Gap with the ancient Roman wall rising sharply in the background.
The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye is one of the most other-worldly landscapes that Scotland has to offer. When walking the Skye Trail, it’s right at the beginning of a whopping 29km stage, so we’d made a fairly early start that day. That meant we were in the right place at the right time (and lucky with the weather, of course) to witness the wonderful morning light break over the ridge.
The great little path contours evenly around the ridge at this spot, and my friend Dave ahead provided the ‘human element’ and a sense of the scale. About 8 hours of walking later, we arrived at the other end of the Trotternish Ridge, exhausted, but with a fantastic sense of achievement.
The Coast to Coast is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most inspiring walking routes, stretching the width of England from the Irish Sea on the west coast to the North Sea on the east. With deep green valleys and high windswept ridges, spectacular scenery covers the entirety of the route.
This was one of my first long-distance walks, undertaken while I was at secondary school. What you can’t see in this picture are the five grumpy teenage girls, stressed about exams, dragging their feet and being coaxed along by optimistic parents. Wallowing in youthful rebellion, it was hoods up and headphones in for the first few hours. However, it wasn’t long until we were all completely won over by the restorative power of these wild landscapes and the shared achievement of long-distance walking – and one of the group has since hiked all 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail!
The Dingle Way has previously been named the most beautiful walk in Ireland and no wonder! The trail offers spectacular sea views, as it skirts around the Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head. One of the most memorable sights during my time walking on the Dingle Way was the scenery from the base of Mount Eagle. This section of the trail between Dingle and Dunquin, the most westerly tip of the Dingle Peninsula, incorporates beautiful tranquil beaches and impressive vistas towards the rough North Atlantic sea from the mountainside.
On my right, I had bright green Irish fields dotted with sheep and summer fuchsias. On my left, expanding views towards the coast and an impossibly wild blue ocean. The unique shape of seamounts at Dunquin pier, with the beautiful Blasket Islands in the distance, makes for undeniably dramatic photo opportunities.
The John Muir Way is Scotland’s answer to Wainwright’s Coast to Coast. Stretching from the rugged west coast to the flat coastal plains in the east, the trail takes walkers on a journey through Scotland’s stunning heartland and reveals secrets of the country’s industrial and cultural heritage along the way.
This photograph was taken at Preston Mill on the edge of East Linton – a quaint agricultural town on the North Berwick to Dunbar section of the trail – on a hot summer’s day. I spent the morning walking through beautiful rolling countryside and, just as I was getting hungry, I stumbled upon this quiet scene. It was the perfect place for a peaceful picnic. After lunch, I enjoyed exploring the mill – one of the oldest in Scotland – and left knowing a little bit more about Scotland’s rich history.
This photo was taken on the central section of the Pennine Way between Dufton and Garrigill, one of the hardest days on the entire Pennine Way. We had reached the highest point of the day at Cross Fell and were starting to make our descent towards Garrigill when we came to Greg’s Hut, England’s highest bothy.
At this moment we stood and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings as the North Pennines created a beautiful backdrop with not another soul in sight. With nothing but rolling hills around us, we couldn’t help but stop and admire the view.
The ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ viewpoint at the peak of Corstorphine Hill offers spectacular views across the Firth of Forth and of the iconic Arthur’s Seat. This is where walkers of the John Muir Way gain their first glimpse of the city of Edinburgh and this peaceful nook is a relaxing place to contemplate the journey that led them there.
This tranquil green space doesn’t feel like the centre of Scotland’s bustling capital city but you do need to keep an eye out for the zebras, ostriches and antelopes that may appear in the zoo just a few metres behind you.
My favourite stretch of the South Downs Way is the clifftop roller-coaster over the last section to Eastbourne. Here, you are treated to chalky cliffs gleaming in brilliant white and panoramic views across the English channel.
The iconic lighthouse at Beachy Head is over a hundred years old and has long been a welcoming beacon to sailors and a patriotic emblem to those returning from the two World Wars.
Absolute Escapes offer self-guided walking holidays on dozens of spectacular trails around UK & Ireland. Our award-winning packages include hand-picked accommodation, daily baggage transfers, guidebook/map, and everything you’ll need to enjoy a wonderful walking adventure.