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When did hiking become cool?

When did hiking become cool?

When I hit my thirties (a little while ago I hasten to add) something ignited in me that had been dormant since I passed my driving test a long way back; the urge to walk.

I don’t mean between tube stations or boozers, I mean walking for walking sake; in the open air; as an experience in its own right. I had assumed that it was a pastime reserved solely for those over the age of fifty with more time on their hands, but it appears that I was wrong and far from alone in my new found hobby.

The new holiday…?

I have seen a noticeable increase in the number of similarly aged clients (and younger) who’ve swapped their holidays lounging by the pool, with an inspiration self-help book in one hand and a continental lager in the other, for a trek in remote Northern Scotland or an out of season trip traversing the French Alps.

Long days summiting tors with lungs of fresh air have replaced long nights on the dance floor with lungs full of fake smoke.

But when did it become cool? 

My phone has even started targeting me with ads from high end designer brands creating hiking ranges – Bally and Gant to name but a couple. All of this has got me thinking; when did hiking become cool?

One major aspect of this shift seems to me to be a move away from the pubs and clubs culture to a younger generation of people who are more aware of incorporating fitness and self-care into their routine.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that pubs can still be busy, but in my group of mates from our late teens to mid twenties if we weren’t at work then we were frighteningly likely to be somewhere no more than three meters from a beer pump.

We pretty much only left the company of a bar person from Friday nights to Sunday afternoons to sleep and (sometimes) eat.

The notion of a visit to your local Virgin Active or an early morning run never really entered our heads. Thankfully, this seems to be a less prominent lifestyle choice these days, potentially due to a greater awareness of health benefits associated with more exercise, or maybe just because of a sharp increase in the cost of a pint.

Another suggestion could be that the several periods of lockdown forced people away from more urban activities such as shopping, the cinema or eating out.

Additionally, having spent a great deal more time indoors, there was an urge from many to seek more space – open horizons, vast expanses and views that stretch beyond the queues for the local Tesco Express.

For some it may have started as a casual stroll around the park and progressed into a full-on jaunt across moors and meadows. For others it may be that they couldn’t get on board with the running fad and this seemed like the next best thing.

Or alternatively, I wonder if everything that we mocked our parents for is actually now coincidentally becoming cool; New Balance trainers, houseplants, sandals and socks and now walking for pleasure.

Or maybe it’s just a chastening sign that I myself am morphing into my parents, and none of this is actually cool at all.


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