17 ways the middle class has ruined walking holidays

man walking on the phone mountains – Getty

Book a luxury walking holiday? Talk to yourself. Better yet, let Robert Louis Stevenson do it. As early as 1878, when he planned his he Trips with a donkey in the Cevennes, he wrote some wise advice on equipment and provisions for a trek.

“A sleeping bag … a bed at night, a trunk by day,” he advised, plus “a revolver, a small alcohol lamp and frying pan, a lantern and half-penny candles, a switchblade and a large leather water bottle. “

Gore Tex? Shmoretex! “The main load consisted of two whole changes of warm clothes,” she explained, “in addition to my country velvet travel wear, pilot jacket and knitted spencer.” So much for the designer trekking equipment. As for the high protein organic cereal bars, forget it – RLS has stocked up on “chocolate cakes and cans of Bolognese sausage … a cold leg of mutton, a bottle of Beaujolais, an empty bottle to carry the milk , an egg beater, and a considerable amount of black and white bread ”.

True, some things are better today. Luggage transfers, for example: Modestine, Stevenson’s recalcitrant beast of burden, was a compelling advertisement for the buttless game. But his journey – relying on local directions to navigate remote trails, with all the perks and pitfalls that come with it – was the real deal.

Walking holidays, I would say, are no longer what they used to be. Too soft, too popular, too gourmet, too elitist, too luxurious, even … middle class. Whose fault is it? Well, I – and, most likely, you too. Read on to find out if you’ve helped ruin the digressions …

1. Selfie awareness

“Move left, Sophie, so we can reach the top without the other 87 walkers being framed …” Paraphrasing the axiom of the sixties: if you didn’t write it, you weren’t there. This is the modern paradigm of the peaks of the middle class – and the hills are animated by the sound of the shutters of the snapping iPhones. Annoying to viewers, this selfie obsession can be downright dangerous for would-be influencers: Between 2011 and 2017, around 259 people died looking for extreme Insta posts.

2. Data roaming

True, that cross-eyed kid with his face welded to his smartphone while hiking isn’t actually posting on social media, but charting his own path turn by turn on the mapping app. Is it better or worse? Since he has already bumped into you blindly three times before lunch, it doesn’t matter … And with the intention of installing Wi-Fi on Kilimanjaro too, things can only get worse.

3. Trekking on TikTok

Seriously, it’s one thing. God, I wish it wasn’t.

4. Good advice

If you can’t walk half a mile without a podcast pumping motivation through your earphones or an uplifting classic pounding from portable speakers, stay on the treadmill. What’s wrong with an overwhelming rendition of “We’ll Go Around the Mountain”? All together now …

hiking holidays - Getty

hiking holidays – Getty

5. Reporting of virtue

How do you know if your friend has been on a walking holiday? They tell you – as they condescendly explain that this slower form of travel is the most authentic and sustainable. They’re not wrong, of course, just … smug and deeply, deeply annoying.

6. Torn paper

You also remember what a guide is was?

7. Terror bunk

A bijoux hut? How delicious, honey … but where’s the pillow menu? If you love the atmosphere of that cute alpine retreat, but can’t stand the idea of ​​sharing a dorm, you’re not alone. It’s ensuite just for us, ideally with rustic-chic decor, authentic local cuisine, and a well-stocked bar – it doesn’t matter that the demand for private rooms reduces space to everyone else …

8. Star Trek Appeal

Booking the Tour du Mont Blanc? It’s best to set the alarm for, ooooh, 2029. The increasingly ambitious nature of big-name (and large) excursions means demand far outstrips supply – even for those less ambitious dorms – and seats are booked months or years in advance. What happened to spontaneity? Thanks, social.

9. Pass the masters

When the line of hikers backed off on a narrow mountain path waiting to cross the pass is longer than the queue at a Waitrose deli counter, you know a trail has just become too popular.

trolltunga norway

trolltunga norway

10. Flat whites not flasks

The oatmeal latte at base camp was just right such a life saver. Too bad it costs £ 17.

11. No pain, no ache

“Pick up the pace, Jeremy, or we’ll be too late for the freshly crafted pain rustique at the farmers market …” You’re not just competing for space in the huts or on the trail – you start slowly and you may miss out on even sought-after delicacies. After all, Harriet next door said those little handmade Gruyère vol-au-vents are simply for to die for…

snacks croissants while hiking - Alamy

snacks croissants while hiking – Alamy

12. The sweet smell of excess

As the sun burns the morning mist from the alpine meadows, close your eyes, inhale deeply and absorb the timeless aromas of … is it Jo Malone? The time was that the predominant scents of walking were pine needles, midges and BO. Now, thanks to the baggage transfer, we can all enjoy twice-daily wardrobe changes and a wide selection of eaux de parfum. The drape of nature no longer …

13. Creeping Mission

When is a vacation not a vacation? When it is a CHALLENGE. Too many hikers seem to accept the mantra: if it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t work. Didn’t you climb twice the altitude of K2 at lunchtime? You should be ashamed. Hey, tough, it’s annual leave, not an audition for SAS: Who Dares Wins or a cameo on Free Solo.

14. Brief change

Conversely, how is 5km a “day hike”? Come on, folks, there are short stops and there is “I go over this to Pret every lunchtime”. In an effort to appeal to all visitors, some routes also pass for hikers by bus. You just have to do without it, honey – I mean, in reality get over it.

15. In sole discretion

In the past, walking boots were any color you liked as long as they were brown. There was plenty of choice, of course: you could choose a size 8, 8.5 or even 9. Today, color me bewildered with the dizzying range of brands and materials and shades and heights of the ankles and heels and toe widths and …

16. Put it inside

Ditto backpacks. Remember when North Face was the way to the top, not a ubiquitous outdoor fashion brand, and you were lugging that bulky canvas bag with its bulky metal frame, patched up with stitched Alpine badges? It may not have boasted seven colorways, an adjustable back system, integrated laptop sleeve, and hydration chamber, but by God it carried stuff and it looked the part.

17. I’m not kidding

Family walking holidays? Really?? Where’s the child catcher when you need him …

Have traditional walking holidays been ruined by the luxuries of the middle class? Or has the arrival of Gore-Tex and luxurious accommodations for hikers simply encouraged more of us to explore the great outdoors? Please leave your comments below.

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