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(Un) Marked Mountain Trails

After a recent trip to walk the Penine Way across Peak District I decided to write about marked/unmarked mountain trails.

I have been hiking in British mountains for quite a few years and there's something that I want to share with you. Something that hit me one day. Something that I realised.

Apart from British mountains, I have been hiking for most of my life in Europe. I've been to every mountain range in Poland and almost every mountain range in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria and many more.

Which brings me to the point of this post - mountain trails and their markings.

(Un) Marked Mountain Trails

Something that surprised me a lot when I started hiking in the English and Welsh mountains was that marked mountain trails are almost nonexistent...

This was sort of a shock to me as I have never been to mountains with no marked trails before.Wherever you go, whether it's Sudety in Poland or Alps in Germany or Switzerland there are ALWAYS marked mountain trails. And they're marked in different colours. Something that doesn't exist in Britain.

Here's an example photo I took in the Czech part of Karkonose mountains:

Marked trail in mountains

Everything clearly marked with directions and distances in Czech Republic (timings in Poland).

To make things even worse, I have never seen a sign on a mountain top with the mountain name on it - a given in all eastern European countries I've been to. And the marking, the signs...

British maps from Ordnance Survey are great. Very well designed and detailed. However, even with these maps, because of lack of markings on the routes, I can't imagine going into these mountains (especially if you haven't been to the place before) without GPS with maps loaded - I use a great app Viewranger.

I remember hiking in Polish mountains and sometimes we would complain that we couldn't see a sign on the route, in Poland I remember we had a sort of a "rule" that you would need to see the next sign from the current one, which happened sometimes. Now when I think about it, I'm full of respect for our people who mark the trails - fantastic job compared to non-existent signs in Britain.

And when you get into a difficult terrain (in countries like Poland) the signs are everywher. On the trees, on the rocks, or even on tall poles erected for people hiking in these mountains.

So maybe something for other countries to consider to make it easier for people to enjoy the mountains.