I have never used trekking poles before. What are your opinions on trekking poles compared to a hiking staff or no pole(s) at all?
I'm not a wobbly person so personally I wouldn't want anything in my hands while hiking. The only thing that might cause me to change my mind would be if the Cotswold paths were slippery with mud because of a lot of rain and then I probably would seek out paved paths--I don't like mud.
If you are unsteady or otherwise need 'em, then take 'em. Many hikers haul 'em regardless of need...apparently a required accessory.
If you regularly hike without them, there is no need to start now. Count yourself lucky!
I have vertigo (lack of balance) and creaky old knees, and could not do the hikes we love (strenuous hikes on steep rocky trails, with 2500+ feet of gain and loss) without them. But for easy paths and pavement I leave them behind.
The Cotswold paths can be very muddy---at least the part I walked. Boots with lugged, non-slip soles are pretty much essential. The pub where we stopped for lunch had little covers to slip on over muddy boots before entering. (Some people just removed their boots and changed to hut slippers they carried, as they would when entering their hotel or B and B). Be sure to observe whatever etiquette is expected.
Trekking poles are most beneficial walking hilly terrain. Poles help reduce the load on lower body when used on uphill grades. Pole motion for uphill walking is much the same way as the cross country skiing diagonal stride technique.
Poles are even more of a help on decents where the poles can be use to reduce the impact load on legs/knees.
Adjustable poles are useful in both dialing in a comfortable length and in collapsing for travel.
Unless you have need of them, I would not carry them. To me, it is just something more to keep track of. As for me, I never felt the need for poles/staff on either of my two walking trips. I did wear nice waterproof, thick soled shoes, not boots. I never wear walking boots and did not want some just for these occasions. Also, they are quite heavy and did not want the add weight in my carry on. It is polite to remove shoes before entering B&B's and pubs.
Here's an article with a video link by "Backpacker" on why and how to use trekking poles:
Are Trekking Poles Necessary?
Trekking poles are not for every occasion.But, man, my poles sure
saved the day (and my knees and ankles) when I descended from the rim
of the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River.
While you will not do much of any scrambling in the Cotwolds, having carry straps on your pack are useful for the times you need both hands free.
I could not have hiked rim to rim in the Grand Canyon without poles. But that is a very different hike from the Cotswolds. If one has not used poles before, they may be more of a burden than a help in the Cotswolds.
Thank you for your opinions. In my much younger years, I hiked the Grand Canyon as Edgar did without trekking poles. I don't even remember what I used as a pack. I just slept on the ground without a tent. I was an ignorant, very poor college student.
I am an avid dog walker with my pooch in pancake-flat Florida.
I think I will forego the trekking poles. If I really need them, I can buy them n England.
If you decide to purchase in England, check with charity shops. Oxfam, Cancer Research, British Red Cross and many others. Or, you might donate your pair, if you do decide to purchase.
When we walked the Cotswold Way we started in Chipping Campden, when we reached Broadway we both had dinner at the pub, then went and bought walking sticks. Neither of us have trouble walking, but let me tell you that on some of the very, very steep incline and descends it was good having the walking sticks. Especially on Cleeve Hill, it is a very rough very steep incline, beautiful once you get to the top.
I agree that it's not worth the effort to take any with you. If you feel the need, buy there and donate when you leave. I've used both and personally I prefer a walking stick to the trekking poles. For some reason I like to have at least one hand free when hiking. Most of other seniors I know or have seen walking or hiking seem to like the trekking poles. I guess it's just a personal preference.
These days I am a very "wobbly" hiker. I found no need for any type of poles in Cotswold. I really enjoyed the hikes.
I hike with one hiking stick; it helps steady me and helps my knees (they are not too bad, but can get a little finicky) on downhills. Where it came in most handy when walking in the Cotswolds was on a long day (17 miles); it just gave me a little more support as I tired. I recall that we rented them through the company we used for our self-guided tour (Cotswold Walks). As an older women I met while hiking in California told me years ago, "get them BEFORE your knees go."
Robin: "...some of the very, very steep incline and descends it was good having the walking sticks."
161.1 Km (100.1 miles)
4,402 m (14,442 ft) ascent
309 m (1,014 ft) maximum height
See above link for profile diagram. A lot of up and down.
Narrative description of the path:
Section 8 as an example:
Birdlip to Painswick - 8.6 miles (13.9 Km)
From Birdlip, the Trail passes through magnificent semi-natural beech
woodlands and on to Coopers Hill, the site of the annual
cheese-rolling event. The route then emerges onto the common land and
golf course of Painswick Beacon, where the ramparts of an Iron Age
hill fort can be clearly seen. The section then ends in the
picturesque town of Painswick, the mid-point of the Cotswold Way.
You descend twice as far as you climb on this section, with 590 feet
(180 metres) of ascent and 1066 feet (325 metres) of descent.
From Winchcombe to Cleeve Hill is an ascent of 1082 feet (330 meters) and 476 feet (145) of descent.
Cleeve Hill is the highest part of the Cotswold Trail.
You may best answer your title question by trying poles and no poles on your training walks. Try poles and no poles on both flat training walks and on hill walking. The hill training and back to back distance days will also be a good test of your boots, socks and packs. Another good prepatory test is to walk on rain days.
Are their any hill in your neck of Florida? A number of years ago we encountered a couple of Floridians in Northern California riding a qualifying brevet for the Paris-Brest-Paris bike ride. In anticipation of the Northern California hills they told us that did repeat spriints over a Florida freeway overpass.
We are at the highest point in Florida - a whopping 35 ft above sea level. We are safe from storm surge. Hills can be found a car ride North of here. We are good walkers and enjoy walking a lot on vacations. I did Arthur's seat in Scotland a few years ago and ascended Piper's path. Piper's path was much steeper than I anticipated and I had to lean forward and use my hands at one stretch.
I remember on bit of the path just before The Broadway Tower. The path narrows and runs along the side of a hill, not death defying by any means, but a bit worrying. A pole would have been very welcome here.
I completely agree with Laurel. I too remember the trail coming up to Broadway Tower, very, very narrow on the edge of a hill, it was a bit of a worry.