The Two Car Method of Walking

Published 16 April 2014. Last updated 30 June 2014

Car parked up near the sea in Iceland

When I was walking the Dales Way, I met a couple who were also walking the route. They had some strange items with them – two cars.

First thing after breakfast they’d drive to their destination in both cars. They’d leave one car there, and then drive the other to the start of their walk. There they would park up, and then walk all day to the other car. Then they’d drive back to where they’d left the first car, before both driving to their B&B.

On the day I met them they’d stayed in the same B&B as me at Sedbergh. They were actually a day behind me on walking, but hadn’t been able to get accommodation so had decided to spend two nights at Sedbergh instead. But even so, first thing in the morning they had to drive from Sedbergh to Ribblehead in one car, leave it walk to Sedbergh. Once back in the town they’d then have to get the second car, drive back to Ribblehead, pick up the other car and then drive back to Sedbergh.

A quick look at Google Maps give an estimated driving time of about 40 minutes between the two, each way. So by the time they’d done all their car trips, that would be an extra two hours added on to their day. Their next day of hiking from Sedbergh to Burneside would, at least, be quicker, coming in at 60 minutes in total. But still, it seemed an extraordinarily faffy way of walking a multi-day trail.

Funnily enough, they’re the only couple I’ve ever seen walk a walk this way. Every now and then you may find someone with some vehicle support – whilst on the Coast to Coast we saw two women who walked by themselves every day, meeting their partners in the evening who had driven to the same place with their luggage – but almost everyone else has simply got themselves to the start of the walk, set off each day and simply arrived at their destination.

Maybe for some long distance walkers, the two car method makes sense – it certainly has benefits for day walks – but it takes some of the magic out of the journey for my money. I love arriving in a new place, taking a look around in the evening before rocking up at a new pub and settling in for a few hours with a pint. It’s what really sets long distance walking apart. No, you won’t get me doing it by car.

Besides, I don’t actually own one car, yet alone two.



23 August 2019 at 10:14 am

I’m actually currently in the process of trying to figure out the logistics of using two cars to walk Hadrians Wall. My friend and I cant afford to use a baggage company so we are looking to hike/camp but the current camping kit we have isn’t for backpacking so we are looking to do a sort of leap-frog. It will make the days longer yes but could also save us a couple of hundred pounds so there is that. Fingers crossed it works!

kevin green

24 January 2022 at 1:12 am

2 estate cars is the way to go with a air mattress or folding matress/chair in each car you get one person to pick you up once after parking the 1st car then home for the second car and just shuffle round each of the 2 cars each day (ie sleep in each one alternative nights as your tent means to walk light daily) while you replan your days walking route….Can theoretically do this for weeks without returning home of you wish and also, in theory, could do this yr round periodically going home in just the one car til whenever you want to go the next whole days walk just keep rerouting around whatever cars parked wherever works out ideal for the highlands.

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