A Guide to Our Self Guided Walking Holidays in Great Britain and Ireland
At Contours Walking Holidays, we know how important your holiday is and we want you to understand and enjoy every element of it before you set off for your walk. We arrange holidays for customers who return year after year, but for those who are new to Contours Walking Holidays, we hope that the following guide will answer any queries that you may have.
Choosing a Self-Guided Walking Holiday
You can start your holiday on any date that you choose within the season. Details of the season for each holiday can be found on the tour description page of our website.
All of our walking holidays are available from spring to late autumn (March - October), but many are available during the winter months too.
Please be aware that if your holiday coincides with a public Bank holiday, availability of accommodations becomes very limited very quickly. During these times it is advisable to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
Our team at Contours Walking Holidays are on hand to advise of availability throughout the season. If you have some dates in mind, but are concerned about availability, give us a call on +441629 821 900 (from outside UK), 01629 821 900 (from within UK) or email email@example.com.
We offer a wealth of different trails across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. With a wide choice of itineraries for each trail, there is something for everyone, but if you need help choosing, our friendly team will be more than happy to advise you. Just call +441629 821 900 (from outside UK), 01629 821 900 (from within UK) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you have chosen your holiday, you can send your booking to us in a number of ways. For details on how to make your booking, visit How to Book.
Once a booking is made and you have received your Holiday acknowledgement, our dedicated team set about making the arrangements for your walk. Each accommodation is hand selected and each holiday is tailored to suit your own requirements.
If you wish to make changes to your booking prior to the due date for final payment, we will do everything we can to help, but please be aware that we charge an administrative fee of £40 per person to make the necessary alterations.
If you wish to make changes after the final payment has been made, please see our Booking Conditions for details of charges.
If you choose to add another person to your party after making your initial booking, this will be considered a change to the booking and will incur a charge. Please be aware that we cannot always guarantee that there will be availability for additional people in the accommodations we have booked for you. If you wish to add a person to your booking, please contact us to discuss your requirements and we will do our utmost to help.
We often receive requests from individuals and groups who wish to surprise another walking party by joining them for all or part of their walk. While we would encourage all of our customers to share their experience with their friends and family members, we also have to respect the privacy of each of our customers. For this reason, please do not be offended when we refuse to disclose the details of another customer’s holiday. We do not wish to hinder your surprise, but are required by the UK Data Protection Acts of 1984 and 1998 to follow strict security procedures. With the permission of all parties involved, we would be more than happy to assist two parties who wish to join each other on one of our walks.
When we have received your booking and deposit, we will send you a ‘Holiday Acknowledgement.’ This acknowledgement acts as recognition that we have received your booking and that our team have begun processing your walking holiday. You can expect to receive your holiday acknowledgement within five working days.
Your Holiday Acknowledgement contains lots of important information, including a summary of your itinerary, an invoice, your unique booking ID and our booking conditions. It is important that you read through this information carefully and check that your itinerary, room requirements, as well as your starting dates, are exactly as you are expecting. Mistakes occur rarely, but are most easily rectified when spotted early on. In the unlikely event that there is an error with your itinerary, please contact us immediately, quoting your booking ID. We will then make the necessary adjustments and send a corrected version.
Our dedicated team will now begin to make the arrangements for your self-guided walking holiday. This involves speaking to accommodations, making reservations and arranging your luggage transfers. We will not contact you until we send out your holiday pack, allowing you to relax and look forward to your walk.
In a small number of cases, difficulties may arise in securing accommodation for your holiday. If this becomes the case, we will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Preparing for Your Walking Holiday
With your holiday in the hands of our team, you can now sit back and prepare for your walk. Contours Walking Holidays are always on hand to answer any questions you may have in the time leading up to your holiday, but here are some of the common queries that we often assist our customers with. If you still have queries, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling +1629 821 900 (from outside the UK), 01629 821 900 (from within the UK) or by emailing email@example.com
Contours Walking Holidays are not responsible for getting you to and from the start or end of your walk, but we are more than happy to assist you in your planning. Your holiday pack will provide information on how to get to and from the start or end of your walk by public transport.
The following websites are particularly useful for finding travel information:
If you plan to travel by car, it is usually possible to leave it at the guesthouse or hotel at the start or at the end your walk. Some accommodations have parking facilities and may be happy for you to park your vehicle for the duration of your holiday for a small cost. If you would like us to make enquiries about parking, please contact us and we will be happy to advise.
We are often asked whether it is possible to have a list of the accommodations where you are staying throughout your holiday.
Each accommodation is carefully selected by our team to suit your individual requirements. This means that we do not know where you will be staying until your booking has been submitted, your holiday acknowledgement received and our team have checked availability.
While we understand your eagerness to find out your accommodations, we do not provide this information until it is sent to you in your holiday pack, four weeks prior to the start of your walk.
We endeavour to book accommodations as soon as possible after receiving your booking. This means that reservations are often made many months in advance. On rare occasions, unforeseen circumstances mean that we have to cancel or change a reservation, which would make any prior list of accommodations sent to you inaccurate.
To prevent this and the confusion that this would cause our customers, we only provide our customers with a finalised list of accommodation when they receive their holiday packs, four weeks prior to the start of their walk.
It is important to us that our walkers are comfortable, enjoying themselves and above all, safe, while on one of our self-guided walking holidays. It is therefore essential that you have suitable equipment.
To help you to prepare for your upcoming walk, we have created a kit list of items that you may wish to take on your walking holiday. This is not an exhaustive list, but should give you an idea of the items that you may find necessary. The items highlighted in bold are essential.
|Walking boots||Should be in good condition. Ensure that you have worn them a few times before the start of your holiday to avoid blisters.|
|Waterproof jacket with hood||Brighter colours are a good safety measure as they are more easily noticed in poor conditions.|
Waterproof over trousers
|Small Daysack||Of around 20-30L - big enough to take your waterproofs, packed lunch, drink, camera etc|
|Water bottle||Or themos flask if you prefer hot drinks|
|Personal first aid kit|
|Thick socks||Synthetic/wool mix loop stitch socks provide the best cushioning|
|Liner socks||Useful for 'fine-tuning' the fit of your boots|
|Trousers||Polycotton or artificial fibre trousers or 'jogging pants'|
|T-shirts||Ideally made of 'wicking' synthetic fibres|
|Shirts||Ideally made of 'wicking' synthetic fibres|
|Warm fleece or woollen pullover||Breathable fabrics like Goretex or Sympatex improve comfort levels|
|Daysac liner||A large plastic bag or 'bin' liner is ideal|
|Camera and films|
A copy of this checklist is included in your Holiday Pack.
Your remaining balance will be indicated on your invoice, along with the date it is due to be paid. Payment of this balance must reach us at least six weeks before the start of your holiday.
You can pay an outstanding balance by visiting the Member’s Area of our website. Here, you will be prompted to enter your name and booking ID, which will give you access to the Member’s Area, where there is a variety of information that you may find useful. Simply click on the 'balance payments' link on the right hand side of the page and enter your payment details securely.
If the balance for your holiday is not paid in time, we reserve the right to cancel your holiday, retain your deposit and apply a late payment fee of £40 per person to cover the extra administrative costs of rebooking your holiday. Late Payment will also delay your Holiday Pack.
Our system will automatically notify you when your balance is due, about seven weeks before your walk is due to commence. At this stage, you can either visit the Balance Payments area of our website, or ring our office and we will be happy to process your payment over the telephone. If you believe that you have received a reminder for payment in error, please contact us and we will investigate this further.
Making Separate Balance Payments for Group Bookings
If you are walking as part of a large group, you may wish to pay your portion of the balance separately. This can be done easily by visiting the Member’s Area of our website. Simply enter the booking ID, along with the surname of the group leader. You can then enter the amount that you would like to pay, followed by your card details.
Alternatively, you can call our office on +44 1629 821 900 (from outside the UK), 01629 821 900 (from within the UK) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Holiday Pack
The arrival of the Contours Walking Holidays Holiday Pack is the most eagerly anticipated moment besides leaving for your walk. Here you will receive all of the information you need to make your holiday a reality.
Each holiday pack is produced on an individual basis and is tailored to fit the requirements of your walk. It is put together by our experienced team and sent to you four weeks prior to the start of your walk.
We are often asked if we can send the holiday pack earlier than the specified four weeks. Unfortunately, we do not generate holiday packs earlier than this for the following reasons:
- At Contours Walking Holidays, we are keen for every customer to receive the same standard of service. One customer’s booking does not take priority over another and so we commit to sending each customer’s holiday pack within the same time frame of four weeks prior to the start of your walk.
- We endeavour to book accommodations as soon as possible after receiving your booking. This means that reservations are often made many months in advance. On rare occasions, unforeseen circumstances mean that we have to cancel or change a reservation, which would affect the accuracy of the information in our holiday packs. To prevent this and the confusion that this would cause our customers, we only produce the holiday packs when we have received all last-minute confirmations from the accommodations concerned.
If you book a ‘last-minute’ holiday (less than 6 weeks prior to departure), our team have to act quickly to finalise the arrangements for your walk. While we endeavour to send your holiday pack as soon as possible, please be aware that there may be slight delays as we work to bring you the best standard of information for your walking holiday.
Your holiday pack will be despatched by Recorded Delivery within the UK and by Airmail to guests booking from overseas.
Overseas customers should allow up to 14 days for delivery and if planning on departing 7 or more days before the start date of the holiday, should advise us immediately: we will then send the holiday pack to the accommodation at the start of your walk.
For customers who are not available to receive the postal version of their holiday pack at the allocated time of four weeks prior to the start of their walk, we are more than happy to send it to a different address, if one can be provided. Alternatively, we can send it to your first night’s accommodation for safe keeping until your arrival.
As well as the postal version, containing maps and guidebooks, all holiday packs will be sent electronically (where an email address has been given).
Every party who books a Contours Walking Holiday will receive our extensive Holiday Pack. In this pack, you will find all of the information you need to make your walk enjoyable and worry-free.
Maps and Guidebooks
Each holiday pack contains Ordnance Survey Explorer (1:23000) or Harvey map(s) that is relevant to your chosen walk and has been marked with the correct route. You will also receive a guidebook that describes the route in detail. Where guidebooks are unavailable for some walks, we provide route notes that thoroughly guide you along the route of your chosen trail.
Contours Walking Holidays will provide advice on getting to and from your holiday by public transport. This information is included in the holiday pack and can also be found on the ‘Travelling to your holiday’ section of our website.
A detailed, day-by-day itinerary will describe where you are staying each night. You will be given the name and address of your accommodation, as well as directions of how to get there and what kind of room to expect.
Some accommodations will ask for a phone call prior to your arrival. This enables them to prepare for you and to make you as welcome as possible. Where accommodations have provided specific instructions, we will include this on your itinerary. Please pay special attention to this advice, as this will ensure that you experience the best possible service on your walk.
Occasionally, you may be accommodated in the same hotel or B&B for more than one night, even though the accommodation is not in the correct location for your walk the next day. This is usually due to difficulties securing accommodation and we will organise transfers to and from the trail so that your walking route is not affected. Please look out for transfer instructions on your itinerary.
The cost of your holiday includes a traditional cooked or continental breakfast. Packed lunches and evening meals are not included, but your holiday pack will specify where you can obtain these.
If you have notified us of any dietary requirements, your accommodation will have been notified. However, in some instances, the accommodations may forget these requirements or fail to understand them. Contours Walking Holidays does everything we can to ensure that your accommodations are aware of your needs, but we also recommend telephoning your accommodation prior to your arrival to discuss your requirements.
A list of facilities along the trail will also be provided in the holiday pack or in your guide book. This will allow you to see, at a glance, where there are shops, banks, post offices and telephones along the route.
Please note that we make every effort to ensure that this information is up to date, but we cannot foresee the unexpected closure of any number of these facilities while you are on your walk. For this reason, we strongly suggest that you carry some food and drink with you as a back-up if the facilities are closed.
We transfer your luggage (one bag per person) from one accommodation to another. To make this process run smoothly and to ensure that no bags are left behind, it is important that your bags are recognisable as being from Contours Walking Holidays. You will receive one luggage label per walker (one bag per walker). Please attach this to your bag, along with your name, the name of your party and the number of bags in your party.
A comprehensive list of what to take with you is included in your holiday pack. Please use this to help you to be prepared and comfortable on your Contours Walking Holiday.
Emergency Contact Details
At Contours Walking Holidays, we are dedicated to giving you the most enjoyable walking holiday possible. In the event of an emergency, we will do everything that we can to help. Your holiday pack will provide contact numbers so that we are on hand to assist you throughout your walk.
In the highly unlikely event of Contours Walking Holidays going into insolvency, all passengers are fully insured against the loss of their money. Each customer will receive a unique serial number and their insurance certificates will be provided in the holiday pack.
Please note that this insurance is NOT a substitute for comprehensive travel insurance and we strongly suggest that you protect yourself and your equipment with a suitable insurance policy.
Contours Walking Holidays have launched an exclusive Member’s Area that can be accessed from our website. This area contains a variety of information to help you to prepare for your walk, including your feedback form, walking advice and much more. To access the member’s area, please enter your name and booking ID.
How Our Self-Guided Walking Holidays Work
Your long awaited holiday has arrived and mile upon mile of superb walking is awaiting you. We want your holiday to run as smoothly as possible, so here is our guide to how your holiday should work. If you are concerned that any element of your holiday is not as you had expected, please do not hesitate to contact our helpful team on +44 1629 821 900 (from outside the UK), 01629 821 900 (from within the UK) or email email@example.com.
Your holiday pack will contain the name and address of your first accommodation, as well as travel information on how to get there. When you arrive, you will be welcomed by your hosts and will have time to familiarise yourself with your map and guidebooks in preparation for your walk.
Your holiday pack will indicate check-in and check-out times for each of your accommodations. To ensure that your accommodation is fully prepared for your visit, please ensure that you arrive between the specified times. If you are unable to make the specified times, please telephone your accommodation to discuss this with them.
If you are arriving at an accommodation after a day of walking, please be courteous with regards to muddy boots and wet clothing. Accommodations often have facilities for drying clothes and storing boots and will be more than happy to help you.
After a restful sleep and a hearty breakfast, it is time to embark upon your walk.
Your holiday pack will contain a packing list, including items that we recommend you carry in your daysack such as waterproof clothing, hat, gloves, map(s), guidebook, holiday pack, camera, mobile phone, packed lunch, drinking water, first aid kit and any essential medication. Ensure that you are suitably equipped with these items before setting off. Your remaining luggage (one bag per person) must be left at your accommodation for transfer onto your next accommodation. Please see Baggage Transfers for further instructions.
Your map, guidebook (or route notes) and holiday pack will provide you with all of the directions needed to complete your walk. It is helpful to familiarise yourself with these so that no directions are missed. Please do not forget your holiday pack or put it away in your suitcase – this contains the directions to your accommodation and it can be very disheartening to reach the end of the trail without knowing where you are staying.
When you are happy that you have everything you need to complete the day ahead, you are ready to begin your walk.
At Contours Walking Holidays, we understand how important it is for your luggage to arrive safely at your next accommodation and without delay. To ensure the smooth transfers of your bags, please read the following instructions:
- Ensure that your luggage is contained within one bag weighing no more than 17kg (37lbs) and with nothing attached to it, including boots, shoes or plastic bags. This makes it very difficult for our baggage handlers to move and can lead to your luggage becoming damaged.
- Please label your bags with the luggage tags provided in your holiday pack. This will ensure that none of your bags are left behind.
- Make your luggage available for collection by leaving it in a suitable place, such as a reception area or porch. Your accommodation will be able to advise you of the most convenient location.
- Your luggage should be available for collection by 0930 hours. We will advise you in your itinerary if the collection time is different from this.
- You do not have to wait for your luggage to be collected before setting off on your walk. As soon as your bags are placed in a convenient location, you can leave for your walk.
- On most occasions, your luggage will appear to move silently and will be awaiting your arrival without any cause for concern. Very occasionally however, there may be delays due to poor weather, road works or a traffic accident. If your luggage has not been delivered by 1730 hours, please contact us and we will assist you.
Occasionally, your accommodation may be located further from the trail than we consider being walkable. Where this is the case, we provide transfers between your accommodation and the trail. Transfers involve being collected from the trail at an agreed location, being taken to your accommodation and returned to the trail again the following morning so that you can continue your walk from the same place. Please look out for transfer instructions in your holiday pack, as this will indicate the arrangements that we have made for you.
Where a taxi has been arranged for you, you will need to telephone the company to arrange a suitable time and location for you to be picked up. Your transfers have been booked and paid for in advance and the company will have your name on record. We use most of these companies on a regular basis, so many will be able to assist you in arranging a suitable location for collection.
Occasionally, your accommodation may have offered to transfer you to and from the trail. Where this is the case, this will be specified in your holiday pack.
Unless otherwise discussed and agreed, Contours Walking Holidays will have pre-arranged and paid for your transfers. You should not, therefore, be charged at any stage for this service. If you encounter the contrary, please contact us as soon as possible and we will clarify any misunderstandings.
At Contours Walking Holidays, we strongly advise that you carry a mobile phone at all times while you are walking. On all of our trails, you are likely to encounter intermittent coverage or complete loss of signal, but by following these sensible precautions, you can maximise the usefulness of your phone if an emergency should arise.
- Ensure that your mobile phone is fully charged – In case of emergency, your mobile phone can be used by the emergency services to trace your location. You may also find an area with network coverage to allow you to make an emergency phone call. While there is no guarantee that your mobile phone would be fully operational, by having it fully charged, you will increase the chances of alerting the emergency services.
- Enable GPS – Some mobile phones have GPS applications that are available to download. These may prove useful if the emergency services needed to trace you. Check the settings on your mobile phone or speak to your mobile phone manufacturer for information on GPS applications and how they work.
- ICE (In Case of Emergency) – Emergency service workers, including paramedics and mountain rescuers, will look for an emergency contact number in your mobile phone. To make this easy for them, store your next of kin’s contact number as ICE in your phonebook.
- Unlock your phone – The increasing need for securing our personal possessions has led to the use of passwords to lock your mobile phone. This prevents the emergency services from accessing your ICE contact. While walking, you may wish to consider removing your password or locking device. Alternatively, many types of mobile phones now allow access to ICE contacts without unlocking the phone. Speak to the manufacturer of your phone to find out if this is possible.
If you encounter a problem during your holiday, please let us know immediately. We will do everything that we can to resolve the problem. Our office is open Monday to Saturday 0900 to 1730 hours and we can be contacted by telephoning +44 1629 821 900 (from outside the UK), 01629 821 900 (from within the UK) and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every party will be provided with an Outside of office hours number. This number will be printed in your holiday pack and will provide you with an emergency contact if you encounter problems on your holiday and have been unable to reach our office.
We hope that our guide has helped you to understand our holidays and to answer any questions that you may have had. If you have questions that have not been covered by our guide, have a browse through our FAQs. If you still have questions, or would like to speak to someone, please telephone our office and one of our friendly team will be happy to speak to you. Call +44 1629 821 900 (from outside the UK), 01629 821 900 (from within the UK) or email@example.com