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Hillwalker or hiker ?

Hillwalker or hiker ?


Postby jaffa61 » Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:16 am

Anyone else notice the tendancy in the media to refer to hillwalkers as hikers lately ?
Seems like another Americanisation in our language.
Resist ! :roll: :wink:
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby al78 » Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:00 am

Is it? I see hiker as just another descriptive word, no relation to America. The UK tends to follow America in doing things badly.
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby WalkWithWallace » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:27 am

I don't think it's an Americanism per se, the word has been around for a long time, my auldman tells me all his hitchhiking stories from the 70s.

Think hiking/hiker sounds more interesting on Instagram these days. Plus folk are calling themselves explorers and adventurers now. 8)
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby iain_atkinson_1986 » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:35 am

Hmm...

To me hiking could be walking on trails whereas hillwalking is walking up hills. That being said "hike" also means to move up. I don't think it particularly matters tbh.

:lol:

I'd be more worried about being mistaken for a climber.
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby Glengavel » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:50 am

iain_atkinson_1986 wrote:Hmm...

To me hiking could be walking on trails whereas hillwalking is walking up hills. That being said "hike" also means to move up. I don't think it particularly matters tbh.

:lol:

I'd be more worried about being mistaken for a climber.


I'm clean shaven so no worries on that score.

Hiker is just about acceptable but rambler will provoke fisticuffs.
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby Sgurr » Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:43 am

Our car broke down once and we were helped out by a guy who kept asking us if we were going to Hawick, and we kept replying that it was too far, we hoped to get a lift. Eventually the penny dropped and we realised that Hawick is pronounced Hike.
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby Pastychomper » Mon Dec 07, 2020 11:02 am

WalkWithWallace wrote:Think hiking/hiker sounds more interesting on Instagram these days. Plus folk are calling themselves explorers and adventurers now. 8)

I like the idea of being an adventurer, presumably it involves eating chocolate every day until the 25th?
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby bootsandpaddles » Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:30 pm

Using the word hiking to refer to activities undertaken on foot in the countryside, whether up hill or down dale, is a relatively new phenomenon. I think it does originate in the US and I must admit that I don't like the term myself. According to my dictionary a hike is a long walk.
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby ChrisButch » Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:02 pm

bootsandpaddles wrote: I think it does originate in the US and I must admit that I don't like the term myself. According to my dictionary a hike is a long walk.


As usual, two countries divided by a common language....in the US, 'hiker' has more adventurous connotations than 'walker', which is usually understood as an amble round the park. As far as I know, there's no close US equivalent of 'hillwalker': either the term or, indeed, the concept. (Even in the UK it's not a familiar usage beyond its practitoners - hence the frequency with which the media, especially those south of the border, use 'climber' when reporting hillwaking accidents etc).
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby CharlesT » Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:03 pm

Hmmm...Hike is what my home insurer does to my premiums annually, so on the whole I dislike the term. :(

On the other hand my eldest daughter gave me a book published in 1934, see pictures below, where the term used is Tramping and those doing so were Tramps.
20201207_135312.jpg

20201207_135246.jpg


So, I have the option of being referred to as a Tramp or Tramper, which some might think quite fitting. :D
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby simon-b » Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:30 pm

I don't see a problem. Hill walking is hiking on hills, just as it is walking on hills, just as hiking is walking for recreation. Wainwright and his readers use(d) the word fellwalking as yet another alternative term for the activity.

The Oxford English Dictionary states the origin of the word hike as unknown. As for 'Americanisms' some of them are old English and perhaps some Scots words which have evolved out of modern British languages but persisted in the USA.
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby Skyelines » Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:34 pm

Our choice of words often relates to what we intend to convey to others about ourselves. It gives us the excuse to be a bit snobbish. :D
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby Sgurr » Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:26 pm

bootsandpaddles wrote:Using the word hiking to refer to activities undertaken on foot in the countryside, whether up hill or down dale, is a relatively new phenomenon. I think it does originate in the US and I must admit that I don't like the term myself. According to my dictionary a hike is a long walk.

If you look up "famous hikers" all are US, if you look up famous UK hikers you get a mix of shoe adverts and famous people who happen to like walking like Simon Armitage and Claire Balding. I think it is used more in the US than UK
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby Kinshusrst Kid » Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:53 pm

Simon-b is correct in his assertion that the origin of the word hiker is unknown.

The words hike and hiker are both in my 1968 copy of the 5th edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Hike is flagged as a colloquialism, with no indication that it is an Americanism . The noun Hike is defined as a long tramp in the country undertaken for pleasure or exercise or a walking tour.
The verb tramp comes from Middle English or possibly Germanic from Middle Low German. It would seem that to tramp would have been considered more sophisticated than to hike in the earlier half of the twentieth century.

Combinations of hill and walker are not to be found in that 1968 print. Nor are they to be found in my 1959 reprint of the 1942 edition of the Pocket Oxford Dictionary.

It is possible that hill walking and hill walker were terms that were little used in the first half of the twentieth century. Hike was, however, recognized as a colloquialism and so was probably reasonably well used.

Hill walker appears to be the modern intruder possibly becoming used more commonly in the latter part of the last century.
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Re: Hillwalker or hiker ?

Postby ChrisButch » Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:02 pm

Although 'hike' and 'hiker' don't appear in the original (late 19thc.) Oxford English Dictionary, they do appear in the Supplement.
This gives the first recorded use of 'hike' in this sense as early as 1809, in a letter by Samuel Wesley. ("We must contrive one more pull at Surry before I hyke over to Staffordshire.")
However, 'hiker' isn't recorded until a century later,, in the Daily Express of May 24th 1927 ("... most of these are solitary hikers, who carry all their kit with them").
The OED states the origin as 'obscure'.
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