Newsletter > Newsletter archive > April 2014

April 2014

Routes to happy navigation
MRT courseA couple of weekends ago we took advantage of the warm spring weather – oh so welcome – to try out the latest SatMap 12 GPS device. As it happens there isn’t that much to report about the new toy, apart from the fact that the new screen is indeed much better in bright sunlight. However the exercise did remind us that it had been some time since we last updated our ‘Choosing a GPS’ article, a regularly visited feature of the Walkingworld website.

There has been steady change in the world of GPS, particularly in terms of connecting to the internet and the rise of smartphone apps rather than dedicated GPS devices. But as with so much relating to technology in the outdoors, people’s essential needs have stayed much the same – basically we want to know where we are and where to go next. Several years ago we suggested that there are five key criteria for choosing a GPS. Looking back at the article we reckon those criteria still stand, so we have left them just as they are and simply brought up to date the information about the different kinds of GPS device on the market. The article not intended as a definitive guide but to give you some pointers if you are thinking of buying a GPS for the first time or changing what you currently use.

Of course there are plenty of good reasons not to bother with a GPS at all, as in almost all cases a map and compass are perfectly adequate for safe navigation in the British countryside. At Easter we ran some single day courses in basic hillwalking skills in conjunction with Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team, with all the proceeds going to the team. The format seemed to go down very well, with everyone enjoying the day and picking up useful new skills. We’ll be setting up some new courses, priced at £45 per person per day,starting in late May or early June. Please contact us if you are interested and we’ll get back to you once we have finalised dates with the team.

Village to Village walking in the Pyrenees
Mountain sceneThis self guided holiday from Hike Pyrenees explores the tranquil villages of the Spanish Pyrenees. Each day's hike is in superb scenery and you get a real sense of journey as you head up the valley into higher mountains each day. You’ll stay at charming family run hotels with great food in small traditional Pyrenean villages with narrow winding streets centred around medieval churches.

Each day there is the choice of an easier and a harder route with the longer options getting well up into the high mountains. Maps and detailed route descriptions are provided. The folk from Hike Pyrenees meet with you on the first evening to talk through the week and answer any questions you may have. Your luggage is moved each day meaning you just have to walk with a small daypack.

Prices start from £699 which includes 7 nights full board accommodation. Read the full itinerary on the Hike Pyrenees website to find out more or give them a call on 0208 123 5049.

Walking in South Tyrol
Landschaft“The views from the top of the Rittnerhorn and the Weisshorn were fabulous and we were staggered by the Bletterbach Canyon, though we enjoyed the sublime Alpine meadows and the gentle sound of the tinkling cow bells just as much.”

There are few mountain ranges anywhere that capture the imagination quite like the Dolomites in South Tyrol, where walkers are constantly surprised by the variety and splendour of the landscapes which encompass eight nature reserves and one national park.

On Inntravel’s self-guided walking holidays here, the routes are challenging, yet hugely rewarding, and provide countless opportunities for exploration on foot: moving from hotel-to-hotel through The Valleys & Villages of the Dolomites or amid The High Dolomites; or walking out each day from a single base to discover The Traditions of South Tyrol.

For more details on Inntravel’s walking holidays in South Tyrol, see inntravel.co.uk or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.

Traditions of South Tyrol
- Single-centre, self-guided walking holiday
- Prices from £690pp, inc 7 nights’ half-board accommodation, detailed route guides & maps, travel pass plus 1 day’s cycle hire
- Flights extra (direct from several UK regional airports)
- Available from 31 May to 18 October 2014

Presentation on tick disease
Walkers and group organisers can now access a quick presentation to inform members about the risk from ticks carrying a dangerous virus in Europe. 'Protect Yourself from Tick Borne Encephalitis in Europe' is available on the Tick Alert website and focuses on travel between spring and early autumn to the 27 countries where TBE is endemic. It shows how the disease is contracted, explains the serious symptoms that can arise and what to do to protect against TBE, which is a viral disease contracted from the bite of an infected tick. www.tickalert.org

Summer events
Kendal venueKendal Mountain Festival - On The Edge takes place on 26-27 July in the heart of the Lake District. Based at the Sticklebarn venue in Langdale, KMF On The Edge promises a programme of films, guest speakers and live music.  There will also be guided walks and outdoor activities with National Trust Rangers and selected providers. There’s camping and other accommodation close by but with limited space at the venue the organisers are advising people to book early. One of the major attractions will be the choice of films. “Each November we show the best films from the year, but at an event like this we can delve into our back catalogue and screen our all-time favourites plus we’ll add a few new surprises in there too!”, says KMF Director Clive Allen. More at www.mountainfest.co.uk/ontheedge

This year, the Council for British Archaeology’s ‘Festival of Archaeology’ is taking place from the 12th-27th July. The CBA have a record number of events signed up with over 1,000 nationwide, including excavation open days, behind-the-scenes tours and workshops, guided walks, talks and finds identifications, family fun days, and quite a lot more. At some you can get your hands dirty and do some real excavation. To see what is happening near you visit the festival website. www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk

Charity walks
The annual summer St Basils Charity Walk Challenge takes place in a different part of the UK every year. This year’s walk is taking place on Saturday 14th June around the Forest of Dean. To accommodate both ardent walkers who want a robust challenge and people who do very little exercise but still want to take part, there are two walks on offer at 26 miles and 13 miles. The shorter route is very achievable for people who don’t do much long distance walking and there are plenty of energy boosting treats on route to help at the staffed check points. St Basils is asking you to join in the fun and register a team to help prevent youth homelessness. www.stbasils.org.uk/walk

The Leukaemia Busters ‘Purbeck Odyssey’ Charity walk takes place on Sunday 18 May, with walks from 2 – 26 miles to suit everyone. Visit the website

The West Midlands Step Out event, raising money to help with those affected by stroke,also  on the 18th May is at Kings Heath Park, Birmingham, starting at 11am. The course at Kings Heath is suitable for those of different walking abilities and ages  - you can even take part walking your dog. There is also a family fun day including bouncy castle, arts and crafts, face painting and much more. Registration is just £5 and there is no minimum sponsorship. www.stroke.org.uk/stepout

Long distance path updates
The White Rose Way, a 104 mile walking trail from Leeds to Scarborough, was devised and written over a long and footsore Summer of 2011 by local author, Paul Brown. Published in April 2012, the walk approaches its second anniversary having exceeded all expectations in terms of popularity. According to Paul the finish line at the Tourist Information Centre in the South Bay at Scarborough has seen many a happy walker posing in triumph for photographs at the finish line plaque, having travelled through Harewood, Wetherby, Tadcaster, York, Stamford Bridge, Malton, Thornton le Dale, the North York Moors National Park and the Scarborough coast. The book is available from the White Rose Way website at £7.99 + p&p. www.whiteroseway.co.uk

Alan Curtis is just back from the Isle of Wight coastal path walk and notes that diversions and no go areas have added about ten miles to the coastal path. “There is a great deal of damage to the path and in areas the paths are either closed completely or the path has disappeared on to the beach. Care is needed to ensure you don't venture too close to the edge of weather worn cliff tops. It would be a good idea to check with locals about the area you are walking, as often the path closures are not clear until you reach them, meaning you often retreat several miles to find a diversion. Also some stairways from the beach are in a dangerous state and could be a problem for older walkers.”

Tina Irving reports that progress on The North Highland Way is gathering pace and the Friends of the North Highland Way has now been launched. The first Medal Routes hub on the Way is at the Dunnet Head tearooms which is now open for business.  The cosy bed and breakfast offers great accommodation for walkers and there is a wide range of accommodation all along the north coast.  There is a new guide book available which includes information about the Way. It is available on subscription; the next issue is due out in July. www.letsgonorth.com

The Heartbleed bug
You may have heard about Heartbleed, a bug that affects a security technology called OpenSSL and risks revealing private information on some websites. Walkingworld is not directly affected by Heartbleed. However if you have used the same password for Walkingworld as for other websites that may have been compromised, you may wish to change it. To do this, log in and click 'Change my details' at the top of the page. Your Walkingworld password can be anything between 6 and 10 characters, with a mixture of letters and numbers.