Newsletter > Newsletter archive > August 2013
High time for a festival
We can hardly complain about this year’s summer weather. It’s been very pleasant right across the country. Some may have wished for a heatwave but long days of warm sunshine interspersed with the occasional shower and a light breeze is, for many of us, pretty much the definition of the ideal British summer.
The undergrowth on many footpaths has been equally happy and the nettles, brambles and grasses have enjoyed a phase of rampant growth. There has been lots of feedback in the past few weeks about footpaths being so overgrown they have become impassable. It’s tough for landowners and councils to keep up but it’s worth reporting difficult conditions on council websites, as they will eventually get round to clearing the way. In the meantime we strongly recommend long trousers, even on hot days, and perhaps a pair of waterproof overtrousers to slip on in an emergency. A stout stick can be a good idea too. If you can fight your way through you are doing a valuable service for the walkers who follow you.
Meanwhile autumn is just around the corner, when many communities put on walking festivals to help extend their tourism season. These events can be fantastically good value, with volunteers giving their time to reveal little known facets of the environment and history of their local area. Just one example can be found at Corwen, a small Welsh town that many of us will have passed straight through on the A5 to Snowdonia and not really given a second thought to. At the Corwen Walking Festival, taking place on the 31st August and 1st September, a Cold War bunker is the highlight of one of the guided walks. The bunker, built in 1965 by the Ministry of Defence and intended to house two members of the Royal Observer Crops in the case of nuclear attack, is hidden away on private land and so is usually inaccessible to walkers. It’s the sort of special addition that makes these festivals worthwhile. (The Corwen Festival organisers are pictured above)
Walk around the world?
The Walk Around the World in 80 Days challenge does seem a little pointless but perhaps that doesn’t matter. The idea is for UK walkers to declare a combined distance equivalent to the circumference of the earth - almost 25,000 miles. Any walk counts, so you can log the Walkingworld routes you do on their online declaration form. It's early days in the challenge and they’re not doing too badly, with nearly 300 walkers having covered over 1700 miles. But clearly there’s still a long way to go before the challenge ends on the 14th October.
As part of this challenge forty free walking advice events have been scheduled at Go Outdoors stores throughout the country. Some of these took place earlier this month but there are still quite a few during September. Apparently you can also buy small furry mammoths in support of Mountain Rescue. You can find out more on the Go Outdoors website.
In the foothills of the Himalayas
Imagine waking to the sight of snow-capped Himalayan peaks as far as the eye can see – a cacophony of birdsong coming from the forest below, where wisps of smoke pinpoint your next night’s stay? On an Inntravel walking holiday in the Himalayan foothills of northern India, your guides – who all come from local villages – will show you such panoramic vistas while taking you from one authentic village to the next. Walking at your pace, they will introduce you to the wildlife of the forest and the customs and traditions of mountain communities along the way.
Inntravel’s featured holiday this month, Encounters in Secret India, is a 16-night adventure that starts in Delhi then explores the spectacular Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary in the remote Kumaon Hills and the Tibetan influenced Saryu and Pindar Valleys, before ending with an elephant safari in search of tigers in the Corbett National Park, a truly unforgettable experience…
For more information on inspiring, community-based walking holidays in the Indian Himalaya, take a look at Inntravel’s website (www.inntravel.co.uk), or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.
Encounters in Secret India
• Privately guided, village-to-village walking holiday
• Prices from £2625pp, inc 16 nights’ B&B accommodation, 14 dinners & 13 lunches, detailed information packs, plus return connecting flights Heathrow-Delhi and rail/car transfers in India
• Available 12 October-10 December 2013, 15 March-15 May & 12 October-10 December 2014
This year’s Midnight Walk in aid of St Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham takes place on Saturday 12 October 2013. The 5 mile walk starts at the hospice at 11pm. There’s a target of raising £50,000 for the Candle Project, providing vital support to children and young people who have lost someone close to them. As well as walkers the organisers also need volunteers to help marshalling the route. The £15 entry fee includes a Midnight Walk T-Shirt. For more information and to register visit www.stchristophers.org.uk/midnightwalk
An experienced walking guide is offering a four day ‘walking festival’ in Andalucia this October for only 10 euros per person. That’s a bit of a bargain and indeed we’re told that it is not being run to make money but just raise awareness about how great the area is for walkers. Clearly 10 euros does not include flights, accommodation, food, etc. but you do get a certificate! No need to book.
John and Pam Thorn visited Corsica earlier this year and put five new walks onto the website. You can read John’s article on visiting the island, with plenty of tips on how to organise a DIY walking trip there, and download their walks.
Walkingworld contributor Dennis Downey has been involved in achieving Walkers are Welcome accreditation for Herefordshire town Leominster. The town is one of a whole raft of places that have joined the scheme – you can keep up date on the Walkers are Welcome website.
Richard Vahrman is hard at work on a ‘City Circular Challenge’. The idea is to create a circular route in and around a city of around 100 miles which could be completed within a week. He is currently working on ones for Leeds, Cambridge and Brighton. Richard would appreciate the input of local people. Contact him on email@example.com if you can give him a hand.