Newsletter > Newsletter archive > February 2013

February 2013

Walkers are welcome!
WaWwalker_w.jpgWalkers are Welcome is a nationwide initiative, started in 2007, to encourage towns and villages to be ‘welcoming to walkers’. Having been extraordinarily effective in attracting participants from around England, Scotland and Wales, the organisation has just launched a new website. There are now over 100 places across the UK with ‘Walkers are Welcome’ accreditation, with quite a few more in the pipeline.

We have been involved with the scheme in our local town, Kirkby Stephen, so we have experienced the process of gaining accreditation at first hand. What stands out is that ‘Walkers are Welcome’ is a genuinely grass-roots concept, with a very practical approach to making places better for walkers. Even with its shiny new website the organisation has a refreshingly amateur feel, in the best sense of the word. This is reflected in the criteria for accreditation, which emphasise the dull tasks of keeping footpaths clear and encouraging facilities for walkers, as much as the marketing and promotional activities which might be considered ‘sexier’. It’s actually quite hard work to get and keep accreditation; it’s certainly not a case of paying your annual fee and taking the badge.

The 100+ towns and villages in the scheme are, of course, not the only places worth visiting, but at least with ‘Walkers are Welcome’ accreditation you will know there is an enthusiastic group working behind the scenes with your best interests at heart. Perhaps equally importantly, they are committed to taking action if anything you find there is not quite right. 

Easter Weekend Open Day
If you haven’t yet got a plan for Easter why not come to Cumbria and pop in to our Open Day, organised with the experts from GPS Training. It takes place on Saturday 30th March at Mungrisdale village hall, a beautiful spot nestling at the foot of Blencathra, one of the Lake District’s iconic mountains. The Open Day is entirely free and features talks from a wide range of interesting folk and various outdoor activities. Or you could simply drop by for a cup of tea and a chat.

Activities include map and compass reading workshops run by Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team, a Chirp Geocaching Trail and GPS taster sessions using new Garmin Oregon 600 range. There is also an opportunity to try out Nordic Walking and a chance to find out how you can use GPS for road and mountain biking at home and away. For those who want to extend their navigation training to another day, the Mountain Rescue team have an additional ‘on the hill’ session on Sunday 31st. For the Mountain Rescue Team sessions it’s best to book in advance, to make sure you have a place.

Village to Village walking in the Pyrenees
HikePyrenees22013_w.jpgThis superb self guided itinerary from Hike Pyrenees explores the tranquil villages of the Spanish Pyrenees.

Each day's walk features fantastic views and you get a real sense of journey as you head up the valley and into the higher mountains. You’ll stay at charming family run hotels with great food in small traditional Pyrenean villages with narrow winding streets centred around medieval churches.

There are plenty of options with most days having a choice of an easier or harder route with the longer options getting into high mountain terrain. Maps and detailed route descriptions are provided and they transport your luggage each day meaning you just have to walk with a small daypack.

You can read the full itinerary on the Hike Pyrenees website or give them a call on 0208 123 5049.

The rugged peaks of the Catalan Pyrenees
ITPyreneesWalkers_w.jpgThis month, Inntravel’s featured holiday explores the dramatic and unspoiled mountains and valleys of the Catalan Pyrenees. This is magnificent walking country, where winding tracks lead from one small town to the next, and spectacular views extend along the range from the peak of Puigmal to Mount Canigou, and over the warm, wooded foothills which stretch towards the Mediterranean. Wildlife abounds in these remote hills – look out for booted eagles and griffon vultures soaring through the skies; while wild boar, chamois and the striking fire salamander can often be seen in the wooded valleys down below.

This is the heart of Catalonia, where the red-and-yellow Catalan flag flies prominently, and the people you meet in each village are fiercely proud of their rich culture and heritage. Discover, too, traditional Catalan food and wine – delicious sausages and cured meats, trout from the lakes, and robust wines from the coastal plains – while staying in atmospheric family-run hotels whose history flows back through the generations.

For more walking holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees, take a look at Inntravel’s website, or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.

Charity events
The St Christopher's Hospice Fun Walk takes place on Sunday 19th May. It’s an all day walk starting and finishing at Keston Common, Kent. This is St Christopher's Hospice’s biggest fundraising community event, suitable for the whole family, with a choice of 3, 5, 8 and 11 mile walks.  The charity is hoping to raise £250,000 to support the hospice's vital services.  Refreshments and entertainment are provided throughout the day on the common - fancy dress encouraged!  It’s free to register before the day, £5 on the day.   

Wake Up to Walking is a new campaign launched by Jane Tomlinson’s Walk For All to encourage people to get into the great outdoors and explore the countryside on foot in a safe and fun environment. It also aims to promote Walk For All’s trio of walking events –the Peak District Walk (Sunday 28th April), the Yorkshire Dales Walking Festival (Sunday 18th August) and the Lake District Walking Festival (Sunday 8th September). 

The four Rotary Clubs of Southport have a Canal & Countryside Charity Walk taking place along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on Sunday 28th April. Each walker raises money for their own chosen charity, with a choice of 5 and 8 mile routes. There’s a modest registration fee payable to Rotary to cover administration costs.   

The Saints’ Shore Way
SaintsShoreWay_w.jpgEnvisaged as a continuation of the Saints’ Way in Cornwall, this walking trail follows the spectacular Breton coast for 125 kms from Roscoff to Lannion. The guidebook, written by Wendy Mewes, is due out late March. With detailed maps and full route notes it explores the many connections between Britain and Brittany over the centuries, from the arrival of monks in the Dark Ages to WWII activities. The route itself mainly follows the coastal path, with great variety of seascapes, beaches, wild cliffs, fishing villages and historic towns. Start at the ferry port at Roscoff and you can walk all the way to Lannion, then take the train back to the starting point – a great week’s walk! www.thesaintsshoreway.blogspot.fr

Members News
There’s a 10% discount for Walkingworld members on any booking made in 2013 at Hafannedd, a former woollen mill converted to self catering cottages, located between Ruthin and Corwen in North Wales. Check out www.hafannedd.com and quote WW2013 to get the discount. Hafannedd is well-located for many excellent walks in the Clwydian Range and the northerly section of Offa's Dyke.

The New Zealand Sock Company have some good value women’s short and long sleeve tops and leggings, being sold off at less than half the normal price. They are 210 gm 100% merino wool, so nice and warm. They come in mixed sizes and colours but there’s limited stock, so go to the NZSock homepage and click Special Offers to see what’s still available. Price £24.00 plus postage.