Newsletter > Newsletter archive > January 2012

January 2012

Romantic walks in the sun
GrasmereAfter what seems like weeks of miserable wind and rain the sun has suddenly come out. We took the opportunity to make a day trip into the Lake District, where we walked in the footsteps of William Wordsworth around the village and lake of Grasmere. Staying in the valley made a welcome break from heading for the fell tops, to which we normally feel impelled. Despite staying low there were some truly spectacular views, especially across the lake as the sun began to set – you can see some of the pictures we took on Walkingworld’s Facebook page. There are quite a few Walkingworld walks in and around Grasmere, so plenty of choice whether you want to stay low like us or stride confidently upwards.

Visiting Grasmere, where William Wordsworth lived with his sister from 1799 for nearly a decade, was a reminder of just how influential Wordsworth and his ‘Romantic’ contemporaries were in changing people’s perception of the Lakes. From a wild, inhospitable place that no-one in their right mind would want to visit, they kick-started it becoming the popular tourist destination of today. While we might regret some of the effects of that transformation, the fact remains that much of the pleasure we take from walking today has its roots in their revolutionary ideas about the landscape and its people. Time to raise a glass to Wordsworth and his pals, perhaps?

The same period saw the rise of European walking destinations, where visitors could experience the even more dramatic landscapes of the Alps and venture into mountain ranges far loftier than those found in the English Lakes. Appropriately enough, then, you’ll find plenty of ideas below for a ‘Romantic’ holiday abroad.

Personal Locator Beacons finally allowed on land
Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), of the type regularly carried at sea, are now legal to use on land. When activated the beacons send off a distress signal via satellite, along with position data and an identification code. By matching up the identification code with information provided when the PLB is registered, emergency services may also be able to discover details of the person who has activated the device, equipment carried, medical conditions, the size of the party and more. This could save a great deal of time in search, rescue and casualty treatment, but it depends on your providing a nominated contact when you register and, of course, keeping that person up to date with your plans.

Expect to pay £300 or so for a device but no subscription is required for the alert service which will be routed through a control centre at RAF Kinloss to the local police. The service is expected to appeal to lone forest and farm workers, horse and mountain bike riders as well as hill walkers and mountaineers. 

The Spanish Pyrenees
hike-pyreneesThe Spanish Pyrenees are a walkers paradise with spectacular scenery and weather to match. Hike Pyrenees is a small friendly company offering guided and self guided walking holidays.

Their dual level guided walking holidays offer a choice of two guided walks each day - one high level and one low level option. Simply choose each morning which walk you’d like to join. Perfect for couples or friends that walk at different levels or if you’re unsure which level would suit you best. They’ve a choice of two locations - the Ordesa National Park or the Valley de Tena.

New for 2012 is their Village to Village self guided walking holiday. You get to walk between beautiful medieval Pyrenean villages and they transfer your luggage each day. Order their summer 2012 brochure or give them a call on 0208 123 5049.

Surprise yourself!
InntravelUntil we got to know the good people at Inntravel, we were always a little sceptical about the idea of organised walking holidays. After all, why book with a travel company when it’s relatively easy to do it yourself? Well, we have come round to their way of thinking after seeing the passion and enthusiasm that goes into creating their self-guided trips.

For a start, Inntravel really do go the extra mile (often literally, it would seem) to seek out the best possible routes amid some of the most remote and beautiful corners of Europe. Add a sprinkling of charming, family-run hotels (often in remote and out-of-the-way places), good food and wine, and detailed route notes to the mix, and you can begin to see the attraction. An extra bonus is that your luggage is transported between hotels, leaving you free to walk entirely at your own pace while everything else is taken care of.

Considering all that’s included, these holidays offer surprisingly good value. But don’t take our word for it… order a brochure online or speak to one of Inntravel’s experts by calling 01653 617034.

Enjoy a guided walking holiday with award winning HF Holidays
HFHolidays groupFantastic walking, great hospitality and congenial company make a great walking holiday. Choose from HF Holidays’ country houses in the UK or partner hotels in Europe - all in stunning locations. New destinations for 2012 include Northern Snowdonia, Gran Canaria, the Lofoten Islands and Rhodes.

Prices in the UK start from £239 and include full board en-suite accommodation; social activities in the evenings; the services of expert leaders; and a choice of walks each day in stunning locations. There is lots more information and plenty of inspiration on the HF Holidays website.

Take on the Yorkshire Dales this summer
Trailwalker participantsImagine marching out in high spirits with friends and 300 teams ready for the challenge of a lifetime. Oxfam’s Trailtrekker is a 100km trek for teams of four, over 30 hours (yes, that’s day and night!) across the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It takes place over the last weekend in May and you can also choose from a Bronze (40km) or Silver (65km) distance.

The challenging route is stunning and requires real determination and teamwork - in return, you’ll get a fantastic sense of achievement.

Feeling inspired? Visit the website to find out more.

Big savings on Páramo gear
Páramo's best-selling lightweight gear will make your winter (and summer) escapades more rewarding and more comfortable - and you can make an excellent saving on two popular combinations this month. Both the Men’s and Ladies’ Velez Adventure Light Smock and Velez Adventure Trousers can be bought for £280, a hefty saving of £65 on the normal prices. The offer lasts until the 19th February.

Regular readers of our newsletter will know that we are fans of Páramo stuff because it is exceptionally breathable while very effectively keeping the wet stuff out. Several of our friends have the new Velez Adventure Light jackets and swear by them, finding that they effectively double as a soft-shell outer as well as being a proper waterproof. Find out more

Events and challenges
The Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival, coming up between 26 May - 10 June, offers a vast range of organised walks in the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There will be walks to suit any age, ability or interest, from gentle evening strolls to some energetic long distance walking. To be on the mailing list to receive the festival programme e-mail AONB@lincswolds.org.uk with your name and postal address or call 01507 609740.

midnight walkSt Richard's Hospice is looking for folk looking for a challenge in 2012. The Malvern Hills Walk is a very popular annual walk suitable for all the family, with 2, 5 or 11 mile options. It takes place on Saturday, 19th May. This is their biggest group walking event and is perfect for all fitness levels. Other walking challenges include the Midnight Walk - a five or ten mile Ladies Midnight Walk around the streets of Worcester – and the Three Peaks Challenge, scaling the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in under 24 hours.

Registrations for the Isle of Wight Festival, mentioned in a previous newsletter, are now open.

Members stuff
Christine Fletcher is climbing Kilimanjaro at the beginning of February and it is not too late to sponsor her. Please visit her Justgiving page to make a donation.

Richard & Alex Johnson are again offering members a discount on their walking holiday package based at their delightful farmhouse in the beautiful Lot department of France. The 7 night holiday is normally 690 euros for 2 people but members can save 40 euros per couple by quoting "WW2012" when booking. The offer is available for all 2012 bookings made before the end of April. Full details of the package can be seen at www.jardin-segala.com