Newsletter > Newsletter archive > July 2013
The butterflies are out in force
For the first time in over two years many of the upland paths near us have dried out, meaning we can walk the dog in trainers rather than wellies. It’s been great weather for the local hill farmers too, who have been out day and night harvesting the meadow grass and no doubt hoping that there’ll be plenty more to come. In the meantime the sheep are looking a bit frazzled, sheltering behind the walls for shade rather than against the raging blizzards of just a few months ago.
Half a mile beyond Walkingworld HQ there’s an extensive conifer plantation. Four or five years ago the outer swathes were cut down and there have been successive attempts to get new saplings to grow. But the rabbits usually get there first, despite the wire fencing and other more desperate measures to keep their numbers down. The thing about rabbits is that they breed like rabbits and they’re very good at hiding in burrows.
The forest owner’s loss is undoubtedly wildlife’s gain. The whole area has erupted with growth, a mixture of grass and scrub, with a few colourful foxgloves thrown in. One batch of ragged robin, crushed by the tree-felling operations, has sprung back to life, having benefitted from just the right mix of damp earth and warm sunlight. This reinvigorated environment is playing host to millions of butterflies, which scatter before you as you wade through the undergrowth. We have been enjoying trying to identify them. If, like us, you are no butterfly expert, there’s a great online resource on Steven Cheshire’s British Butterflies website. Meanwhile we’re secretly hoping that those conifer saplings continue to be nibbled away.
Walk Ten for Marie Curie
Walk Ten for Marie Curie Cancer Care is taking place at stunning locations across the South-East this summer. At each event you can enjoy a 10k walk in beautiful surroundings, followed by a picnic with music, entertainment and fireworks at twilight. At 10pm there’s a gathering to celebrate the Marie Curie nurses, marking the beginning of their night shifts. These events raise much needed money for the care of people with terminal illnesses and support for their families. Every £20 you raise allows Marie Curie to provide another hour of care.
On August 10th, Hampshire’s walk will take you around the idyllic Beaulieu Estate, starting at Beaulieu Motor Museum, giving you the opportunity to see its stunning surroundings as the sun sets. Keep an eye out for the famous New Forest wild ponies. Afterwards you can stay and enjoy a Bollywood themed picnic party, plus music and entertainment including Indian head massage and henna tattooing.
On August 24th, Surrey’s walk has Denbies Wine Estate as its setting; the largest vineyard in the UK, with breathtaking vistas over the vines to Dorking and Box Hill. Walkers will be greeted with a Bollywood themed party atmosphere when they return, with traditional curries, Indian head massage and dancers. Local station Radio Jackie will be covering the event live, and at 10pm you can sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
Registration is now open and you can sign up at www.mariecurie.org.uk/walkten or by calling 0845 052 4184. Each event opens at 6pm with the walk setting off at 7pm. Children under 16 are free, adult registration before the event is £10 and to sign up on the night is £20.
El Hierro – walking to the ‘Ends of the Earth’
Although walkers have been exploring the more well-known Canary Islands for many years, there is one small island, the furthermost from mainland Europe, that few know, and even fewer visit. As a result, it remains largely unspoiled and unaffected by mass tourism, making it an ideal place for a week’s tranquil walking off the beaten track. This is El Hierro, once thought to be the ‘ends of the earth’, though today home to state-of-the-art renewable energy schemes that happily co-exist alongside centuries-old customs and traditions.
On Inntravel’s featured holiday this month, you explore the length and breadth of El Hierro, staying at four very different, yet equally welcoming, hotels from where well-signed paths lead through varied and dramatic landscapes. Explore high open heathland and ancient laurisilva before descending the magnificent towering escarpment that dominates the island to reach the rocky shores of El Golfo; and wander through stands of pine forest and statuesque wind-bent junipers to reach secluded chapels or a spectacular mirador designed by artist, César Manrique, boasting magnificent views.
For more walking holidays in Europe, take a look at Inntravel’s website, or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.
In an interesting departure Garmin has announced a GPS based on the Android operating system. The Monterra, which will be available in the UK this autumn, is priced at a hefty £600, but it does have a decent 8 megapixel camera which is also capable of recording high definition video. With WiFi connectivity and the Android OS, the GPS can run all sorts of apps from the Google Play Store. This may make it a useful option for outdoor businesses (such as farmers) who will be able to use a single waterproof device for their work. If you are in the market for a very top end GPS it may be worth waiting until the Monterra comes out. We do slightly wonder why, once you have a device with WiFi and the Android OS, you don’t also have the option to insert a SIM card to make the thing usable as a mobile phone, even if only for data. The day when Garmin releases a genuinely rugged mobile phone with a top class GPS receiver can’t be that far away, surely.
Calendar time again
The Wainwright Society’s 2014 Calendar has just been published and is now on sale. Once again the format includes photographs taken by Society members, together with line drawings and quotations from the works of Alfred Wainwright. For the past four years, the calendar has completely sold out raising thousands of pounds for the group’s designated charities. We know that it’s been very popular with Walkingworld members.
The calendar features twelve stunning landscape photographs of the Lake District. This year all profits from the sale of the calendar will be donated to Coast to Coast projects. The price of the calendar has been held at £10 including p&p. The calendar can be purchased direct from the Society website using PayPal. Details are on the Society website
The British Mountaineering Council targets hill walkers
The BMC is well known for championing climbing and supporting climbers and serious mountaineers, but it’s keen to raise the profile of its work for hill walkers. Led by the BMC’s new hill walking development officer, Carey Davies, the BMC is rolling out a 12-week series of web articles and social media initiatives focusing on a different topic each week.
One thing you can do right away, with the possibility of winning some attractive prizes, is complete a survey to gather more feedback from the hill walking community. You’ll note that there is a gaping omission in the list of walking websites you are asked to pick from! We may forgive them. More about the survey on the BMC website
Can drones be used in mountain searches?
Here’s another interesting activity you can get involved in, without moving from your comfy chair. A university research group is trying to find out if unmanned air vehicles (or ‘drones’), commonly used for filming aerial shots in the outdoors, can also be used to help mountain rescue teams. A key element in the trial is using internet volunteers to scan the hundreds of images as they are recorded and streamed, to see if they can spot the missing casualties. The researchers are working with Patterdale Mountain Rescue in the Lake District and on the 25th July there’s an opportunity to take part in a trial. Take part and you might even win an eye-wateringly expensive pair of sunglasses. www.aerosee.org
Rounding off the summer with beer and bangers
Here’s a date for your diary. The Kirkby Stephen Beer & Bangers Festival is on the 6th – 8th September, in our local Cumbrian town, in support of the local mountain rescue team, Scouts and Rotary Club. There’ll be lots of local ales to try (including one barrel sponsored by ourselves), plenty of fun activities, sizzling sausages, and two nights of live music. Even better there’s free (but very basic) camping, or you can hole up in one of the town’s pleasant hotels and B&Bs. You can keep up to date on the Festival’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BeerBangersFestival