Newsletter > Newsletter archive > June 2013
How about just enjoying ourselves?
It’s probably a good thing that MPs are showing an interest in creating a more adventurous UK society by re-forming the All Party Parliamentary Group on Adventure and Recreation in Society (ARISc). Campaigners and outdoor associations are keen to prevent the so-called ‘health and safety culture’ from blocking young people’s access to adventurous activities in the outdoors, and so are welcoming the move. Julian Brazier MP, ARISc Co-Chair, says that the “group will work towards active education, access to adventure and real experiences which prepare and ensure quality lifestyles involving healthy risk-taking, confidence, experience, judgement, fitness, challenge and enterprise.”
So far so positive (although one does have to wonder what would constitute an ‘unreal experience’). But the one word that is strikingly missing from that statement is ‘fun’. At a time when children’s education is so focussed on exams, testing and future employment, one would hope that the one place where the poor mites could simply have fun is in the outdoors.
A few days ago we took a stroll through some woodland in the French Alps. It was a warm day so we didn’t even undertake the final slog to the very modest peak of Mont Chery. Instead we contoured lazily on forest tracks, breathing in the fresh pine smells, crossing occasionally through high alpine pasture already knee-high with grass and flowers. On a whim we stopped at a mountain restaurant and ordered omelette and a carafe of local white wine for lunch. We wandered unsteadily back in broadly the right direction, not bothering to map read but simply following the occasional sign, the dog trotting quizzically behind us. It was a gloriously enjoyable way to spend the day, with not a hint of ‘challenge’ or ‘enterprise’ – and so much the better for that. We wish you many such days in the summer to come!
New versions of ViewRanger available
ViewRanger, the mobile and tablet app to which Walkingworld walks can be downloaded directly, is available in a new Android version. It has also been ported for Blackberry 10 smartphones. In our view the new version is much easier to navigate, with better facilities for viewing the walks and their waymarks. If you have an earlier Android version installed it is well worth downloading the new one. Previously purchased premium maps will continue to be available.
ViewRanger for BlackBerry 10, like all ViewRanger apps, comes with free and unlimited access to a range of map layers including OpenStreetMap, OpenCycleMap, and aerial imagery. It is available to download from BlackBerry App World.
If you are Walkingworld subscriber and using ViewRanger on any type of mobile or tablet, make sure you enter your Walkingworld login details in the Plugins section of the My ViewRanger portal, as this will ensure that your downloads of Walkingworld walks are not charged for. Read the instructions for setting up your Walkingworld account in My ViewRanger.
Azores – discovering the green islands
Where can you go whale-watching, walk over lunar landscapes, swim with dolphins, watch cliff-diving, dine on dishes cooked in volcanoes and drink the only tea grown in Europe – all within reach of a surprisingly short flight from London? The answer is the Azores – a spectacular archipelago of lush green islands, way out in the Atlantic Ocean, which offer rewarding walking through varied landscapes of wooded valleys hiding waterfalls and volcanic crater lakes, and a rugged coastline crossed by deep gullies leading to quiet coves and secluded bays.
Inntravel’s featured holidays this month give you the chance to Discover the 'Green Island', spending a few days exploring the main island of São Miguel, or to embark upon a 14-night Archipelago Experience that includes São Miguel, São Jorge and the smaller island of Faial. The fusion of vivid green landscapes and haunting volcanic scenery lends these islands a truly unique feel. Culturally, too, the mix is fascinating: there are striking Baroque churches, bustling ports and enthralling religious festivals, and by far the best way to discover them is on foot!
For more walking holidays in Europe, take a look at Inntravel’s website, or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.
Discover the ‘Green Island’
- Self-guided, single-centre walking holiday
- Prices from £735pp, inc 7 nights’ B&B accommodation & 4 picnics, plus detailed route notes & maps
- Flights extra (direct from several UK regional airports)
- Available 25 June to 15 September 2013
A chance to win a caravanning holiday in Scotland
VisitScotland and The Caravan Club have teamed up to offer Walkingworld members the chance to win a 7-night touring holiday in Scotland for two adults and up to 2 children. The Caravan Club has thirty sites across Scotland so there is a huge variety to choose from and some of the sites are in quite spectacular locations. Tickets to the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, which sits majestically at the point where three sea lochs meet, are also included in the prize, as are up to £100 for travel expenses. The competition is free to enter - all you need do is fill in a simple form. You will need your own caravan, motorhome or trailer tent – or find someone to borrow one from! (note: competition runs until end of July 2013)
Charlie, Meg and Me
Keeping on the Scottish theme, here’s a book that follows the trail of fugitive Bonnie Prince Charlie, as he zig-zagged his way across the Highlands and Islands after the disastrous rout at Culloden. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland, and instigator of the Jacobite uprising of 1745, had the astonishingly high price of £30,000 on his head, but somehow managed to draw on the bravery and loyalty of his followers to evade his pursuers and finally flee by sea to France.
Charlie’s arduous and indeed almost miraculous escape has been recreated, quite possibly for the first time, in a single journey. Author Gregor Ewing, along with his faithful border collie Meg, retraces the desperate 530 mile trail through remote wilderness, hidden glens, modern day roads and uninhabited islands. Although in some ways ‘Charlie, Meg and Me’ is simply a personal account of a long distance walk, Gregor Ewing has an easy and honest writing style and the book has enough historical insight and research to keep up one’s interest in what is, inevitably, a protracted journey. www.luath.co.uk/charlie-meg-me.html
The 2013 West Midlands Mega Geocaching Event is a free event that will see some 2000 geocachers from the UK and further afield descend on the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon. It takes place on the 3rd August 2013. Details at www.mega2013.org.uk
Ipswich East Rotary Club organises the Orwell Walk each year, raising over £60,000 for Suffolk charities. This year’s event is on Sunday 30th June. The Orwell Walk, which began in 1977 with just a couple of hundred walkers, is now the most successful fundraising campaign for the club. Last year’s event was attended by 2,000 people, all raising money for their chosen charities. The Orwell Walk has three routes to choose from catering for most abilities; 12 miles, 18 miles and the full route of 25 miles. The brand new Orwell Cycle launched this year has two routes to choose from, of 4 miles and 14 miles.
Time to gen up on your Garmin?
If you’ve got a Garmin GPS or are thinking of getting one, you can make sure you use it well and get the most out of its many features by going on a course. We all know from bitter experience that the manuals are pretty hard to work your way through. There’s nothing really that beats hands-on practice and the personal guidance of an expert. GPS Training’s courses are practical days with the minimum of classwork and now focus on particular makes of GPS. At £60 or less per day they are also excellent value. As well as learning how to navigate with a Garmin the courses can help you get to grips with using Garmin's free Basecamp software to plan routes and manage user data like waypoints, routes and tracks.
Last year Walkingworld contributor Peter Harper took part in the Thames Path Challenge 50 km walk with a team from Lloyds Banking Group. This year his team has upped the stakes and is doing the 100 km version (62 miles in real money), with a target time of under 24 hours. Peter’s aim is to raise at least £400 for the Alzheimers Society. www.justgiving.com/LBG-Thames-Path-Challenge
David's brother Malcolm and his friend Les have just successfully climbed Mont Blanc in aid of the search dogs on the Isle of Man, who do a great job on very limited funding. We hugely enjoyed helping them (Malcolm and Les, that is, not the dogs) with their high altitude acclimatisation.
Thank you for your patience if you experienced any problems while we moved our server a couple of weeks’ ago. There were some issues with downloading PDF files of walks and searching for walks in 3rd party applications like Mapyx Quo. We hope that the vast majority of issues, if not all of them, have now been ironed out. Please get in touch with us if you have any problems.