Newsletter > Newsletter archive > March 2015
A breath of fresh sea air
Easter is the traditional time for seaside resorts to open their doors. For over two hundred years the attractions and health benefits of a few days by the sea have been heavily promoted to prospective holidaymakers. The seaside promenade and that iconic structure, the pier, were central elements in the advertising for seaside resorts, as was their accessibility by train.
Cast iron, which could be manufactured as sets of parts and put together like a kit, was the defining technology of seaside architecture. It meant that exciting new attractions could be built relatively cheaply and quickly. The Victorian engineer Eugenius Birch made the seaside pier his metier, building a dozen or more, including those at Margate, Eastbourne, Hastings and Weston-super-Mare.
Piers were money-making machines, acting as platforms for an ever-changing array of amusements and kiosks. But they also allowed the visiting public to stand over the sea without having to venture out on a rocking boat. From the time they were first built people thrilled at the sight of these man-made structures being lashed by the wind and waves.
In the second chapter to be published online from our Pathways book, we look at the history of seaside promenades. For our walk we went south to Brighton, one of the first seaside towns to attract large numbers of visitors. In the early years they were encouraged to bathe in the sea and even to drink it, supposedly for the improvement of their health. Later the railway brought hordes of holidaymakers seeking all manner of pleasures, not all of them morally or spiritually uplifting. The history of Brighton’s varying fortunes – and of course of its two piers – makes a fascinating backdrop to an enjoyable day out. Read the Promenades chapter
Our footpaths data report published
In January we and our friends at GPS Training asked if you would mind filling in a short survey about the accuracy of footpaths on Ordnance Survey maps and whether you would appreciate having more accurate route data for use in GPS devices. Over 700 people filled in the survey which is a very significant level of response. We have put together a full report which reveals a certain level of frustration with the accuracy of paths shown on Ordnance Survey maps and what some might consider a surprising willingness to pay for better data. Many people also took the time to add comments, with a whole range of interesting points being made. In our report we have tried to give a fair summary of those comments. Download the report (PDF 1MB)
A common theme in the survey was frustration when paths are found to be blocked, sometimes deliberately by landowners and sometimes simply through wear and tear. Responsibility for this does not lie with Ordnance Survey of course but with landowners and the local authorities, who are under a great deal of financial pressure these days. In this context we would just like to congratulate Denbighshire County Council on an exemplary response. Having been informed of a dangerous stile by Walkingworld contributor Jim Grindle it took them just ten days to have a new stile delivered and installed. A footpath inspector made a site visit on the very day of Jim’s report and just to prove that's it's now really there the picture shows Jim and the Southport Ramblers admiring the new stile. So it can be done!
Grab yourself a first aid bag
Here’s a chance to get yourself a superb quality personal first aid bag and help a Lake District Mountain Rescue Team at the same time. David’s team, Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue, have decided to upgrade the first aid kits carried by each team member and, not having found a suitable bag on the market, researched the possibility of having one custom made. The result is a tough little bag with zippered internal compartments and a transparent sleeve on the outside for identification labels. The only problem is that there is a minimum order requirement of 500, when the team only needs 50 or so. The solution has been to offer the bag for purchase by others, at a very reasonable £6.50 including p&p. Please note that it doesn’t include any first aid contents - it’s an empty bag for you to fill as you wish.
The minimum order quantity has already been passed, thanks to a brilliant response from team supporters (many of whom have added an additional donation) and other Mountain Rescue teams who have decided to equip their own members with them. There are still a few days left before the team finalises the order, so if you fancy getting one place a pre-order for one or more on the KSMRT website. Orders close on 30th March. The combined order will be placed in the first week of April and the bags will be delivered by early July.
Step up to a Welsh mountain challenge
The Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge is a unique opportunity to climb three of the most iconic mountains in Wales and to help find a cure for prostrate cancer. You will climb Pen Y Fan (Brecon Beacons) & Cadair Idris (Mid Wales) on Saturday 13th June 2015 and after an overnight stop in Llanberis you climb Snowdon (North Wales) on 14th June. There will be highly experienced Safety Marshals on each mountain to keep everyone safe and on the right path.
The event is organised by the Prostrate Cancer Research Centre which carries out research into the causes of and treatment for the UK’s most frequently diagnosed male cancer. Registration costs just £45. For more details and to sign up go to the Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge website.
Walking in South Tyrol
South Tyrol, where Italy and Austria collide, blends an Alpine sense of practicality with Italian joie-de-vivre. It is also home to some astonishing mountain scenery, including the iconic, jagged Dolomites.
Nowhere encapsulates this sense of rugged majesty more perfectly than the crenellated Three Peaks, (Tre Cime di Lavaredo, or Drei Zinnen), one of Inntravel’s two new self-guided walking routes in the region. The other explores the sublime Venosta Valley, following a section of the High Alpine Way which traverses sun-soaked, south-facing slopes offering breathtaking vistas of the Ortler Alps.
Whether you’re a Sunday stroller or a committed mountain hiker, Inntravel pretty much has it covered: for hotel-to-hotel walking see also Towards the Dolomites and The High Dolomites; or for walking out each day from a single base, discover The Traditions of South Tyrol.
For more details on Inntravel’s walking holidays in South Tyrol, see inntravel.co.uk or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.
The Dolomites’ Three Peaks
- Self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking holiday, luggage transported
- Prices from £798pp, inc 7 nights’ half-board accommodation, detailed route guides & maps
- Flights extra (direct from several UK regional airports)
- Available from 4 June to 4 October 2015
Take on the WaterAid Mountain Challenge and #FinishThirst
The WaterAid Mountain Challenge on 6 June 2015 features 150 peaks across the UK; you can take on a multi-peak guided walk like the Snowdon Horseshoe, or get a team together and tackle one of their self-guided walks. There should be something for everybody.
Mandira (pictured right) has a mountain to climb every single day - she spends 5 hours collecting water and cannot go to school to get an education. Together with WaterAid it’s possible to change the lives of thousands of children like Mandira, giving them a chance of a brighter future.
No matter which peak you choose, when you reach your summit on 6 June you’ll achieve more than just your goal. You will be helping WaterAid to reach theirs too: clean water and toilets for everyone, everywhere by 2030. Sign up now
Events for your diary
The calendar for the 2015 Swanage and Purbeck Walking Festival is now released on the festival website. The week-and-a-bit long event has walks of varying lengths and with themes covering history, art, photography, geology, wildlife and more. You can book online, which is probably worth doing early.
There is a brand new South Lincolnshire Walking Festival this year, running each weekend from 25 September to 31 October. The festival offers the opportunity to walk through a landscape that witnessed bronze-age burials; iron-age mints; roman forts; the Knights Templar; deserted medieval villages; castles, cathedrals and monasteries and architecture at its finest. Over 70 walks of various distances are on offer.
The Spanish Experience is a guiding company run by Puri Almansa, a biologist and Walkingworld contributor who offers Nature Walks to discover the variety of landscapes and wildlife that can be found in this region of Central Spain. The routes she has designed are all up to 10km distance. The trip is based in the medieval village of Barco the Avila, the gateway to the north side of the Gredos. The price is 620 €/week (720€ for a single) with accommodation and half board in the Hotel Real de Barco.
Contributor Tina Irving has launched LetsGoSouth as a companion organisation to LetsGoNorth, aiming to identify historical and cultural links between Spain and Scotland and between routes such as the Senda Litoral on the south coast of Spain and the North Highland Way. It just so happens that the Senda Litoral is 180 kms long and the North Highland Way 180 miles. Tina is looking forward to exploring options in Galicia in July and August with a trip to the home of the Camino de Santiago in Santiago de Compostelo. If you have a business in either region and want to get involved get in touch with her through the respective websites.