Newsletter > Newsletter archive > May 2013
Walkingworld on the move (virtually)
In the thirteen years since Walkingworld was set up the website has lived on a succession of servers. The first was in a fortress-like edifice in the Docklands of East London called Telehouse. Most of the time it hummed away quite happily in an air-conditioned room, kept company by the servers of quite a few august insititutions, including the Royal Yachting Association. But if a bit of tinkering was called for, getting there involved a time-consuming and ever more expensive trek across the capital city. So several years ago a new server was placed with a hosting company in Reading. As at Telehouse, there’s been a superfast connection to the internet, so that when you search for walks or click through for full details on a walk, the pages come up as quickly as possible.
Now the Walkingworld website is on the move again, this time to Leeds (in a couple of decade’s time, maybe we’ll have done a full tour of the UK). With the demands made by users of mapping apps like ViewRanger and the new Wainwright pub app, as well as the website itself, we need a bigger and more powerful server.
One reason we don’t do this very often is that the whole of the internet needs to be told where ‘walkingworld.com’ has gone! It can take over a day for the news of the new location to spread across all the internet service providers. We’re planning on doing the switch overnight next Wednesday 29th May. If you find you cannot access the website on Thursday, please just try again later in the day. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience, but we should all benefit in the long run.
Trampers for hire
A couple of years ago our local Walkers are Welcome group in Cumbria helped to plan a route in the surrounding countryside for the Disabled Ramblers. The group has been using ‘Tramper’ off-road mobility scooters for quite a while now; they are fantastic vehicles that can travel over surprisingly challenging terrain. The Trampers quite happily go up and down slopes, over bumps and tree roots and through shallow puddles, mud and soft ground. With a top speed of 4 miles an hour a walker can struggle to keep up with them! Now a charity in the South West is set on exploiting the advantages of this versatile little vehicle, setting up routes and, equally importantly, allowing people to borrow or hire a Tramper for the day. The Countryside Mobility scheme is running at more than 30 countryside locations across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset, with more to follow. It’s hoped that other areas of the country will pick up on the idea.
For Nevil Salisbury-Rood (pictured above), the Tramper has been a revelation: “I really enjoy wildlife photography and I visited the Penrose Estate in Helston, Cornwall and used the Tramper because I can’t walk very far. It allowed me to get around part of the lake and out onto the South West Coast Path which is something I would never be able to do normally because of my bad leg. The coastal views are fantastic and I shot some great photos”.
To use the Trampers, it's simply a question of choosing a site and arranging a first visit. On arrival, people join as members of Countryside Mobility which costs £10.00 per year or £2.50 for 4 weeks. Training is provided lasting approximately 15 minutes. A membership card is then issued which allows use of a Tramper at any partner site without the need for further training. Full details about Countryside Mobility and a list of where Trampers are available can be found on the website www.countrysidemobility.org or by calling 01392 459222.
Walking the islands of West Sweden
Crowded by over 8,000 granite islands, the beautiful Bohuslän coastline stretches from the handsome city of Gothenburg all the way to the Norwegian border, and Inntravel’s featured holiday this month takes in its highlights. Picturesque islands are sprinkled with red-and-white fishing villages from where inviting paths lead out to reach small isolated bays, rocky promontories and secluded lighthouses.
The beauty of this two-centre holiday on Sweden’s West Coast is that, despite its proximity to Gothenburg by rail, it has a remarkably remote feel to it. Spend a day or two walking round the idyllic Koster Islands before heading south to the delightful village of Fjällbacka. Walking routes head inland to reach mysterious Bronze Age rock carvings, while just a short ferry ride away are the remote Weather Islands, a remarkable marine reserve in the Skagerrak that is home to many colourful seabirds. With the bright-blue sea all around, it’s little surprise that this region is also famous for an astonishing array of seafood – mussels, oysters, langoustines and lobster – that form the basis of one of the world’s finest gastronomic traditions.
There’s also the chance to experience Swedish Highlights by adding in extra days to explore the royal island of Marstrand, and the stylish cities of Gothenburg and Stockholm.
For more walking holidays in Europe, take a look at Inntravel’s website, or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.
(picture above: Goran Assner)
Climbing an Olympic sport?
In a mountainous coincidence, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to announce the final shortlist of sports vying for a place at the 2020 Olympic Games on the same day as the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest. On the 29th May, the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) will present the case for climbing to the IOC Executive Board in St Petersburg, Russia. After hearing from all eight bidding sports, the board will recommend which three sports will go to the final vote at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September.
There have been connections between climbing and the Olympics for many years. Gold medals from the 1924 Winter Olympics were awarded to members of the 1922 British Everest expedition for the efforts that brought them within 500 metres of the summit. This was some 30 years before the 1953 British Everest expedition went on to make history with the first ascent of the world’s highest mountain.
Climbing as we’d see it in the 2020 Olympics would be very different to climbing Everest as competition climbing takes place on man-made walls. The IFSC is proposing a multi-discipline event which would include speed, lead climbing and bouldering, disciplines that they say fit perfectly with the Olympic motto of Faster; Higher; Stronger.
The Stroke Association’s Step Out sponsored walk event will take place in Victoria Park, Leamington Spa on Sunday 29th September. The event has its own course suitable for those of different walking abilities. You can walk at your own pace and in your own time. Whether it’s one step, 10 steps or a mile, every step counts. The entry fee is £7.50, which includes an event t-shirt and sponsorship pack. You can set your own fundraising target – every pound raised in sponsorship helps the charity to be there every step of the way for stroke survivors, their families and carers.
This year Roger Mechan had planned to walk the route of the Cathar castles from Port la Nouvelle but, having booked flights, airport parking and hostels, he promptly slipped on a soggy Dartmoor and suffered a complete quadraceps rupture. He was strongly advised to forget going to the hills this year but after some pleading the surgeon agreed he could walk somewhere flat. So it is the Nantes to Brest Canal, around 200 miles of very very flat towpath. As usual he is walking for charity, aiming once again for an impressive target.
Walkingworld contributor Harri Robert’s partner Tracy Burton has penned a blog about being the one who has to take all the photos for his walking guides (pointing out quite correctly that the person spied taking pictures of traffic islands, stiles and gaps in hedges is bound to a look a tad deranged). Tracy’s blog is always a good read and if you scroll down the more recent entries you’ll find the one about being a Walkingworld photo-taker.
Catherine Ames has a new book out, about The Vanguard Way, a 66-mile walk from London to the sea. A lesser known trail, it was actually set up in 1980.