Newsletter > Newsletter archive > May 2017

May 2017

Watch out for those clouds
We are a nation of weather watchers, which is perhaps not surprising considering how much weather we have. In fact a passing knowledge of what’s in store from looking at the clouds and noting shifts in wind direction can be pretty useful while out on a walk. It can occasionally save you from being caught out in a downpour - assuming there’s somewhere handy to shelter, of course. The Cloud Appreciation Society is a brilliant source of information if you would like to learn more or just look at some stunning pictures of cloud formations.

Those who have gone one step further and set up personal weather stations at home are finding themselves taken more seriously by the ‘proper’ weather forecasters. We have become very familiar with the BBC’s Weather Watcher pictures during their daily forecasts and for several years the MetOffice has been running its own Weather Observations website, where members of the public can report weather related events and impacts or link up a personal weather station. Commercial operator Weather Underground now puts together forecasts using thousands of amateur readings.

We have been testing out a new weather observation device, the Bloomsky. It’s essentially a very wide angle camera that takes a picture of the sky every few minutes and uploads it to the web, along with recordings for temperature and pressure. The images can be seen on Bloomsky apps and, in our case, we also upload it to the Weather Underground page for our personal weather station.

If you install the free app (for Android and iOS) you can find a growing number of Bloomsky stations around the country and take a look at the sky above them. At the end of the day the app compiles a time-lapse of the day’s weather at each site, so you can see how the day’s weather developed compressed into thirty seconds or so. It’s probably not of much practical use but it’s a good talking point as you relax In the dry after your walk.

Drone surveys for local groups
Drone footage has become commonplace on television and it’s not surprising that groups and organisations of all sorts are considering the potential benefits of small flying machines. Archaeologists have started to use them for site surveys, although often with mixed results. Yorkshire Archaeological Aerial Mapping is a new organisation specialising in archaeological interpretation, using drones and specially developed software to compile 3D images out of hundreds of shots taken from the air.

The result is ground mapping of the site in fine detail, often revealing the obscure details that have become partially or completely lost. So far, the team has located henges, mapped the environs of Roman structures, rediscovered dozens of Roman Roads and imaged deserted medieval villages. Right now, a quick survey is free to community and voluntary groups, so if you think you may have a suitable project get in touch through their website.

Great escapes with HF Holidays
HF Holidays have been creating walking and activity holidays since 1913, combining healthy exercise and travelling to areas of outstanding beauty, with comfortable accommodation and great food.

This summer you can explore the great outdoors on a UK guided walking holiday. 3 night weekends start from just £359pp and offer a choice of walks planned by local experts and led by experienced leaders, perfect if you want to enjoy full-day walks taking in the area’s best routes. However if you would prefer to discover the area independently, 3 night self-guided walking weekends are available from just £299pp. 

As a special introduction to discovering more of the great outdoors with HF Holidays you can enjoy £50 off your first booking*. To book or to request a brochure visit or call 0345 470 7558 and quote EPD1. To take advantage of the offer use code EPD1 at the checkout.

*£50 discount is per booking and applies to first time bookers with HF Holidays booked by 30 June 2017. Non-member associate fee of £10pp applies. Prices quoted exclude discount. Full board accommodation from evening meal on day of arrival to breakfast on day of departure. Terms and conditions apply, visit for full details.

You can join the Friends of the Lake District in some practical fell care tasks at the Keswick Mountain Festival on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June. As well as taking part in conservation tasks to help look after our fragile uplands, they are offering the chance to experience the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of the beautiful Lakeland landscape. The hub for the day is the Friends of the Lake District marquee on Crow Park Festival Village, Keswick. Activities should be booked in advance as spaces are limited.

There’s a new charity walk to support the work of an organisation reducing loneliness in the North East of England. North East Friendship Dogs is organising a sponsored dog walk at Kielder Water on the 23rd September. You don’t need to have a dog but if you do it will be especially welcome.

The Canal & River Trust reminds us that over half the UK population lives within five miles of a canal or river. They have made a little video in which local GP Dr Philippa Moreton talks about actively ‘prescribing’ a walk on the local waterway to lower blood pressure and feel better. The Trust organises regular guided walks, to be found in their Events Diary.

Bird watching on Mallorca
Map makers Discovery Walking Guides have published their first Bird Watching Map and Guide. The publication is for Mallorca initially but is likely to be followed by other ‘warm island’ destinations. Designed to bridge the gap between people with a general interest in birds and the serious 'birder' their latest Mallorca road map has panels for identifying bird species on the reverse. The information includes advice on bird spotting venues that are easy to reach by hire-car. It’s available for £8.99 from the Discovery Walking Guides website. Don’t forget that we have a good collection of Mallorca walks on the Walkingworld website.